Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Three-piece fish and chips at The Fish Shack

The Fish Shack on UrbanspoonI'd been to The Fish Shack not long ago, but went again as part of the Food Bloggers dining group just this past Saturday because I actually did NOT get their regular fish and chips last time. (I know, right? Like, "What?!") Anyway, here's how our outing turned out...
  • New England Clam Chowder in mini sour dough bun ($0 - free amuse-bouche) (picture)
    • Oh my gawd this was so tasty. It's got a big spicy kick to it too, but nothing really lingering.
    • It's also the biggest amuse bouche I've ever been given, sized slightly bigger than a tennis ball! Amazing what you get for free nowadays.
  • Fish Bites ($8.50) - with chipotle tartar sauce (picture)
    • Mixed fish (not "mystery fish") bits from their fish and chips lineup. Each piece is about or slightly smaller than a tater tot.
    • For $8.50, it's sort of okay (comparing it with the price of everything else in The Fish Shack) since it sort of adds up to a single piece of fish in a fish and chips order. Just don't try to share this with too many people since you'll barely get a mouthful that way.
    • Use a fork. Yes, it looks like finger food, but the fish has a tendency to flake apart, leaving a chunk in the tartar sauce when you dip. You'll need the fork to fish it back out.
  • Fish and Chips (Halibut - $16.50 for 1 piece, $22.50 for 2 pieces, $29.50 for 3 pieces) (picture)
    • Whenever I asked anything about the fish and chips (Moist fish? Meat not dense like salmon? What do you recommend other than salmon?) the answer was invariably "Halibut". An answer I was suspicious of because the halibut was also the priciest item on the menu. I did eventually go for the halibut, and it turned out a good choice -- soft, moist, meat. I guess it really is the safe choice. Someone got lingcod, and it had that awful fishiness that a sushi restaurant would mask with soy sauce and wasabi. Might have just been bad luck, though.
    • Three of us wanted a light order (so we could fit in dessert), so we asked if we could do a three-piece fish and chips order of halibut. That way, there wouldn't be too much in the way of fries or slaw. Turns out you can, even though the menu offers only 1-piece or 2-piece. They rang in the third piece at $7 as "open food".
    • Slaw boring and didn't have a cool, refreshing taste, but we're not really here for excellent slaw.
    • Some people raved about the fish. I thought it was alright. It looked suspiciously oily on the outside, but didn't taste really oily. The batter is thin so almost the entire hunk on your plate really is a fillet o' fish.
  • Fish Tacos ($12.95) - soft tortilla, lettuce, tomato salsa, cajun fish, sour cream
    • The regular order is 3 tacos. The cajun style mystery fish (I forgot to ask) was really quite tasty on its own, so do NOT kill it by smothering too much (or any) of the provided tartar sauce into it and re-wrap your taco.
    • The tacos are not so full that you can't re-roll them into spring rolls. This isn't Bandidas Tacqueria portions, alas. But it's still a good enough portion inside despite the floppy look to them.
    • Comes with fries!
  • Fisherman's Catch (The Big Catch - $30 per person, minimum 2 persons) - lobster, dungeness crab, snow crab, mussels, prawns, calamari, crayfish, potatoes, corn, chorizo (picture)
    • From the menu, it looks like The Big Catch is basically The Small Catch ($20 per person), but with a lobster thrown in. That lobster is about 8 inches long and cut in half length-wise.
    • Our table had three persons sharing a two-order bag. It looks like the bags are preassembled before being very simply cooked (boiled, probably), and with a bit of hoopla it is cut open at your table. (Yeah, like, whoop.)
    • You are given tools to get into every nook and cranny of crustacean and pick out the meat, plus a cheesy throw-away plastic apron (picture) decorated with lobster pictures.
    • To add flavour to the otherwise extremely plain and boring "cooking" are shakers of red powder that have a bit of aftertaste bite to it.
    • Two orders split between three people really didn't work. One of the three persons, a somewhat petite lady, remarked that it really wasn't enough food, and not worth the price. Her share would have been $20 before tax and tip. Another person missed out on the lobster because they hadn't realized it would be a single lobster cut into two pieces, so you'd have to be alert to that in order to share it with the third person.
  • Corn on the Cob ($5) - with butter and salt
    • Strangely, the two persons who ordered this LOVED this. Said it was so good they wanted to know where the corn came from. (I didn't try it myself, though.)
  • New York Style Cheesecake ($8.50) - graham cracker crust, berry coulis (picture)
    • I didn't think this was bad, just different (although my first spoonful had really soft and almost crumbly cheese). But I kid you not, EVERYONE else hated it. I think they just didn't think it was a proper cheesecake. Cheesecake in a jar just isn't cheesecake, and perhaps adding insult to injury was labelling it "New York Style". If you order this, try not to imagine a regular cheesecake.
  • Sticky Toffee Pudding ($8.50) - candied pecans, toffee sauce, chantilly cream
    • This wasn't so much a "real" sticky toffee pudding as much as resembling a small cake over which some sort of sweet syrup was poured. Don't think pudding. Think cake with syrup.
    • Since it came across as cake with syrup, this was really quite disappointing, sad to say.
  • Apple & Berry Crumble ($8.50) - granny smith apples, mixed berries, oats, caramel (picture)
    • Really red (and hot -- fresh from the oven?) inside, and more berry than apple. Don't think apple crumble, think berry crumble. Apple wasn't the predominant experience for me here.
    • Again, no thumbs up from anyone for this dessert.


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