America’s Best Fish and Chips for 2014
April 11, 2014
These 10 restaurants serve killer renditions of this British classic
8) The Shakespeare, New York City
This recently-opened Midtown pub appears as if it’s been transported lock, stock, and barrel from the English countryside, and it comes complete with one of New York’s only “snugs,” a small compartment located right at the end of the bar where a group of 4-6 can relax completely enclosed from the rest of the room, with a sliding window to order your drinks through. While ensconced at the dark wood bar, or in the cozy side dining room, you can enjoy a huge piece of beer-battered cod, light and flaky under its shatteringly crisp crust, along with triple-cooked thick-cut chips. Wash it down with a bottle of Manchester Star Porter, and pretend that you’ve been transported to Stratford-Upon-Avon.
7) The Barnacle, Marblehead, Mass.
This no-frills waterfront eatery has been serving both townies and tourists alike since 1961, and owner Jay Sahagian and his crew still take their own lobster boats out into the harbor to catch their own seafood. While the lobster rolls are a major draw (not to mention the view), the fish and chips, made with fresh-caught haddock, also shouldn’t be missed: light, crisp, and not greasy in the least, served alongside crispy shoestring fries.
6) Ivar’s, Seattle
Since 1938, Ivar’s has been selling world class fish and chips (as well as equally legendary clam chowder) from its perch on Seattle’s Pier 54, and since then more than 20 additional locations have opened up across the state). Even though it’s a chain, that speaks more for its success than any decline in quality. Their traditional fish and chips are made with smallish pieces of Pacific cod and can be tossed in spicy Cajun seasoning. Halibut, salmon, clams, scallops, shrimp, and oysters are also available. Founder–folk singer Ivar Haglund is nothing short of a Seattle legend and his namesake eateries serve his memory well.
5) Chip Shop, Brooklyn, N.Y.
With two locations in Brooklyn, Chip Shop might be better known for their deep-fried Mars bars, macaroni and cheese, and pizza (they’ll actually batter and fry just about anything you want them to), but their straight-ahead fish and chips are what originally put them on the map and keeps the crowds coming back for more. Founder Chris Sell is nothing short of a wizard of the deep-fryer, dunking super-fresh fish in a beer-laden batter and pulling out extremely crispy fillets served atop a mound of perfectly cooked chips, not a soggy one in the lot. Dunk them in some of their addictive curry sauce and wash it all down with an Old Speckled Hen, and you’ll be in fish and chips heaven.
4) Chinook's at Salmon Bay, Seattle
Located smack dab in the Fisherman’s Terminal, it’s quite obvious from the setting that the fish sold here will be high-quality, and it’s certainly no joke: the owners also run a seafood company, and all fish sold is local, sustainable, and in-season. The true cod, salmon, and lingcod (native to the West Coast) gets a tempura-style batter before being fried, leading to an ethereally crisp coating, and a spice mix doesn’t overpower the flavor of the fish. The view is also one of the city’s finest.
3) Barbara's Fishtrap, Half Moon Bay, Calif
Since 1971, this cash-only restaurant has been serving some of the country’s finest seafood out of a nearly 100 year-old building located right on the water. Along with clam chowder and fried calamari, fish and chips are the most popular items on a menu, and it doesn’t disappoint. Thick-sliced rock cod gets a light tempura-style coating and comes out golden brown and delicious, served alongside thick-cut steak fries that need nothing more than a sprinkling of salt.
2) Eamonn's, Alexandria, Va.
Eamonn’s calls itself a “Dublin chipper,” setting a lofty bar for itself and succeeding with flying colors. Located in Old Town Alexandria, this 20-seat takeaway serves fresh cod, prawns, grouper, fish of the day, and ray (“Eat the bones if you’re brave,” the menu reads), served alongside hand-cut chips and a variety of sauces including curry, hot chili, tartar, and “fronch.” The simple baking soda-kicked batter lends a light, airy crunch that highlights the fish’s tenderness and it’s all served in a brown paper bag that the menu implores you not to close at the risk of steaming what’s inside. Chef Cathal Armstrong (who also happens to be a James Beard nominee and helms Eve, one of the town’s finest restaurants) is a named the shop after his son and the Dublin native brings a deft, masterful hand to a food that he clearly holds dear.
1) A Salt and Battery, New York City
There’s nowhere else in the U.S. that replicates the authentic chipper experience as well as A Salt and battery, located in New York’s West Village. A small takeaway, they offer local, sustainable pollock, haddock, sole, and whiting as well as shrimp and scallops. The batter that they use fries up shatteringly crisp, always seems to be perfectly fried, and doesn’t interfere at all with the flavor of the fish. Hand cut chips are thick, crunchy, golden-brown, delicious, and need no accompaniment aside from a few lashings of malt vinegar and a sprinkle of salt. While the place is small and doesn’t offer much in the way of seating, if you want to truly experience the perfection of these fish and chips (and mushy peas) find a seat and eat it there. Not only does A Salt and Battery offer the best fish and chips in America, we’d dare to say their offering is better than plenty of the fish and chips you’ll find across the pond.