Fried Cod Sandwich from The Black Whale in New Bedford

I had the chance to visit New Bedford, Massachusetts recently to present a lecture at the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center. Of course, there was no way I was leaving the “Whaling City” without sampling some local seafood. So this edition of the Fried Seafood Showdown features a fried cod sandwich from The Black Whale, right on the waterfront on Pier 3.

I was ready to try New Bedford’s version of a fried haddock sandwich, but when I started looking at menus it was almost always cod. You can find a fried cod sandwich on Cape Ann, but more often than not, it will be haddock. Our fishermen have much bigger quotas for haddock than cod and all of us who grew up in Gloucester fishing families ate way more haddock. However fishing dynamics can change over a 2-hour drive south and New Bedford, America’s most valuable fishing port, has a large fleet of groundfish and scallop boats that fish on nearby Georges Bank.

New Bedford Fishing Boats

Cod may be similar to haddock, but it is not identical. They are both mild, white, and flaky fish, but cod has bigger flakes. Cod also has a deeper flavor that works really well with other ingredients, like roasted potatoes. I must admit that I’ve learned to appreciate cod much more now that I have experience cooking it.

About The Black Whale

the black whale logo

The Black Whale was created by New Bedford local Steve Silverstein, whose family operated a well-known family store for nearly a century. After working in the New Bedford Fishing Industry as a scalloper, he created The Black Whale to honor the Port’s heritage and showcase it seafood.

The restaurant is located right on Pier 3 in the Port of New Bedford, mere steps away from the fishing boats that bring in your dinner. On my visit we were experiencing a heat wave and it was just oppressive in the sun. The outdoor dining section was packed since a breeze was coming off the water, and had fairly long wait time. I opted for the bar area, which didn’t have the view, but had air conditioning.

When I was seated, I was served a complimentary dish of crackers and really good smoked salmon spread. On a hot day it was a nice light treat and so much better than getting bread.

The Fried Cod Sandwich – Pier 3 Style

Their fried cod sandwich was $20, in line with the other New Bedford waterfront restaurants, and just about the median price I’ve seen for the summer of 2024. The Black Whale offer two fried cod sandwich options: The more traditional Pier 3, with lettuce and tartar sauce, and the Whaler with bacon, tomato, avocado and lemon aioli. I chose the Pier 3 since it is more in line with other fish sandwiches I’ve sampled. Another fun option is you can choose a beer-batter fried cod sandwich, but I stayed with the standard New England style.

fried cod sandwich black whale

My Pier 3 style fried cod sandwich was just what I hoped for. A nice crunchy breading on a good piece of fresh cod. Not greasy and was fried to golden brown perfection. I hate when you get a fried fish sandwich that’s been fried to death – or not fried enough. The toasted seeded bun had plenty of tangy tartar, but I asked for more to dip the overhanging ends of the fish.

This was a very good fried fish sandwich and would be a perfect lunch or light dinner as you explore the historic New Bedford waterfront. I will certainly revisit The Black Whale on future visits to try some of their other specialties or maybe their impressive looking sushi.

Leave a Comment