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.