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The Worst Fish and Chips in Austin?

TAF May 18, 2007 11:26 AM

Fellow Hounds,

There are many food topics on this board which I do not feel qualified to comment on, having had little previous experience with these varietals: interior Mexican dining, for example. However, being a Brit, I do feel eminently qualified to speak on the subject of fish and chips - the UKs number two consumed food, curry being number one these days.

When I first arrived in Austin during the latter years of the last century, fish and chips were scarce on the ground. With the exception of the Dog and Duck, you really couldn't find them anywhere. Today, it seems like I can't walk into a place that serves a piece of blackened catfish without them including fish and chips on the menu. Since I've never really had a proper fish and chips in Austin, I thought this thread ought to start at the bottom and work it's way up, if the moderators will so humor me.

My previous all-time Worst Fish and Chips in Austin was an honor held by the now defunct Capitol Brasserie, following an offering so hellaciously inedible that I never went back, even to eat anything else. Today, however, I had occasion to dine at Fish City Grill - their Brodie Oaks location - and Ithink, folks, that we have a new winner.

Let me start by telling you what I think fish and chips ought to look and taste like. The chips should be large, steak fry-style, well-cooked but not burned, so that when you douse them liberally in malt vinegar they go slightly soggy but you can still pick them up. The fish should be fresh - usually cod - and cooked in batter such that when picked up, the piece of fish in question does not wilt, but still 'melts in the mouth'.

Now, let us move on to fish and chips as defined by Fish City Grill. This was one of their daily specials, too. Special, indeed. First, the "chips". In this case they were grid-style fries of some sort, which looked and tasted like they had been accidentally left in the fat fryer while the chef ran an errand or cooked someone else's lunch. Tough, chewy, and inedible. I could not say the same for the fish. It looked like it had been waved, as a token gesture, somewhere near the fat fryer, and then dropped onto my plate. Attempts to pick it up were fruitless - it disintegrated on impact. Thoroughly tasteless, too. Also on the plate were sides of cole slaw and tartar sauce which both tasted identically - of nothing at all. Maybe I should have mixed them together.

I left this fine establishment with a sour feeling in my stomach, and the desire to inform fellow Hounds of the newest holder of the Worst Fish and Chips in Austin award.

Anyone have any ideas where I should head next?

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  1. v
    verily RE: TAF May 18, 2007 01:36 PM

    Thanks for the review on Fish City Grill. I personally hate waffle fries. They seem to cool and become soggy faster than properly cut french fries. In a state that loves its fried catfish, you'd think a restaurant could pull off a decent fish and chips.

    As for suggestions, it's been a while since I ate there, but I recall Fado's serving decent golden-fried planks of cod and thick-cut chips.

    I've tried Opal Divine's version a week ago and was seriously underwhelmed. The planks fell apart as soon as I picked them up and the "chips" were their pepper fries (tasty, but not up to your definition of chips).

    I wonder if Quality Seafood could pull off "fish and chips" without calling them that specifically. They have fried cod on their menu.

    2 Replies
    1. re: verily
      Greg Spence RE: verily May 18, 2007 02:09 PM

      The one time I ordered fried cod at Quality Seafood was about three months ago. It was nicely battered and fried, but the fish was extremely dry under the crust. It was surprisingly bad.

      1. re: Greg Spence
        yimay RE: Greg Spence May 18, 2007 08:04 PM

        quality seafood's fried cod is terrible. stick with the fried catfish.

        i don't eat fish and chips a lot but i remember years ago i used to really like fado's version when i worked nearby.

    2. Nab RE: TAF May 18, 2007 01:58 PM

      Aside from the issue of execution, I think much of what is passed off as cod, just ain't (i think pollock is the likely pinch-hitter). And it's even easier to sneak this by a diner when it's in the form of fish'n'chips.

      At a few places that I've seen on it the menu here in town, I've noticed that malt vinegar hasn't been offered, instead tartare or some other such sauce/remoulade. I usually won't order it if I can't have the MV.

      1. c
        cstrombe RE: TAF May 18, 2007 02:17 PM

        LJS, baby! Be sure and request extra Krumbs.

        3 Replies
        1. re: cstrombe
          TroyTempest RE: cstrombe May 21, 2007 03:59 PM

          What's LJS?

          After going to London and having them there 2 or 3 times, I found that the Dog and Duck just doesn't cut it anymore. The fish is cod and pretty good when not overcooked, but in my experience that is only about half the time. But the chips are just fries (most likely frozen). The best I've found since is B.D. Rileys. Chips are big and handcut, while the fish has just the right amount of batter, and as I recall it was a pretty good size portion, as well.

          1. re: TroyTempest
            Twill RE: TroyTempest May 21, 2007 04:29 PM

            I'm pretty sure he just recommended Long John Silver's. I hope it was tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek.

            1. re: TroyTempest
              sqwertz RE: TroyTempest Jan 11, 2008 07:25 AM

              Another vote for BD Rileys. If you didn't mention them, I would have.

          2. a
            ashes RE: TAF May 18, 2007 03:46 PM

            I have fairly good F&C at Mother Egans, but it has been a while. Last time I was there I noticed that their menu had changed slightly (they had done away with the tasty fried brie and opted for crappy out of the freezer section fried cheese sticks). This could be a bad sign. However, it's worth a try and not a bad place especially on Wednesdays for trivia.

            1. f
              foodputa RE: TAF May 21, 2007 02:57 PM

              I tried the F&C's at the Lakecreek Alamo on Saturday. They were just a bit on the crispy side for my liking. The fish they used was Tilapia, which really didn't have much for flavor, and the fillets were quite thin. They did not include Malt Vinegar.

              Trust me, I have been searching for good F&C's since I moved to Austin from Seattle 5 years ago, and haven't hit a good plate yet.

              Keep searching!!

              1. s
                scoutaustin RE: TAF May 22, 2007 10:45 AM

                We eat fish and chips at Mother Egans. I think they are pretty good. But heck, what do i know. I'm not a Brit. Please go there and eat them and tell me what you think.

                I cringe to think that all this time I've been duped.

                Warning: Do not go there on Tuesday evening unless you want to eat amongst the Trivia geeks! :-)

                2 Replies
                1. re: scoutaustin
                  TAF RE: scoutaustin May 22, 2007 01:48 PM

                  I shall try both Fado and Mother Egans when the opportunity permits, and will report back my findings. Thanks for the input, all!

                  1. re: scoutaustin
                    danalf RE: scoutaustin May 1, 2008 07:52 AM

                    You're kidding me right? Mother Egans is disgusting!

                  2. c
                    Craenor RE: TAF May 22, 2007 01:45 PM

                    I very much enjoyed the F&C at Fado Irish Pub.

                    214 W Fourth St
                    Austin, TX

                    Phone: (512) 457-0172

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Craenor
                      rudeboy RE: Craenor May 22, 2007 01:46 PM

                      What's your second favorite?

                    2. thebodytx RE: TAF May 23, 2007 08:41 AM

                      A few years ago the Austin Chronicle Critic Picks for Fish and Chips were:

                      1. B. D. Riley's
                      2. Dog and Duck

                      At the time I agreed with the rankings.

                      1. b
                        bloody hammer RE: TAF Jun 9, 2007 06:36 AM

                        i like the fish & chips at Dog & Duck a lot.

                        haven't tried the other places mentioned.

                        1. TAF RE: TAF Jun 22, 2007 07:30 AM

                          Since my initial posting regarding my experiences at Fish City Grill, I have been able to sample some other fish and chip offerings in the Austin area; namely Fado's, Mother Egan's, and BD Riley's. While all three were of a better quality than FCG, which isn't hard, each did have its respective merits and demerits.

                          Fellow hound 'thebodytx' and I met at Fado's to sample their wares. Their fish and chips is best described as unremarkable. I didn't ask whether the fish was pre-battered or made in-house, although since then I have begun to ask before I order it. I did notice that the fish was somewhat resistant to vinegar - the liquid poured off it, rather than being absorbed by the batter. The 'chips' were hopeless - they had been coated with some sort of spice rub and were overcooked, the result being dry and tasteless. A non-food related comment I will make about Fado is that the place absolutely stinks. It smelled like a horse stable in there, and I am not exaggerating. It's hard to say why, although the floorboards had a certain dampness to them. Maybe there's been a lot of beer spilled in there? In any case, the smell alone is enough to make me not return.

                          A week later, 'thebodytx' and I tried Mother Egan's. Not at all bad, and a step up from Fado's. The chips, in particular, were not far off the English original, and considering they were not hand-cut and probably were fried using a different type of fat, this is really not bad. The fish was average, and we noted with amusement that all the pieces were exactly the same shape and size. Purchased frozen and pre-battered indeed, and the server confirmed this.

                          The other day a friend and I tried BD Riley's, and were pleased with the results. The fish is advertised as being beer-battered by hand, and this is certainly the case, with impressive results. A crisp (slightly overcooked IMHO) and very tasty batter covered light, fluffy fish. The chips were bleh, and we wished we could have their fish and serve it with Ma Egan's chips. The dinner portion is huge (and around $13), but I'd recommend it though.

                          Stay tuned for trip reports from Sherlock's and ultimately, The Dog and Duck.

                          1. TAF RE: TAF Jun 24, 2007 09:34 PM

                            A report on Sherlock's, or Sherlock's Baker St Pub, as it should properly be known. I stopped in on Saturday at 11.15 am, right after they opened, and was able to discuss the preparation of the fish and chips with the staff. Not only do they beer batter their own fish, but they have done so with every beer they have on tap, in order to find the best taste. One of the Lite beers won out, interestingly enough.

                            I enjoyed the fish and chips in this establishment, perhaps more so since it was served with an ice cold draft beer of my choice. I don't think the batter beats BD Riley's, but it isn't bad at all. The chips were just regular thick cut fries, but since they hadn't been seasoned, unlike just about every other place I've tried, they tasted pretty good with the fish.

                            I recommend the fish and chips at Sherlock's, if you happen to be passing by. Also, their dinner portion is under $10, which is maybe because they're not paying downtown rents.


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: TAF
                              latikeriii RE: TAF Jan 15, 2008 05:58 PM

                              I second Sherlock's. Its the best i've had in Austin.

                            2. TAF RE: TAF Jul 11, 2007 11:07 AM

                              I was searching for something else and came across this thread on fish 'n chips in Austin from around four years ago: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/90334. A different crowd of people back then, and one which the moderators of today's world would ill be tolerant of.

                              As an aside, I noticed that an establishment by the name of Bagpipes now graces the ill-fated spot where Tin Tin Neo used to stand and, by george, they claim to sell fish & chips (with cottage potatoes, according to their menu). If I can summon up the courage to enter this haven of plaid-festooned mavens, I will surely report back to this board. Meanwhile, stay tuned for a trip report from the Dog & Duck.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: TAF
                                ashes RE: TAF Jul 11, 2007 11:56 AM

                                Be forewarned.....Bagpipes is a Hooters-type establishment. Sub tiny white (knotted) button downs and even shorter kilts for the orange shorts and tee combo.

                                1. re: TAF
                                  Carter B. RE: TAF Jul 11, 2007 01:04 PM

                                  Wow, a reference to Tin Tin Neo--ever more rare then the scruffy chowhound post you dredged up. The Bagpipes advert on citysearch does not inspire confidence in their fish & chips (especially with what ashes says about the place):


                                  1. re: TAF
                                    ssouth RE: TAF Jul 11, 2007 08:10 PM

                                    I went to Bagpipes for lunch a week or so ago with some co-workers who claimed the food was very good. I tried the fish and chips and was underwhelmed. The fish had pre-fab feel to me and tasted similar to LJS. I'm no expert on fish and chips, so I may be way off base, but I would not order it again.

                                  2. b
                                    Bali RE: TAF Jul 12, 2007 11:35 AM

                                    F&C at Hyde Park Bar and Grill was pretty good. They had malt vinegar at least. I'm sure this sounds ridiculous, but I usually try and wait until it's cold and rainy outside to seek out fish & chips. Somehow fried stuff just seems to taste better then.

                                    1. TAF RE: TAF Jul 12, 2007 05:57 PM

                                      Fellow hound 'thebodytx' and I stopped by the Dog and Duck for lunch today, and both (of course) ordered the dinner portion of fish and chips. Nothing really wrong with the fish - it was decently battered and fried correctly - although to be honest I prefer the taste of the batter at both BD Riley's and Sherlock's. But what happened to the old 'steak fry' chips which the D&D used to excel at? They have been replaced by some sort of battered french fry, a la Hyde Park but not achieving that high standard, and although they were tasty, it really wasn't what we were expecting.

                                      My verdict so far: BD Riley's has the best fish, and Ma Egan's the best chips.

                                      Still to try: Bagpipes (well, it is within the City limits), Hyde Park (although fish 'n chips is not on their on-line menu) and Quality Seafood. My guess is that the fish will often be good, depending on the efforts of the kitchen to batter it properly, but that the 'chips' will always be fries.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: TAF
                                        curlykerry RE: TAF Jul 12, 2007 07:34 PM

                                        Anyone tried The Tilted Kilt in Round Rock? I haven't been, but they have a "Maggie May's Fish & Chips" listed on the menu. Looked at their website and the waitresses appear to be a stone's throw away from Hooter's girls.

                                        1. re: curlykerry
                                          TAF RE: curlykerry Jul 12, 2007 08:20 PM

                                          I'm relieved to say that the Tilted Kilt is far outside of the Austin city limits, so I shall leave that research to keener hounds than I.

                                        2. re: TAF
                                          thebodytx RE: TAF Jul 21, 2007 05:22 PM

                                          Had a good faux Fish and Chips lunch the other day, at Bess Bistro. They were offering a lunch special; a beer battered cod po boy. I ordered it and discarded the "po boy" part; next time I'll tell them to just serve the fish and chips. The fish was excellent; and in my opinion not some frozen cut such as Ma Egan's. The chips were nicely done shoestring fries; just the fries, no coating of buttermilk or spices or something else horrible. So, while not a true Fish & Chips lunch, the fish was the best I've had in Austin so far.

                                          1. re: TAF
                                            Greg Spence RE: TAF Jul 23, 2007 10:21 AM

                                            I've had the fried cod and fries at Quality Seafood and it was terrible. The cod was extremely dry and flavorless, the batter soggy and cool and the fries pedestrian at best. Stick with the catfish here.

                                          2. thall1978 RE: TAF Jul 18, 2007 03:25 PM

                                            What about Cedar Door? They have pretty good fish and chips, at least the one time I've tried it.

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: thall1978
                                              TAF RE: thall1978 Jul 19, 2007 01:27 PM

                                              I shall head that way next week ...

                                              1. re: TAF
                                                jdupe RE: TAF Jul 19, 2007 08:50 PM

                                                Your relentless search is enviable....do you do this with all your food inquiries? Are you an anthropologist, by chance?

                                                1. re: TAF
                                                  ashes RE: TAF Jul 20, 2007 10:57 PM

                                                  If I remember, Cedar Door uses Tilapia (the same fish used in their fish tacos). And, I also distinctly remember square cut fries (not the trad. steak/chip style fry).

                                                2. re: thall1978
                                                  TroyTempest RE: thall1978 Jul 20, 2007 10:12 AM

                                                  But do they have a decent British Ale on tap to go with it? Possibly Guiness? Do they?

                                                  1. re: TroyTempest
                                                    Rene RE: TroyTempest Jul 20, 2007 10:18 AM

                                                    The Cedar Door absolutely does! They have a somewhat extensive beer menu.

                                                    1. re: TroyTempest
                                                      Bababooey RE: TroyTempest Jul 20, 2007 11:35 AM

                                                      Guinness is certainly not British, my friend. Nor is it an ale. Guinness is a stout porter beer. Any Irishman that heard you refer to Guinness as a British beer would rightfully slap you upside the head! :)

                                                      1. re: Bababooey
                                                        diva360 RE: Bababooey Jul 21, 2007 10:47 PM

                                                        Actually a stout is an ale because it is not fermented at a cold temperature (like a lager) and it tends to be top-fermented. Guinness is a dry Irish stout. A porter is a different kind of ale, as is an India pale or a wheat. Some European brews are made with a mixture of both lager-ing and ale-ing techniques which can make classifying them more difficult. I have an ex who is the head brewer at a brew pub, and believe me, I learned from beer while we were together.

                                                        1. re: Bababooey
                                                          TroyTempest RE: Bababooey Jul 23, 2007 11:38 AM

                                                          As the Diva so eloquently put it, Stouts are a type of ale, as are porters. Both are dark brown to black, but are different. (and ales are beers as are lagers) . Lastly, It is not my intention to offend the Irish. In my shorthand way of posting, what i was trying to get at was, they probably have Guinness on tap, if not any British Ales. Most everybody has Guinness.(which goes well with the F&C, although It'd not be my first choice)

                                                    2. thebodytx RE: TAF Nov 3, 2007 07:14 AM

                                                      Update on the search. In Dale Rice's reivew of the new place in the Domain, the Daily Grill, he mentioned their "fish and chips" favorably. Went last night try it. The Daily Grill is a CA chain; looks and feels like Jasper's and with similar pricing. Their layout is more conducive to becoming a good Happy Hour place. But I digress....

                                                      The "fish" was three pieces of talapia, breaded with panko and fried. the "chips" were shoestring french fries. The fish had a good flavor and the fries were excellent. But as you can see from the description the dish is not anywhere close to "fish and chips".

                                                      As a starter I had "crispy lobster", a small lobster tail removed from the shell, grilled and served with a fresh pineapple salsa (very good).

                                                      The spouse had gaspacho soup (very good) and meatloaf (bloody awlful).

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: thebodytx
                                                        TAF RE: thebodytx Jan 10, 2008 10:22 AM

                                                        Update from BJs Brewhouse: I spotted fish and chips on the menu, and so thought I'd better order it. The fish appeared to be hand-battered, the batter had a good consistency and the fish was fresh. However, it lacked any semblance of flavor - not sure how they managed that. Like eating air. The 'chips' were skin-on wedge-cut fries, coated and battered, result : impervious to vinegar. Verdict: not bad, but unremarkable; they have plenty else to choose from and tasty beers to wash it all down with, so I won't be ordering fish and chips again.

                                                      2. p
                                                        palookapalooza RE: TAF Jan 10, 2008 09:59 PM

                                                        Have you tried Opal Divine's? Went there recently with an Aussie friend who used to live in England (but now lives in Japan, so admittedly his palate is probably uncalibrated), and he proclaimed them "not bad". (This is the "Marina" location at Parmer and MoPac; not sure about the F&C at the other locations...)

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: palookapalooza
                                                          Chefdavis RE: palookapalooza Feb 7, 2008 04:37 AM


                                                          in your description of chips, you mention large, steak fry-style, well-cooked but not burned.

                                                          In my opinion if the fries are "well cooked" that means they are crispy. If during the second frying process, the fries are cooked to a crispy seal This crispy seal keeps moisture on the inside of the potato. If this crispy seal is done "correctly", the texture might not be a good fit for malt vinegar.

                                                          Could you please give me a little more info, thanks

                                                          On another topic, I think the fries at Hyde Park are very overrated. At the very least, the fries desperately need to be salted immediately after being pulled from the fryer. The dipping sauce (celeriac, celery, or celery salt) is not bad. I prefer a Belgian-style aioli, but this sauce will work in a pinch.

                                                          1. re: Chefdavis
                                                            rudeboy RE: Chefdavis Feb 7, 2008 08:49 AM

                                                            ChefDavis - I've never heard of Belgian style aioli. This intrigues me. What makes it Belgian?

                                                            1. re: rudeboy
                                                              Chefdavis RE: rudeboy Feb 7, 2008 09:11 AM


                                                              sorry did not check my post before posting.

                                                              I prefer aioli with my french fries in the Belgian style or like Belgians do

                                                              1. re: Chefdavis
                                                                rudeboy RE: Chefdavis Feb 7, 2008 10:03 AM

                                                                Oh, I see......I thought that I was missing out on something!

                                                                1. re: rudeboy
                                                                  nypb RE: rudeboy Feb 17, 2008 07:58 AM

                                                                  We went to Mother Egans last night for the first time. Mrs. B had the F&C. The fish was good but the chips were first-rate. I don't normally like steak fries but these were awesome. Crispy outside and soft and pillowy within. I prefer the fish at Dog and Duck where I lunch a few times a month. If they could combine the F&C from these 2 establishments we would have the winner.

                                                                  I had a curry chicken sandwich with a side of Irish stew at dinner last night. I thought it was really good. Great meal for $30 with drinks.

                                                                  I will try Sherlocks next.

                                                        2. danalf RE: TAF Mar 17, 2008 12:15 PM

                                                          We went for some good fish n chips and left empty handed. The fish was served with little packets of tartar sauce, little paper napkins and plastic utensils and it just got worse from there. I tasted it. I was told it was merely that the "presentation" was not up to it's usual par, but my advice it to go for the pub atmosphere and eat somewhere else.

                                                          10 Replies
                                                          1. re: danalf
                                                            mkwng RE: danalf Mar 17, 2008 01:37 PM

                                                            danalf, where was this?

                                                            1. re: mkwng
                                                              danalf RE: mkwng Mar 19, 2008 08:16 PM

                                                              Sorry, my first post. It was Mother Egan's. The staff and atmosphere were great, but the fish n chips didn't really excite. I've had better eating the frozen stuff at home.

                                                            2. re: danalf
                                                              thebodytx RE: danalf Mar 18, 2008 11:47 AM

                                                              From your note on another thread I assume you're talking about Mother Egan's.
                                                              There are two kinds of Fish/Chips served by Mother Egan's:

                                                              * The standard non-holiday plate, well regarded by many that have tasted it.

                                                              * The holiday plate, prepared the night before, stored in food warmers, and served on paper with plastic setups. Disdained by everyone ever exposed to it.

                                                              1. re: thebodytx
                                                                nypb RE: thebodytx Apr 5, 2008 09:19 AM

                                                                I went to Bagpipes last night for happy hour. The fish and chips, while edible, were nothing special at all and that's putting it nicely. The cottage fries were ok but completely oversalted. It may not be the worst F&C but it's the worst I've had so far in Austin.

                                                                The service we had was awful and I will never return. I hope they close soon and judging from the thin crowd on a Friday night it shouldn't be too long. The lousy service combined with $13 for a pitcher of Shiner will be their downfall.

                                                                Fish City Grill is next. Still hoping to get to Sherlocks too but after my Bagpipes experience I don't even want to drive near 183 on a Friday night.

                                                                1. re: nypb
                                                                  amysuehere RE: nypb May 1, 2008 08:56 AM

                                                                  Don't bother with Sherlocks. It's next door to my work and the guys occasionaly break down and go there for lunch. I have yet to find anything I deem edible there.

                                                                  1. re: amysuehere
                                                                    rusty_s RE: amysuehere May 2, 2008 10:01 AM

                                                                    I second amysuehere re: Sherlock's. I belong to a group that has periodic lunches there and I'm tempted to brown-bag it. The food "tastes" like it comes out of the Sysco's truck, into the fryer, and onto the plate.
                                                                    But in all fairness I do not *remember* having the fish & chips.

                                                                    1. re: amysuehere
                                                                      rudeboy RE: amysuehere May 2, 2008 11:44 AM

                                                                      There's plenty of edibles at Bagpipes, across the street.

                                                                      1. re: rudeboy
                                                                        amysuehere RE: rudeboy May 2, 2008 11:51 AM

                                                                        What the HELL are you doing in Bagpipes, Rudeboy?!

                                                                        1. re: amysuehere
                                                                          rudeboy RE: amysuehere May 2, 2008 12:07 PM

                                                                          Oh, and they have FOOD as well!

                                                                          Do you know where I can find any deer meat in austin?

                                                                          1. re: rudeboy
                                                                            amykragan RE: rudeboy May 2, 2008 12:29 PM

                                                                            Hudson's on the Bend serves venison. Cedar Park Meat Market used to see fresh venison steaks and sausages, not sure if they still do.

                                                              2. rob133 RE: TAF May 2, 2008 12:38 PM

                                                                The Cedar Door. We had just arrived and not really sure where to go, it was about 4pm and a number of places were still not open so we stumbled on this place. We should have known better as we walked in, actually I recall we didn't have high expectations, simply something to fill a hole for a few hours. The menu said fish and chips and I guess they got the fish part right (well it was battered and deep fried at least), but the chips were potato chips.I would have paid extra for waffle fries had I known that I was getting potato chips (crisps) and not fries. It was one of the oddest eating experiences I have ever had - and not one I would ever wish to repeat

                                                                1. s
                                                                  stephanieh RE: TAF May 3, 2008 05:01 PM

                                                                  I've been scared to say this out loud, but I had some really tasty fish and chips at Joe's Crab Shack. The fries don't fit your description, but the fish was fried crispy and stayed moist inside. They were salty (which in my opinion always makes things better). They do serve it with malt vinegar.

                                                                  I've had Opal Divine's (Marina loc) Fish & Chips and meh, they weren't inedible, but I won't order them again. They were kind of bland. And maybe a little soggy.

                                                                  Hubby had Fish & Chips at Tilted Kilt. I asked him how they were and he shrugged. He doesn't emote about food like I do when it's good, so it's hard to tell what his shrugs mean. But, in this case, I think this was probably a fair assessment.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: stephanieh
                                                                    nypb RE: stephanieh Jul 11, 2008 01:43 PM

                                                                    Chip alert: Had lunch at the Dog and Duck today and I wanted to let y'all know that they changed the chips. They were previously serving a battered fry but have changed to a more shoestring type (with skin on).

                                                                    While they're still not steak fries, I liked them better.

                                                                    1. re: nypb
                                                                      tom in austin RE: nypb Jul 11, 2008 04:15 PM

                                                                      The battered fries were a move to Sysco. Hopefully these shoestring types are hand-made.

                                                                  2. TAF RE: TAF Jan 16, 2009 10:52 AM

                                                                    Tried Fiddler's Hearth for F&C today, and thought I'd bump the thread. This place is Bennigan's, minus the decor, plus a few flags and a couple of Irish t-shirts half-heartedly pinned to the wall. Also, it was cold in there.

                                                                    We ordered the 'as much as you can eat' fish and chips. This took a full 30 minutes to arrive, with the server telling us after 20 minutes that of course it was going to take a while - everyone was ordering fish and chips! The F&C, when it arrived, took the form of a dozen chips (steak fries, in this case) on a small plate with one piece of fish which had been halved and then battered. Basically, smaller than a child's portion. We immediately ordered another round while we consumed the first, and then a third round when the second came. The second and third rounds, fortunately, did not take as long as the first, although the third round was overcooked. The fish was okay, nothing special. The chips did not absorb the vinegar. All in all: a long wait for a laughably small plate, and there's better F&C downtown.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: TAF
                                                                      jwynne2000 RE: TAF Jan 16, 2009 12:08 PM

                                                                      That's exactly the same impression I had about that place when I went there a couple months ago. After marvelling at how drab and cold it was, I figured maybe they had some footy on near the bar; but alas, I didn't even see one TV in the entire place... very strange.

                                                                      I had the shepherd's pie when I went. I thought it was a nice tip of the cap to include ground lamb in the filling, but it was not enough to save the bland, undersized thing that I was served. Glad to know the F&C aren't worth returning for.

                                                                    2. Kaya_n_Austin RE: TAF Jan 20, 2009 01:45 PM

                                                                      My worst F&C was at Fish City Grill, too. UGH. I'm happy to say that Fiddler's Hearth has worked out a lot of their opening up kinks and the F&C are vastly improved. The service is public house-style, so very relaxed and not what you're used to in Austin. I'd give them another chance if you haven't been there lately.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Kaya_n_Austin
                                                                        TAF RE: Kaya_n_Austin Jan 22, 2009 06:53 AM

                                                                        Hmmm. I'm not sure what you mean by "public house-style, so very relaxed and not what you're used to in Austin". Perhaps you could elaborate?

                                                                        I was there less than two weeks ago, and I thought the service - as well as the food prep time - left a great deal to be desired. As for the portion size, well good grief. The whole experience brought back memories of traveling to Eastern Europe, post Soviet-era. A vast unheated empty space, service if you're lucky, culminating in a saucerful of food plonked down in front of you.

                                                                      2. TAF RE: TAF Mar 9, 2009 08:53 AM

                                                                        Update: Steiner Ranch area. I happened to be at Fion - a wine bar/pub - in the Steiner Ranch community, and on the offchance tried out their F&C. Actually, pretty good. Freshly cut skin-on chips which held the vinegar well. Fish was battered on-site: a little chewy, but not bad. All in all, a good effort, and mighty tasty after a hard mountain bike ride.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: TAF
                                                                          willz11 RE: TAF Apr 5, 2009 08:17 AM

                                                                          been to fion's many times, (usually for different fancy beers and a good ceegar smoke outside), and have had their fish and chips a couple of times. before changing fish suppliers, fish was pretty good, but beer batter was best taste. spoke with owner several times and he has since changed suppliers and is back to COD. YEAH!!!!! anyway, beer battered on site to a nice golden crispy, not soggy, finish. F & C actually served with malt vinegar which is rare for numerous other places we have tried in austin. tried dog-duck, egan's, ljs (hahaha), fish city, etc., but so far FION'S is actually running in the top for consistency. will try sherlocks and bd's in next couple of weeks

                                                                          1. re: willz11
                                                                            TAF RE: willz11 Apr 8, 2009 08:19 AM

                                                                            LJs as in Lovejoy's?

                                                                            1. re: TAF
                                                                              hlk RE: TAF Apr 8, 2009 10:18 AM

                                                                              Long John Silver's, I think.

                                                                        2. i
                                                                          ieathereforeiam RE: TAF Apr 5, 2009 09:32 AM

                                                                          i had a good fish and chips at woodland last week.

                                                                          1. TAF RE: TAF Jan 28, 2011 01:08 PM

                                                                            Tried the fish and chips at Haddington's today, following a number of reports, some positive. Verdict: underwhelming, and at $15 a portion, deep sticker shock. The fish was cooked and battered properly, but the batter had no taste to it - seasoning needs to be added. The 'chips' are actually listed on the menu as 'frips', and turned out to be some sort of potato patty which had been deep fried, the result a somewhat soggy, oily creation. In addition, portion size was unimpressive - as though one piece of fish were shared between the three of us. All in all, not worth returning for unless they up the plate size and add seasoning.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: TAF
                                                                              topodrinko RE: TAF Jan 28, 2011 04:23 PM

                                                                              the austin chronicle and the austin american statesman both reviewed black star co-op this week, which is a new-ish establishment that carries fish and chips amongst other choices. lots of beer to choose from. the first time i tried the fish and chips, i thought they were pretty good. the batter seem to melt in my mouth, yet had a satisfying crispy crunch upon biting into it. you get 3 gnarly 6-7 inch chunks of redfish, locally raised. the chips are plank style, served with a malt vinegar aoili which has a zing. the second time i tried it, it was a bit fishy and oily, but was still satisfying. they have a number of house brews and 20 or so others.

                                                                              the atmosphere is sterile, ikea-esque. go outside and enjoy the lamar/airport traffic whilst sitting in darkness. it's better than being inside.

                                                                              1. re: topodrinko
                                                                                nw_austin_gourmand RE: topodrinko Feb 19, 2011 08:49 PM

                                                                                I dined at the Black Star coop tonight and as much as I really wanted to like the food, I have to disagree with AAS food critic Mike Sutter on this one. The fries were over-salted and overcooked to the point of being semi-burnt. My son's grilled cheese was a surprise - they used some nice homemade bread, but there was very little cheese to match the ultra thick slices of bread. My daughter thought the veggie burger was a little too salty and "beany" tasting. The "signature" fish & chips were avergage, and probably could have been really good had they not been overcooked to to the point where the batter tasted a little burnt. Maybe they were using some old oil or the fryer was too hot, but all of the fried food just had a very dark appearance and a slightly acrid taste.
                                                                                I'll be back for another visit because the beer was superlative - I only tried the Vulcan (one of 4 beers brewed on the premises), and the rest of the selection looked very local (Circle among others) with many disparate styles on tap.
                                                                                I agree with topodrinko on the atmosphere inside, but I thoroughly enjoyed the picnic tables outside and the view overlooking the intersection of N.Lamar & Airport.

                                                                                I will be back for the beer and I will even give the food another chance, but all in all, I felt the recent Statesman review was a little over the top.

                                                                                Black Star Co-Op Pub & Brewery
                                                                                7020 Easy Wind Dr #100, Austin, TX

                                                                            2. d
                                                                              danny_w RE: TAF Jan 29, 2011 03:07 PM

                                                                              I am not a Brit and have never even been so I certainly don;t know anything about how F&C are supposed to look or taste, but the absolute worst that I ever had (to me) was at the now defunct Bennigan's. Way too much breading, and fish that rolled around in the breading 'case'. The chips were pretty awful too if I remember correctly, but it has been several years now. The best I have ever had (again to me) was at the Cheesecake Factory in the Arboretum. Thin crispy batter, tasty moist fish, and decent chips.

                                                                              4025 S Interstate 35, San Marcos, TX 78666

                                                                              Cheesecake Factory
                                                                              10000 Research Blvd, Austin, TX 78759

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: danny_w
                                                                                TAF RE: danny_w Jan 30, 2011 06:51 PM

                                                                                Ah, Danny - you must have missed out on the hapless Fiddlers Hearth, which occupied the Bennigan's location for a short time after they closed their doors. Imagine Bennigan's, but occupied by a clueless set of owners with no business plan....

                                                                                4025 S Interstate 35, San Marcos, TX 78666

                                                                              2. popvulture RE: TAF Jan 29, 2011 06:25 PM

                                                                                Ugh, this post makes me wish I still lived in NY and could just go to A Salt & Battery. But hey, it was 70 degrees today! How's that weather up there, suckers?

                                                                                1. l
                                                                                  LakeLBJ RE: TAF Feb 1, 2011 12:46 PM

                                                                                  I believe there is a newish fish and chips trailer on the east side. Anybody try?

                                                                                  Edit: Bits and Druthers, 1001 e. 6th, 4 and 5 star yelp reviews, battered with real ale beer, everything scratch made....need to try....

                                                                                  1. dinaofdoom RE: TAF Feb 1, 2011 06:50 PM

                                                                                    has anyone tried bits and druthers yet?

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: dinaofdoom
                                                                                      TAF RE: dinaofdoom Feb 2, 2011 04:38 AM

                                                                                      I stopped by Bits & Druthers the other day, as it happens. I wasn't hungry, so I only tried the 'chips', which turned out to be your standard order of fries - nothing chip-like about them whatsoever. Curious little food park, though.

                                                                                      1. re: TAF
                                                                                        dinaofdoom RE: TAF Feb 2, 2011 08:04 AM

                                                                                        it always saddens me when places can't even get the potatoes right.

                                                                                        1. re: TAF
                                                                                          AustinBear RE: TAF May 18, 2011 02:49 PM

                                                                                          I like B&D. The 'chips' may not be chips, but they're well fried. The fish is not cod, but it's very well fried. My mother in law is from the UK and loves it, others have also rated it well.

                                                                                          Worth a try, chips aside. Much better than any other F&Cs I've had in Austin.

                                                                                      2. s
                                                                                        south_austin_bubba RE: TAF May 17, 2011 09:46 PM

                                                                                        IMHO the Austin Land and Cattle has the best F&C plate in town. And if you go during happy hour 5-7 you can get it for half price. My personal fav is to get what I call the south austin surf and turf: aged beef hamburger and fish and chips for about $12.

                                                                                        1. TAF RE: TAF Jul 1, 2011 12:38 PM

                                                                                          I happened to be in the Belmont today, which in my view is not the best place to be at lunchtime, but I thought I'd try the fish and chips anyway. Curiously, they arrived with actual potato chips ... deep fried! When I queried this, I was told 'sorry, thought you ordered the fish and *chips*'. The fish was average - they did have tartar sauce and malt vinegar, which you don't always even get.

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