Thursday, 8 November 2007

Fries & Co.

Where: Fries & Co., 2603 Connolly Street, Halifax
When: Friday, September 28th 2007

What: Two piece fish & chips (medium), $8.10+tax

Fries & Co. in west end Halifax is known to be one of the best, if not the best, fish and chips place in town. They have won The Coasts Best of Food category for best fish and chips six years in a row. The fries have also been runner up in many years. Fries & Co. has been in business for 28 years and the most often recommended place when people tell me what to check out next. After living in Halifax for 6 years, I finally had the opportunity as Fries & Co. is conveniently located just around the corner from my new apartment.

All wrapped up
All wrapped up.

I have to say, I wan't overly impressed with the fish or the chips. The pieces of fish were small and mooshy on the bottom. I also prefer my fries in long pieces, not all cut up in small bits.

For the price you pay and the amount of food you get, it's not really that great. I'm sure they have a lot of great items on their menu and it might be a better experience to eat in, but I'm not sure I'd get their fish and chips for take out again unless I was really hungry, lazy, and specifically wanted fish and chips.

Fish and chips inspector.

Fries & Co.
Eat in or take out.

The service was fast and friendly though, and I probably will return since it's in the neighbourhood. I guess I have certain things I look for in a good fish and chips place, and Fries & Co. just doesn't have it.

I give Fries &6 Co. 3.5 little fishies out of 5.

Friday, 7 September 2007

The Old Port Grill & Pub

Where: The Old Port Grill & Pub, 90 Windmill Road, Dartmouth
When: Thursday, August 23rd 2007
What: Two piece fish and chips, $9.49+tax

The special occasion on this day was our summer student's last day. So we closed down for lunch and went to The Old Port Grill & Pub on Windmill Road. The last time I visited this pub I skipped the fish and chips but this time I couldn't pass them by.

It was a beautiful day and we sat on the balcony. I ordered a Stella for the first time, but I didn't really like it.

I loved the glass, but not the beer.

Fish & Chips (of course!)
Two piece fish and chips.

Myself and a co-worker both ordered the fish and chips. It was your pretty basic dish. A lemon wedge and homemade tartar sauce on the side. There was no vinegar provided or coleslaw, but we did get a basket of ketchup packets. I really would have appreciated it if the ketchup was in a bottle. The fries were hand cut and quite tasty. I found the beer batter had a nice flavour, but it was a bit gummy and greasy. The fish tasted fresh though and wasn't overcooked.

The service was fast and friendly, but I don't really feel like the fish and chips was outstanding. They weren't terrible either. If I were to go again I'd probably order something else off the menu, like the haddock almondine I had there previously. Overall a fun outing with co-workers and a nice way to spend a summer afternoon.

I give The Old Port Grill & Pub 3.5 little fishies out of 5.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Sam's Seafood & Grill

Where: Sam's Seafood & Grill, 10 Gordon Avenue, Dartmouth
When: Friday, August 10th 2007
What: One piece fish & chips, $4.95+tax (two piece $6.95+tax)

I was a little iffy about visiting a seafood and grill joint only 7 hours after being sick with a random stomach virus, but being the fish and chips lover I am, I decided to live dangerously! Two friends (Tina and Simon) and I went to Sam's Seafood & Grill in Dartmouth before heading out on a mini road trip to Peggy's Cove. It was a nice, sunny Friday afternoon, and felt like a good idea. Sam's Seafood & Grill is a family restaurant featuring a large dining room, a lounge, and a private room you can rent that fits 30 people.

Menu front
The colourful menu at Sam's Seafood & Grill.

While waiting for out food I looked around the dining room. With plastic table cloths and maritime decorations, the dinning room is a bit cheesy, but at least it's not as offensive as trying to eat a family dinner at a sports bar, (or any other chain restaurant in town that thinks it's appropriate to have TVs hanging from the ceiling with various sporting events and loud music blasting from the stereo). It was bright and roomy, though we weren't really there for the atmosphere anyway.

Tina has been to Sam's a lot and the fish and chips came with a big recommendation. She ordered a two piece, and I decided to play it safe with a one piece. Simon ordered the Sam's Ultimate Combo-Plate which is mozza sticks, onion rings, breaded mushrooms and zucchini fingers all served with sour cream ($10.95) and a substantial chicken caesar wrap ($4.95).

Sam's dining room.

We didn't wait long for the food to arrive. Simon shared his combo platter with us. I didn't try the breaded mushroom, but the zucchini fingers were interested (also fried), and the mozza sticks and onion rings tasty. Mmm...grease. Once we worked our way through the remaining of our orders arrived.

My creation

Sam's menu boasts having the biggest pieces of fish in the city and that it is cut fresh daily. Tina said that normally the pieces of fish were huge, but the size and shape can vary depending on when you go. Personally I wasn't impressed with the size of the fish, but I was glad to be eating it anyway. I have to admit though, I wasn't impressed much with the meal once I dug in. I found the fish dry and overcooked with a doughy batter. The fries looked handcut, but had that "from the bag" taste. Soggy and runny cole slaw, pre-packaged tartar sauce, and a lemon wedge were the sides and garnish. I did like the presentation (something about fish and chips on paper that is charming), but other than that I wasn't impressed.

I would go back to try some of their other menu items, but I don't imagine I'll order the fish and chips again. The service is fast and friendly, and I'm sure it's a favourite for Dartmouthians.

I give Sam's Seafood & Grill 3 little fishies out of 5.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Rogue's Roost

Where: Rogue's Roost, 5435 Spring Garden Road, Halifax
When: Saturday, July 28th 2007
What: Two piece fish and chips, $8.50+tax

On a hot and steamy Saturday afternoon, a friend and I sought out beer and food before heading off to the midway (which was over by the time we arrived). We found ourselves at Rogue's Roost, a popular local bar and restaurant on Spring Garden Road. We sat ourselves at a table near the big windows over looking the street to enjoy our meal and some people watching.

We started off by trying to order a drink. We both got a bit confused at what was available on tap, but in the end choose bottled beer (Red Stripe for me, Sleemans Honey Brown for my friend). We each ordered the two piece fish and chips and settled in to people watch, except the street was almost dead. Where did every body go?

Rogue's Roost
Red ale batter fish and chips.

The fish and chips arrived promptly, nicely arranged on a big plate. One thing I like about Rogue's Roost is the big plates. I also like that the fish is not piled on top of the fries. I don't know why this bugs me, but it does. I think I'm worried the grease from the fish will make the chips soggy.

I like the fries here, even though they are not hand cut. I guess I just have a thing for big fries, plus they sprinkle special seasoning on them which is a nice touch. The tartar sauce was sub par, probably not fresh. I didn't really like it at all but if you're used to bottled tartar sause, you might like it. The garnish provided, which I guess is an alternative to cole slaw, was a little salad. I wish there had been a bit more of it since I actually like vegetables now. Missing was vinegar and I didn't think to ask for some, but it's a standard at most pubs that have fish and chips.

The fish was good, but I found one of my pieces a little overcooked. The batter was tough and chewy in a few spots. Overall though it was nice. The fish was tender and moist and filled with flavour. I liked the redish colour of the batter.

At $8.25+tax, Rogue's Roost has a great fish and chips platter at a decent price. Their staff is fast and friendly. Multiple servers checked on us throughout the meal. They have an extensive imported and domestic beer list, plus you can get a variety of their own microbrews when available. It's a stylish bar with a cozy feel where you can sit and watch the (normally) busy Spring Garden road below. I will definitely be returning to Rogue's Roost for fish and chips or to try something else on the menu. As my friend Tina exclaimed "Those fries were wicked!" I agree!

I give Rogue's Roost 4 little fishies out of 5.

Friday, 20 July 2007

D'arcy McGee's

Where: D'arcy McGee's, 44 Sparks Street, Ottawa
When: Tuesday, July 3rd 2007
What: Two piece fish & chips, $12+tax

For my birthday meal (the 4th of July), Rémi and I went to Darcy McGee's on Sparks Street in Ottawa. This pub was recommended by an old school friend who lives there. Named after the Canadian journalist and father of confederation who was assassinated in 1868, D'arcy McGee's pub features an extensive food and drink menu. From the "Irish Favourites" menu we both ordered Finnegan's Fry, which is described as "two pieces of lightly battered haddock, served with vegetable slaw, Dungloe sauce and fries seasoned with sea salt" (Rémi substituted his fries for poutine, of course).

D'Arcy McGee's

After our first fish and chips experience in Ottawa, I was worried the second place would be a bust too. I was pleasantly surprised at the fish and chips here though. In fact, we both felt the fish here was excellent. A nice light and crispy batter that was not greasy at all. The fries were very crisp as well, and hand cut. The portions were definitely a good size. I'm not sure if Dungloe sauce is the same as tartar sauce, but it was delicious either way. Also delicious was the vegetable slaw, a nice alternative to coleslaw, which I find usually mushy and bland.

Vintage whiskey advertisements.

Finnegan's Fry.

Chocolate Volcano
Chocolate volcano - my birthday dessert.

For dessert we "shared" a chocolate volcano. The waiter brought it to our table and I said "Uh...I didn't order dessert!" but it was my birthday surprise! I turned the big two-eight on July 4th and this was Rémi's gift to me. I managed to have room enough to eat most of this all on my own and it was delicious. Warm chocolate cake with chocolate sauce on the inside, and served with vanilla ice cream. Best birthday dessert ever!

Personally I felt the service was good, but Rémi did remark that we waited a long time between our drink order and food order. The waiter also took a long time to bring the dessert. From where we sat I couldn't tell how busy it was, but considering it was Ottawa a few days after Canada Day, it was probably fairly busy. I didn't think the guy was friendly enough either, but honestly, I was so tired and hungry from a full day, I don't think I cared much!

Overall I thought this was a great place to eat. Their whole menu looked interesting and appetizing, so if fish and chips is not your thing, I'm sure you can find something you'd like! I recommend it to anyone visiting or living in Ottawa. Great fish & chips, lots of beer to chose from, awesome dessert, and an interesting story to learn about D'arcy McGee.

I give D'arcy McGee's 4.5 little fishies out of 5.


Other news: I had all four wisdom teeth out a week ago, and had my first solid type food today (french fries). I can't stop thinking about fish and chips! Hopefully soon I'll feel well enough to go out and review some more local fish & chips.

Monday, 9 July 2007

The Aulde Dubliner

Where: The Aulde Dubliner, 62 William Street, Ottawa
When: Sunday, July 1st 2007 (Canada Day!)
What: One piece fish & chips, $14+tax

On a recent trip to our nation's capital for Canada day, I visited some local pubs to try out the fish and chips on the mainland. My first stop was The Aulde Dubliner on William Street. My friend Rémi and I got a table for two overlooking the streets below, full of people enjoying the festivities.

Aulde DublinerIMG_4790

The pub had a special Canada Day menu and you could only order off this menu. There were a variety of domestic and imported beers to chose from as well. We each got the fish and chips and a beer (Stella for him, Smithwick's for me, which I forgot I don't like). There was a band playing covers of Canadian tunes, and the service was fairly fast. However, the service was not friendly. Our server was very quick with us and didn't take the time to explain the limited menu first. She also didn't seem to be concerned that Rémi wasn't given any tartar sauce. Rémi was turned off by the limited menu (he likes to substitute poutine for fries when he can). I was turned off by the price for only one piece of fish and wondered if they jacked up the price for Canada Day (their regular menu shows 2 pieces for $13, so looks like I was right).

Aulde Dubliner Pub

When the fish and chips arrived they were practically dripping with grease. You can't tell from the photo, since this was taken just after they arrived, but things got mushy and messy fast. The fish, though quite a large piece, was tough in some places, and the fries were cold and not crispy. The tartar sauce didn't taste fresh or homemade. We were at least provided with two kinds of vinegar, both malt and white, along with ketchup, but other than that, there really wasn't anything special about this place.

We both found our server to be not at all pleasant, the food overpriced and greasey. Plus the server charged me the full total of the meal on my credit card, and not half like she was supposed to (my friend payed for half with his debit card, I didn't discover the error until I got back to Halifax). I'm still trying to get the credit card issue resolved, but regardless, I wasn't planning to give this place a good review anyway.

Rémi and I give The Aulde Dubliner 2 little fishies out of 5 ("Only because they had a band" - Rémi).

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Henry House Pub & Restaurant

Where: Henry House Pub & Restaurant, 1222 Barrington Street, Halifax
When: Thursday, May 3rd 2007
What: Two piece fish & chips, $10+tax

Henry House Pub & Restaurant is located in downtown Halifax on Barrington Street. Henry House was built in 1834 and has three levels, two of which are available for dining, and the other can be booked for private functions. Since I live in the area, Henry House is becoming one of my favourite places to hang out. The staff are always friendly and fast, the menu is interesting, and they have a lot of great brews on tap (I highly recommend the ale sampler).

I have had the fish and chips at Henry House before, but this was my first official review. Sadly I felt like I was eating something out of a box. The beer battered fish had a weird rectangular shape to it which reminded me of something you might see in a school cafeteria. Not that the shape of the fish should matter, but it was just an odd sight to see. I didn't feel like the fish really stood out either. It was bland and not very crispy. The pieces were a good size though, so I will give them that. The handcut fries were not very crispy either, so that was another disappointment. I know from past experience that the Henry House fish and chips can be better, and I certainly don't need an excuse to go back and try it again.

Henry House
Normally you get more fries, but I asked to get only a half order because I found last time I couldn't finish them all.

I'm not usually a fan of coleslaw or tartar sauce, as you know from reading this blog, but I did try both anyway. The tartar sauce was quite good. I liked the dill flavour even though I don't like dill a whole lot. You could tell it was fresh and homemade. My friend liked the coleslaw but I didn't care much for it. I found it bland and not very crisp. There wasn't much zing to it. Maybe I should start making my own coleslaw to bring whenever I eat out. Haha.

For dessert I had a piece of blueberry cheesecake, which also was not very memorable. The blueberries were a nice touch, but the cake was bland and not very rich.

Overall I was disappointed with my meal that night. I know I will be back again though, so maybe in a few months I'll do another review and see how they compare. It was a good evening with a friend though, and great beer!

I give Henry House 3 little fishies out of 5.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

William's Seafood

Where: William's Seafood Restaurant, Smythe Street, Fredericton, New Brunswick
When: April 7th, 2007 (Good Friday)
What: Medium Fish & Chips, $7.50

On Good Friday I went out for fish & chips with my parents for our 2nd annual visit to William's Seafood. This restaurant is located on the Exhibition Grounds in downtown Fredericton, New Brunswick. It is a staple for fish and chips and the city, and Good Friday is known for being one of the busiest days of the year for the restaurant.

Their menu features a variety of seafood options, mostly fried. If you're not a fan of seafood, you can also get regular fast food items such as poutine, burgers, fries, but most of their menu is made up of fried fish and other seafood. Unlike many seafood restaurants which feature their fish and chips as either one or two pieces, William's has three sizes - small, medium, and large, with varying amounts of fries and fish. The medium came with a generous helping of fries, handcut in the restaurant, and four small pieces of fish.

William's Seafood

The fish here is excellent. Light and moist with a nice golden batter. The batter is never doughy and always crispy. The fries could have been cooked a little bit longer according to my mother, but personally I thought they were just fine. You don't really get a lot of extras at this restaurant, not coleslaw or homemade tartar sauce (just the Kraft packaged kind), but I really don't think anyone would complain.

William's Seafood is really a fast food style seafood restaurant. You order at the counter and then find yourself a seat (quickly, they fill up fast). When your order is ready someone will call it out to you, or bring it to your table. The staff is always fast and friendly. Add William's Seafood to your list of places of visit next time you're stopping by Fredericton!

I give William's Seafood 4.5 little fishies out of 5.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Whiskey's Lounge

Where: Whiskey's Lounge, 27 Portland Street, Dartmouth
When: March 17th (that's right, St. Patrick's Day)
What: 1 piece fish and chips, $5.95+tax

I don't have a whole lot to say about this place. I ended up there with some friends on Saint Patrick's Day and decided to get the 1 piece fish & chips. The fries were not hand cut, pretty dry, and just generally tasteless. The fish was greasy and really hot (I burned my mouth pretty badly).

The wait staff were not very friendly, the music was way too loud, and the cover band (two guys really) didn't play any Irish tunes. The only good thing I can say is that it was cheap and not crowded like every other bar in town early on Saint Patrick's day. It wasn't on my list of places to try, and I don't plan on going back.

I give Whiskey's Lounge 2 little fishies out of 5.

Jamieson's Irish House & Grill

Where: Jamieson's Irish House & Grill, 5 Cumberland Drive, Cole Harbour
When: Friday, March 9th
What: Two piece fish & chips, $8.95+tax

On March 9th I visited Jamieson's Irish House & Grill in Cole Harbour with my friend Laurena. Of course I had to try the beer battered fish. It's been a few weeks now, so I'll do my best to remember the details (it was a bit dark in there and hard to write notes).

Jamieson's Irish-House & Grill

The two piece fish and chips was $8.95 and came with a nice helping of hand cut fries. The pieces of fish were really small though, so I don't feel like I got my money's worth as far as the fish goes. The fries however, were delicious. Hand cut, fresh, hot and crispy. The fish, made with a Smithwicks batter, was pretty tasty, but I don't remember it being outstanding. For garnish I got a lemon wedge and parsley flakes (big fan of parsley flakes). There was also two kinds of vinegar on the table. My dinner companion did like the tartar sauce, and she said it was probably homemade.

Whiskey Cannisters

I really like the atmosphere in this place. The staff were very friendly, and it had a cosy feel to it. Leather chairs were set up near the entrance, so you could wait there for a table, have a few drinks, or eat your meal in that corner. Our table ended up being on stage, so I felt a little self-conscious trying to take pictures. As most of the light was by candle, my pictures didn't turn out very great (no flash). The picture of the fish and chips was unusable, but I did catch a few good shots of the other treats.

Beer paddle
The beer paddle. From left to right: JAMIESON’S IPA - Irish Pale Ale, Garrison Raspberry Wheat Ale, JAMIESON’S Special Dark Ale (I think), Smithwicks (not a fan of the Smithwicks).

Bailey's with frangelico
Bailey's with frangelico.

I give Jamieson's Irish House & Grill 4.5 little fishies out of 5.

Friday, 9 March 2007

Phil's Seafood

Phil's Seafood Menu

Where: Phil’s Seafood, 6285 Quinpool Road, Halifax NS
When: Wednesday, March 7th, 2007
What: Two piece fish & chips, $7.95+tax

I stopped by Phil’s Seafood with my good friend Rhia this past Wednesday. It was freezing out, I had a bad headache and was all drugged up on pain killers, so I'm not sure how accurate my recollections of the food are. In any event, here is my first official fish & chips review.

Phil's Seafood Two Piece

We each ordered the two piece fish and chips which came garnished with coleslaw and a lemon wedge. The fish pieces were generous and the fries handcut. The fish batter was very crispy as they use breadcrumbs which I liked, the fish was fresh and moist. I didn’t find the batter very flavourful though, but the fish was good and hot. Disappointing were the fries. They weren't very crispy and not as plentiful as I've seen elsewhere. On the other hand, there's nothing worse than having so many fries on the plate that you can't eat them all!

Extras on table were ketchup, white vinegar, salt, pepper, and homemade tartar sauce. I don't actually like tartar sauce or coleslaw so I can't comment on those. Overall it was pretty good, but if I go back I'll probably have something else on their menu.

I give Phil's Seafood four little fishies out of five.

Phil's Seafood Done

Tonight I'm going out to Cole Harbour to stay over at a friend's house. Lets see if I can convince her to go out for fish & chips. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

First Post

I had my first fish & chips last night after deciding to start this blog. Hopefully I'll get the review up some time later today. Over the next few days I'll try to dress up the blog a bit, fix the design and such, so stay tuned!