Saigon Salmon Sandwich

Fish, Sausalito


“Most chefs run screaming when they hear how serious we are about sustainability and the impact that has on their menu design,” says Kenny Belov, co-owner of Fish restaurant in Sausalito. Luckily, Douglas Bernstein, who earned his stripes at Farallon and Aquarello, was up for the challenge. He acknowledges that while “I have less colors to paint with on my menu, these limitations force me to pull from a global influence to bring fresh ideas to our menu and specials. That’s why every stroke counts.” Bernstein recommends choosing wild salmon and always checking where your fish came from with your local fishmonger.


Saigon Sauce
2 cups teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup Vietnamese fish sauce
3 scallions
3 whole peeled garlic cloves
1 (2-inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled

Nuoc Cham

1/2 cup hot water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons Vietnamese fish sauce
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/2 small bird’s eye chili, minced
1 cup shredded carrot

Saigon Sandwich

4 (6-ounce) fillets wild salmon, each about 1 inch thick, without skin
4 thin-crust French bread sandwich rolls
2 jalapeño chilis, sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup mayonnaise (homemade preferred)
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro sprigs


Marinate the salmon one day before grilling: combine all of the Saigon sauce ingredients in a blender and blend on high until thoroughly combined. Arrange the salmon in a high-sided baking dish and pour all but ¼ cup sauce over the fish. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate overnight, turning once after 12 hours.

One hour before grilling, prepare the nuoc cham Whisk the water and sugar in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves. Add the remaining nuoc cham ingredients and stir to combine. Toss the shredded carrots with enough of the nouc cham to coat and let sit for 1 hour. (Store the remaining nuoc cham in the refrigerator for another use.)

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Grill the salmon fillets over direct heat for 4 minutes and then flip and grill for 3 minutes for medium doneness. During the last minute or two of grilling, toast the bread on the grill until warmed through.

To assemble, place the shredded carrots on the buns and lay the jalapeños on top. Arrange the salmon fillets over the chilis. Brush the salmon with the reserved N cup Saigon sauce. Spread the mayonnaise on the top buns, tuck in the cilantro sprigs, and close the sandwich.