You'd think that frying a piece of fish is easy business. After all, you only need 3 things, a deep-fryer, fish and batter. Oh how the simplest things turn out to be the most difficult. Just like trying to drive down #3 Road and having your car not experience a near-death experience. From overcooked fish to heavy batter, fish 'n chips can go wrong in many different ways. And don't even try looking at the major chain restaurants for expertise on the matter. In fact, those places are usually the very worst. Let's not even get started at some pubs... Sysco fish anyone? Of course we have some of the usual suspects like Pajo's, Go Fish and C-Lovers. The "catch" (sorry for the pun) is to find those independent places that do fish frying justice. One particular place I've been curious for awhile is Austin Fish & Chips. Located right next to Me-n-Ed's, it is not really all that easy to get to if you're traveling in the opposite direction. Damn those medians! Finally pulling in, I entered the place and immediately brought down the average age of the clientele. What's with Fish 'n Chips and seniors?
I decided to go for the 2 piece Cod & Chips meal which came with coleslaw and dinner roll. The picture of the meal doesn't do it justice. The 2 pieces of fish were so large, they barely fit on the plate. With super thin, crunchy batter and moist, flaky fish, I really enjoyed eating it. Surprisingly, it was not too oily. The fries were on the starchier side while still crisp. The tartar sauce had a predominant mustard slant with a slight tang. As for the coleslaw, it was very fresh and crisp with a nice zing. Now, as I was flipping through the menu, I noticed a "Chinese" food section. Of course, I had to try it... So I ended up getting the 2 item meal for takeout. It includes choice of Chow Mein or rice. I got the chow mein and it was not bad. Of course it was "North Americanized" chow mein; but I took it for what it is. It had a nice sesame oil aroma to it. Looking extra-nuclear reactive, the Sweet & Sour Pork was neither really all that sweet nor sour. The pork was moist though and not too fatty. Lastly, the Green Beans in Black Bean Sauce with shrimp were overcooked, while there was very little evidence of black bean sauce. It was quite oily too. Meh, it was forgettable. Yet, then again, for $7.95, this was a large amount of food that barely fit into the styrofoam container. Not something I'd necessarily get again; however, I can see how it can be satisfying for those looking for this type of Chinese food.
"Chinese" food aside, the main draw here is the fish 'n chips. Very reasonably-priced and generous with the portions, this is better than some of the more usual fish 'n chip joints. Furthermore, the frying was executed perfectly without being oil-logged. Service can be a bit sparse due to lack of staff; but they do work hard and are friendly. My server even came back to check on me. Sometimes, this is hard to come by even in more trendy restaurants.
- Large portions
- Well-executed fish
- Questionable Chinese food (but it's not a Chinese restaurant, so not a big deal)
- Sparse service (but they do try)