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New Fish and Chips Joint in Brighton Center

It's called the Battery and is on Washington Street across from Boca Grande. It seems to be Irish-owned and is mainly a take-out joint. I think that a lot of money was put into it, as the space, a former pizza joint, has been completely transformed.

I tried the fish last night, but they were out of chips and tarter. They substituted a "potato pie" which was essentially fried mashed potatoes with cheese and onions. The fish was very fresh and tasty, but the skin was not removed for some reason. Service was very slow, but friendly. I think it was the first night, so I will definitely try it again in a few weeks when they work out the kinks.

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  1. What was the batter like? Thick batter-styled (English style), or more light, cornmeal dredge type? Large whole filets, or smaller cut pieces?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Science Chick

      Large Filet, with one piece per order that was more than enough. Think batter, but it wasn't as crispy as usually would be the case.

    2. Thanks for the report. Always thought that a real fish and chips place would do well therer (my old neighborhood) given the concentration of Irish in Brighton. What were the prices like?

      3 Replies
      1. re: gourmaniac

        $7ish for Fried Haddock or $10ish for Fried Haddock Supper
        $5ish for Friend Pollock of $8ish for Fried Pollock Supper
        $3 to $5 for Chips with various topping
        $5ish for Cheeseburger or Chicken Sandwich
        $2 for Side of Curry Sauce
        $1 for Side of Grabe
        $1 to $2 for various sides such as slaw and peas

        1. re: bignick33

          How much for a fried Mars Bar?

          1. re: bignick33

            Does it cost extra to have 'em take the skin off?

            Was it at least scaled?

        2. Oh man, I wish they had this place when I lived near there! I wish them success. I prefer the skin on anyway, as long as there are no scales.

          I've had lots of mediocre and bad fish n chips in Boston over the years, I hope this place starts a trend in the other direction.

          1. When you say the skin was not removed, I assume you mean that on one side of the fillet, there is descaled skin. In the U.K., that is how it is normally done and I would bet it's the same in Ireland. Those who don't like it often reflect that it stops them from eating half of the batter, so it isn't all bad.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chickendhansak

              I have long thought Boston needed a real British style fish n chips shop. If had I had the $, that's what I'd do. If not here, where?????
              I am also encouraged that it's being run by some Irish guys....will give them some time to work out the kinks but would love to hear reports from anyone else who visits.

            2. Checked the Battery out last night. Everything was battered to order. We got Haddock and Pollock with chips, peas and potato pies.
              The potato pies were enormous - the size of softballs.
              Batter was nice and thick. Cole Slaw was great, very saucy. Garlic mayo looked too small to bother with but ended up being enough for the chips. The side of curry was also very good.
              Definitely not fast, but I would rather wait for freshness then get something soggy right away.

              1. Has anyone who's tried this place ever eaten at the Chip Shop in Brooklyn? I would be interested in knowing how they compare.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Prav

                  I have eaten at The Chip Shop (which, though it was a while ago, was excellent, btw)....haven't been to this place yet though....

                  1. re: twentyoystahs

                    Oh, I miss the Chip Shop! I'm hoping this Brighton place stacks up. Have had OK fish & chips at Matt Murphy's.

                2. Just tried it today and here is my review: I got pollock, chips, peas, gravy and my friend got haddock, chips, coleslaw, gravy (we wanted to cover a lot of variety).
                  The fish was good - both equal, to me. Better to eat in (which we did) so you can enjoy the crispyness.
                  The chips were very good but I did not like that the gravy/peas curry/slaw came on top of the chips - next time (and there will be a next time), I will specify the chips separate.
                  The peas were exactly like baby food peas - I understand the mushy peas concept but I won't get again. The gravy has a pepperyness to it which was good, also faintly tasted like the curry. The slaw was standard, and good. The curry was excellent.
                  The price for all that (2 people) was $20.90 and it was a big meal.
                  I recommend it and welcome it to the Allston-Brighton smorgesbord along the route 57 bus route!!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: mmocpi

                    Are they licensed (we only require beer)?

                    1. re: mmocpi

                      One should never take out fish and chips... must be eaten right away.

                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        Well, a lot of places I've been to in the UK were mostly neighborhood take-out joints. I saw a lot of called-in orders. Invariably, though, the regulars lived right around the corner (with glasses of heady Old Speckled Hen or the like waiting), which probably preserved the integrity of the product.

                        I feel like Camberville is such an untapped market for this type of place (think Chip Shop or A Salt and Battery, both in NY)....And a soba noodle shop, and a Belgian frites/beer shop, and....

                    2. We just went tonight after reading about this place and calling to make sure they were open on Sunday evening. I was told they were open till 1 a.m. When we got there, the door was locked even though there were a bunch of people milling about inside.

                      We knocked on the door and eventually someone opened it to tell us that the place was closed because of staff problems. A woman said that her family had been waiting an hour for their food.

                      So, while the food looked delicious, I don't think this is an auspicious start for a new restaurant. If they remain in business, I'll try them at some point but not for awhile. If you go, call first but even then don't assume they'll be open!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: foodfinder

                        Went today for lunch. Was skeptical when I saw the battered and pre-cook fish in the front case. As it turned out it was pretty good. Got the haddock dinner which included chips and peas. Would not order the peas again. Hope they do well as this is a alternitive to the standard lunch places we have.

                        Paul

                        1. re: PAUL

                          can you explain what you mean by "battered and pre-cook fish in the front case.." ? I'm confused.

                          1. re: twentyoystahs

                            The fish portions are battered and pre-fryed. Then they are placed on racks in the glass case at the front of the store. When you place your order they are returned to the deep fryers to finish cooking.

                      2. Allstonian and I went here tonight with high hopes, as I find it astonishing and somewhat appalling that I could consistently get better fish and chips at a pub near my apartment in Albuquerque freakin' New Mexico than I've been able to locate here. This comes closer, but the search is still on.

                        The good: the chips are excellent, and the coleslaw is quite tasty, albeit slightly overdressed. The battered sausage, an Irish banger lightly dipped and deep-fried, is quite tasty. They carry Club Orange, which is about halfway between a Polar Orange Dry and your basic Fanta, and is quite delicious and refreshing. The counter girls all have fetching Irish accents.

                        The not-so-good: sadly, the fish. Well, actually, the fish itself is just fine. We both got the pollack, and it was nice and moist and flavorful. But the batter -- a traditional thick English/Irish style -- was positively leaden, with neither flavor nor leavening, and so thickly applied that the interior, where it met the fish, was gummy and raw.

                        I understand that a traditional English batter is really meant primarily as a covering agent to protect the fish in the fryer, but a lighter hand and a little more flavor would go a long way. A little baking powder and/or club soda in the batter for leavening, along with a little salt, and the batter would actually be edible and the fish pieces would come out much less heavy and sodden.

                        1. Globe review today - http://www.boston.com/ae/food/restaur...

                          I don't think the photo makes the food look particularly appetizing.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Bob Dobalina

                            I went there with my family last night. I was extremely disappointed. My son had the pollock supper, my wife had the haddock, and I had clams. The two fish suppers were OK. The portions were small and the batter was heavy and greasy but the fish itself was tasty (there was no skin on the fish). The "chips" were pretty greasy. They reminded me of the fries that you get at the carnival that come in a cardboard dog dish. Don't bother with the clams. You only get a few and the english batter kills any clam flavor. The smooshed peas must be an acquired taste (one that I haven't yet acquired). The restaurant was freezing (we ate in as recommended) and whenever someone came in the door, the temperature dropped another 10 degrees. The staff were in the warm prep area so they were in t-shirts. Food was not cooked to order as stated on other posts. Fish portions were piled high in a warming area under a heat lamp. Definitely NOT worth the trip!

                            1. re: lowbuckbob

                              tried it a couple weeks ago, they did cook it to order, but the fish (haddock) was on the dry side and the batter and chips were mediocre. the shrimp and clams were pretty decent tasting though once you get past the heavy batter. If they could do more of a tempura batter that would be awesome.

                              1. re: barleywino

                                Although I've never ordered it, I've been told by several people that the fish and chips at Townsends in Hyde Park are delicious and "melt in you mouth." I'm probably going in the next week or so and will report back if I get it.

                                1. re: catsmeow

                                  I had them at Townsend's a few weeks ago and it was good. Not sure how fish and chips melt in your mouth. Thought the batter was good, wished they served it on a larger plate instead of trying to cut fish on top of the fries, Which were basic American fries. A side of cole slaw would have been a welcome addition but this was the $15 two course meal and overall was quite good.

                          2. My experiences at The Battery: mostly very good fried stuff -- the haddock is well worth the $2 premium over the pollock -- but they suffer from the classic chipper problem: same temperature oil for fish and chips, which always means one gets done wrong. In this case, the chips are soggy, uncrisp, oily, bad. You might blame this on the fact that they ladle your side dish (mushy peas, curry gravy, etc.) directly on top, but they're still underdone even if you request your side on the side (which I recommend). My favorite chip sauce was the garlic mayo, which is fierce and delicious. So I'd go for that haddock anytime (I also liked the deep-fried Irish sausage, a lot like a batter-fried quality 1/2-pound frankfurter), and only order the chips after a long session at the Green Briar or Irish Village.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                              I gather the chips are traditional Irish style, that is they are meant to be limp and pale and act as a conduit for sauces. I don't enjoy this style of chip myself, but I think it's intentional not simply a problem with the oil temp.

                              1. re: yumyum

                                Only one person's perspective, but my buddy from Loughrea (hometown) and Limerick (where he went to uni) thinks the chips aren't properly crisp enough, either. On the other hand, there are lines of Irish ex-pats out the door most nights.

                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                  Are they more limp than this? 99% of the chips I've eaten in Ireland have been like this or paler. Enjoyment is proportional to # pints consumed.

                                   
                                  1. re: yumyum

                                    No travels in Ireland to draw on, myself; though plenty in England. This Irish friend has a notoriously low quality bar for restaurants, though. His response to just about everything he's served in restaurants is a sincere, "Eh, it's quite good!" I was kind of surprised to hear him criticize the chips. He liked the haddock as much as I did. We both thought the pollock had a less pleasing, mushy texture.

                                    I wonder: can anyone comment on distinct variations in chips between England and Ireland? I know I've had better chips in England, as well as some equally bad ones.

                              2. re: MC Slim JB

                                MC Slim JB,
                                I've found, in my travel to G.B. & Ireland, that there is no consensus "best" way by popularity amongst the chipper's. Dublin's most famous, Leo Burdock's, advertises as using "drippings" which you can order extra crisp for some additional shots of cholesterol, if you like. While one of London's most revered, Rock & Sole Plaice (I kid you not), uses nothing but peanut oil! Flaccid fries, unfortunately are more the norm rather than the exception over the pond. Even when the chips are crispy they seldom show any coloration other than a full golden yellow. For every Brady's of London or Raffo's of Belfast there are dozens of Harry Ramsden's, think Arthur Treacher's, outlets.

                                I'm with you on spending the additional $2 for haddock and wouldn't order anything less than cod in F&C. Pollack and hake are best relegated for use in chowders, stews and as fish stock, IMO. BTW, there are lots of good chippers, even bad ones, who fry their F&C separately and at different temperatures. It's all about execution.

                                Harp

                                1. re: Harp00n

                                  Very useful info! Nothing like the perspective of a better-traveled Hound! (Most of my UK travels have been limited to a few big cities.)

                                  And as I said, my Irish mate and I may gripe about the mushy chips, but it doesn't seem to be crimping the lines out the door, largely comprised of Irish ex-pats. The way I talked about it my Phoenix review was to start by musing on food nostalgia, wondering what I'd miss most about American food if I lived in abroad, and then observing that "the Battery's fried fish is brilliant, and its chips are, well, probably just what the regulars are pining for."

                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                    Better traveled only in certainly areas, I'm sure!
                                    With the dollar strengthening against the euro, now just might be the right time to plan a May or June trip, MC, to Cork & Kinsale. The weather is, usually, great then and without the super-premium rates of the High Season. This area, as you probably already know, is a hot bed of the New Irish cuisine movement and a beautiful area to visit, in general.

                                    I don't know if you ever find yourself in Bennington, VT. But if you do, I would strongly recommend you visit Kevin & Sarah Wright's Lil' Britain. Props are do to former MA, and current VT Hound, "dukegirl" for first posting a big rec for them.They are a genuine chipper set down in Vermont but also serve bangers & mash and sell British specialty food items as well. This link also includes their website.

                                    All the best,
                                    Harp

                                    BTW, the dark secret little secret in Britain is that some chippers use spiny dogfish aka sand shark as their protein additive. And yes, it's still a better option than pollack!

                                    -----
                                    Lil' Britain
                                    116 North St, Bennington, VT 05201

                                  2. re: Harp00n

                                    "Flaccid fries, unfortunately are more the norm rather than the exception over the pond. Even when the chips are crispy they seldom show any coloration other than a full golden yellow."

                                    But that's how it's supposed to be. Learn to love it!

                                    1. re: chickendhansak

                                      Non-tumescent chips are best (?) consumed only after many, many pints of The Black Stuff!

                                      Harp

                                2. So I guess you still can't beat Moulton's in South Medford. For me it's the same 10 minutes or so from Cambridge.

                                  1. I was there today for the first time. Cod and chips with mushy peas. I think they don't normally serve cod, but they explained that they get the fish fresh daily and today it was cod, not haddock.

                                    It was a nice piece of cod, but the big thing for me was the chips. Perfect combination of small, crispy ones and larger, soft ones. They know what they are doing here. Combined with a very good serving of peas I was really happy. They have plenty of other exciting things on the menu like battered sausages and curry sauce so I will be going back soon.

                                    Friendly service too. Definitely a little bit of home for any Irish and British expats out there. I'd rate this unmissable if, like me, you are in that camp. And that's counter to the opinion of one local blogger who, it seems, grew up not five miles from me and didn't like it (linked from that Boston Globe article). To the blogger I would say it's all very well having your favourite chip shop in the world, but even within a single town, no chip shop is exactly the same as the next. There are always variations. The Battery's chips compare well to just about any I've had across the pond.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: chickendhansak

                                      I really liked the mix of small, crispy chips and larger, creamier ones - makes me much happier than a plateful of uniformly cut fries.

                                    2. OK, I've now tried this twice and really want to like it but just can't. I grew up next store to a fish&chip shop in Toronto in the sixties wrapped in newsprint etc that provided a reliable piece of battered fish, chips in a cone and I've not found its like in Boston. The Battery being in my old neighborhood and run by Irish expats gave me hope, but alas, it was not to be. The fish has been a real disappointment here. My first time, the fish was raw and the batter still liquid next to the fish. Yuck!! I threw it out after the first bite. My desire for this place to succeed bade me to try again this time treating a couple of dear friends. This time, the fish was overdone and dry. IMHO, precooking the fish and then finishing it with a second time in the hot oil is a problem in that depending on oil temperature and water content, the second cooking can vary (as I have seen). The serving sizes are large and the price point excellent, but I product is just not good enough. And so, my search continues.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: gourmaniac

                                        Was the Toronto chipper Caz's, by any chance? As it happens, Caz's Fish and Chips in Toronto is my personal yardstick of everything I want in an order of fish and chips.

                                        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                          No, it was just a neighborhood place in the Vaughan Road area. In Toronto in the sixties, fish and chip shops were common amidst the scottish, irish, english roots of the city before it became so multi-cultural.