Saturday, 19 March 2011

The Battered Fish

Where: The Battered Fish, Scotia Square Food Court, 1999 Market Street, Halifax, NS
When: Friday, March 11, 2011
What: Two piece fish and chips, $8.49+tax

This review sort of has a long story behind it. Last September I bought two vouchers from the coupon website Steal The Deal to use at The Battered Fish, Bedford Highway location. The deal was for $10 worth of food for only $5, so kind of like a two for one. I bought two vouchers thinking I could use one for myself and give one to a friend. I didn't get to use them right away, but unfortunately by the time I did plan to use them the Bedford Highway location had shut down for the season.

I didn't know what to do and was annoyed with myself for waiting too long. I left a message on The Battered Fish Facebook group but figured I was probably out the $10 and didn't think I'd get to use my vouchers. Well apparently they did respond to my Facebook message but I didn't get any notification. In February I got a message from the owner who said he'd be happy to take my vouchers at their new location in Scotia Square. Super awesome!

This past Friday my friend Tina picked me up and we went to the Scotia Square food court to get our fish and chips. This new location opened in February and it wasn't busy when we arrived late afternoon. There was a bit of confusion at first when I handed over my vouchers, but they had no problem honouring them. We could each get $10 worth of any food we wanted, but we both ordered a two piece fish and chips.

While waiting I took a look at the various condiments they had on the counter. There were two mustard and ketchup dispensers which is great because I love getting my ketchup in those little paper cups. On the counter were four different types of vinegar, salt and pepper, plus sea salt. When our food was ready we were offered tartar sauce and another type of secret sauce. You could also get a variety of beverages from fountain pop to drinks in glass bottles, including Propeller soda.

The Battered Fish

Our fish and chips came in a box with red and white checked wax paper. At first I did like the presentation and it seemed like the boxes would be great for a meal on the go. I dug into my fries before trying out the fish. I had sprinkled sea salt on them but the salt didn't really stick like ordinary salt would. Maybe it would be better if they provided a smaller grind of sea salt (I know smaller sea salt exists because I've bought it). The fries were really good though; clearly hand cut in a shoe string style which I do like. They were hot, crispy and plenty of them.

The Battered Fish

The fish was another story. It looked good, but once I cut into it I saw otherwise. The batter was light and crispy in some parts, but it was very oily. This may have been because the box and wax paper didn't allow for absorption of the extra oil, so the fish was sitting in the oil. That is just my guess though. According to their website, the take out boxes are biodegradable. The inside of the fish was alright, without any of the doughy or gooey inside you sometimes get when there is too much batter. It was flaky and had a nice freshness to it, but overall I felt like the fish was just soggy.  My friend agreed with me that she found the fish soggy too.

The Battered Fish

I would be interested to hear if anyone else had the same problem with their fish being soggy. I had high hopes for The Battered Fish but was left with some disappointment. I would go back to try some of the other fried delights on the menu, but it will probably be a while before I try the fish and chips again.

If you would like to try The Battered Fish, keep an eye out this summer for their locations on the Halifax Waterfront (beside Beavertails), and at 766 Bedford Highway.

I give The Battered Fish 3 little fishies out of 5.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Islamorada Fish Company

Where: The Islamorada Fish Company, Islamorada, Florida
When: Monday, January 31st, 2011
What: Fried grouper basket ($17.95+taxes) and fried grouper sandwich (12.95+taxes)

My husband and I went on vacation in Florida for a week at the end of January/beginning of February. While the fried grouper we had was not the traditional beer battered fish and chips, I definitely thought it was worth the mention.

The Islamorada Fish Company is apparently a chain establishment but I don't think fried grouper something every location has. We went the location at Islamorada in the Florida Keys. I also doubt the grouper would be as fresh and delicious anywhere else. It was the best fish I've ever had.

I ordered the smaller portioned fried grouper sandwich but got this giant portion. Perhaps the chef was in a good mood. The fish was moist and sweet. The fish was so good, I really don't remember much else.

You don't go to the Florida Keys and not try some key lime pies. This one has a pecan crust and a super rich and smooth key lime filling. It was a fantastic way to finish a great lunch.

I give The Islamorada Fish Company 5 fishies out of 5. :)

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Fredie's Fantastic Fish House

Where: Fredie's Fantastic Fish House, 8 Oland Crescent, Halifax, NS
When: Monday, September 6, 2010
What: Two piece fish and chips, $8.65+tax

On Labour Day, just shortly after Hurricane Earl rolled through, I got together with my friend Tina for a trip out to Bayers Lake to eat some fish and chips at Fredie's Fantastic Fish House. This is another place people have recommended to me, and we were thankful it was open on the Labour Day holiday.

Fredie's Fantastic Fish House

I think maybe we were the only customers in there so it was not a long wait to order. I can imagine during the weekday it's a busy spot with the lunch crowd. The staff were really relaxed and friendly. Since it was a really nice day out, we sat outside and our server would bring out order out. The view in Bayers Lake Industrial Park is not pretty, but at least we got to enjoy the fresh air, sun, and the quiet of a holiday. We each ordered a two piece fish and chips, and my friend got her fries as a poutine.

While waiting for our food outside, we could smell the earthy scent of fresh potatoes. Is that not the best sign that the fries were going to be awesome or what? At our table we had a caddy with malt and white vinegar, plus ketchup. We were also given packets of Kraft tartar sauce (which I'm not really a fan of).

Fredie's Fantastic Fish House

Fredie's Fantastic Fish House

Holy cow was this ever good! I loved the thick, hand cut fries. The batter on the fish was perfect. Light and crisp without any of that gooey inside you sometimes get, plus the fillets were fresh and flaky. I didn't try any of my friend's poutine but she says that Fredie's is her favourite fish and chips place in the city now.

For service, friendliness, good food and price, you would be hard pressed to find a better deal than Fredie's Fantastic Fish House. If you work or shop in Bayers Lake or just want some good fish and chips, it's definitely worth the trip out.

I give Fredie's Fantastic Fish House 5 little fishies out of 5.

A special thanks to my friend Tina for the great photos.

Friday, 11 March 2011

True North Diner

Where: True North Diner, 1658 Bedford Highway, Bedford, NS
When: Saturday, August 14, 2010
What: Fish and Chips 1 or 2 pc, $7.95 / $9.95

Last summer I went to True North Diner in Bedford with a couple of friends. I had heard a few things about the restaurant and seen the commercials on tv. One person on Twitter said it wasn't worth the trip, but we decided to go anyway to make up our own minds.

True North Diner markets itself as a 1950's style diner offering home-style meals, including fresh baked pies and cakes! Their main menu (including all day breakfast), as well as brunch and catering menus can be viewed on their website.
My creation
Inside True North Diner
Where the diner is now used to be a Ponderosa, which is before my time in Halifax I do believe. The decor does have that 1950's feel with the red and white vinyl seating. The restaurant was fairly busy on this Saturday evening. My friends and I ordered our meals and drinks.

True North Diner
Chocolate milk shake and creamsicle float. 
Service was fast and friendly so we didn't wait long for our food. My fish and chips came on a platter with a big pile of hand cut fries and a cup of coleslaw on the side. I wasn't terribly impressed with the fish at this restaurant. The batter was pretty bland but still crispy. In fact the fish itself didn't taste like fish. I know haddock has a more mild taste than some other fish, but I still expect it to taste like something, you know? The shredded vegetables in the coleslaw did not seem very fresh to me either. Perhaps they get their coleslaw mix from a bag instead of shredding up their own vegetables. I rarely ever eat the coleslaw that comes with my fish and chips because most places do not make it very well. 
Aside from the tartar sauce and ketchup, there was no vinegar on the table and I was not offered any either. I often forget to ask for vinegar because I'm not someone who needs it for my fries, but I know for some vinegar is a must.
True North Diner
My friends seemed to like their meals, and I loved my root beer float. If I found myself at this place again I wouldn't bother with the fish and chips. The menu has many other items to try, with prices that are affordable. If I hadn't been so full I would have had a piece of pie, but maybe next time! One more thing to add, we all ordered waters that never came. Our waitress even remembered once that she forgot them but still didn't show up at our table with the waters. Since we didn't order dessert we didn't bother to mention the waters again, just paid and left.

I give True North Diner 2 little fishies out of 5.

A special thanks to my friend Shelley for lending me her camera to take photos for this post.