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MSP- The Anchor Fish & Chips

EarlOfSandwich Jun 18, 2009 12:28 PM

The City Pages' Hot Dish blog has a list of "COMING SOON" restaurants:
http://blogs.citypages.com/food/2009/...

One in particular caught my eye:
The Anchor Fish & Chips, Minneapolis

I have heard nothing about it , but the words "Fish & Chips" set off a Pavlovian response in my salivary glands. One lives in hope that finally we will have a GREAT f&c place around here.

Anyone know anything about The Anchor, like when they will open? All i know is what i could find on the internetz. Googling the name brings up this bit of city business:
http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/counc...

Which tells us, among other things:

ADDRESS: 302 13th Avenue Northeast (same block as Erte

)

The applicant seeks approval of an On-Sale Wine with Strong Beer, Class E License to be operated in conjunction with the restaurant...
The premises cover one level for a total of about 900 square feet of restaurant as well as about 450 square feet for the kitchen, coolers, and storage. ...The main floor is at street level and has seating for 35 people at two-top tables and a food service counter that seats five people. ...
SIDEWALK CAFE
There will be a sidewalk cafe with three tables that seat two people each with a total of six seats. The sidewalk cafe is on 13th Avenue Northeast. Proposed hours for the sidewalk cafe are 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM Tuesday through Friday; and 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM Saturday and Sunday.
OPERATIONS
The overall management of the restaurant will be provided by Kathryn Hayes who has worked in Irish restaurants in Paris and New York. ...
The menu will include Irish specialties including fish and chips ranging in prices from $1.50 to $7.50. The proposed hours of operation for inside the restaurant are 4:00 PM to 1:00 AM Tuesday through Friday; and 10:00 AM to 1:00 AM Saturday and Sunday.

Sounds like it could be good! I look forward to this place opening!
EoS

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  1. j
    jbanana RE: EarlOfSandwich Jun 18, 2009 01:58 PM

    I live nearby and am anxiously awaiting this place to open. The sign on the window says they are opening "summer 2009". Their website has a rough menu and a little bit about the folks who are opening it (Irish transplants and an American with ties). It sounds very neighborhood pub-like - I am really excited too!

    http://theanchorfishandchips.com/

    2 Replies
    1. re: jbanana
      EarlOfSandwich RE: jbanana Jun 19, 2009 12:51 PM

      Thanks for the website link, jbanana! That didn't come up in my Google search.

      Fish & Chips
      Battered Sausage & Chips
      Pasties
      Shepherds Pie
      Grass-Fed Burger
      Curried Chips
      Gravy Chips...

      I am really looking forward to this!

      1. re: EarlOfSandwich
        The Dairy Queen RE: EarlOfSandwich Jun 19, 2009 12:54 PM

        Wow, now I'm intrigued, too.

        ~TDQ

    2. Foureyes137 RE: EarlOfSandwich Jun 19, 2009 03:12 AM

      We also live in the area and noticed the paper and sign in the window during Art-A-Whirl. Very interested to see how the F&C are!

      1. EarlOfSandwich RE: EarlOfSandwich Jul 9, 2009 10:41 AM

        The "counter intelligence" column in the Taste section of today's Strib has a bit on The Anchor.
        http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/...

        Says they are opening "early August." I'm stoked.

        1. e
          excheftype RE: EarlOfSandwich Sep 13, 2009 08:59 PM

          Anchor seems to be going for the authentic Irish pub feel. Great knotty wood floors, black subway tile in the open kitchen, and a few cozy tables and booths make me want to stake out my weekly winter table right about now. Very dark colors. Fish and chips will be the traditional cod and - get this - will be fried in beef tallow! My arteries are ready. Kitchen staff made up of a handful of seasoned line dogs from Mpls independents (think Bulldog).

          1 Reply
          1. re: excheftype
            s
            soupkitten RE: excheftype Sep 13, 2009 09:14 PM

            the joint's open, then? we tried to go check them out quite recently, and the windows were still papered up and a sign saying "open summer of '09". . .

          2. b
            BigE RE: EarlOfSandwich Sep 14, 2009 07:01 AM

            Weird, this place caught my eye for the first time as I was riding the shuttle to the State Fair and I think to myself "looks pretty dingy, but wouldn't it be nice if that place had great, simple fish and chips". A few days later, I read a nice review on it (can't remember where) and now I see this thread.

            I'll definitely have to check it out.

            2 Replies
            1. re: BigE
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              SmartCookie RE: BigE Sep 14, 2009 07:32 AM

              They're not open yet, but possibly later this week - they just took the newspaper off of the windows and are stocking the place.

              Here's the menu for when they do.

               
              1. re: SmartCookie
                k
                kevin47 RE: SmartCookie Sep 14, 2009 08:03 AM

                Three things I like about that menu:

                1) Fish and Chips clock in at under $8.50
                2) Battered Sausage
                3) You can order gravy as a side dish

            2. bob s RE: EarlOfSandwich Sep 14, 2009 02:41 PM

              Dara took a look inside...

              http://www.minnesotamonthly.com/media...

              1. g
                Geo in MSP RE: EarlOfSandwich Oct 2, 2009 06:20 PM

                Just opened! We stopped in, knowing that this was only their second day in operation. So take it with that understanding. IF YOU'RE READING THIS A MONTH LATER,FIND A NEWER REVIEW!

                Love the vibe, the three friends trying to make a neighborhood spot. They did a nice job in the interior. Even crowded, the noise level was fine. I've never been to an Irish pub, but this was definitely nothing like any English pub I've been in. This is definitely a restaurant; in fact, the menu reminds that in a restaurant, liquor can only be purchased with food.

                The waitstaff was friendly and enthusiastic. Like any new staff, they need to work out some kinks in working together. A table was wiped twice; while another sat unwiped. (This while there was a line to the door. Did I mention they're busy?) A woman, I think one of the Irish owners, was gesticulating with arm motions that would not have been out of place on a dance floor, but needs to be tempered for a crowded restaurant. These are all things about the now experience, nothing that won't be smoothed out quickly. (Did I mention they just opened?)

                Prices are great.

                The kitchen was a touch slow, but that should improve.

                What? What about the food? Oh yeah.

                We ordered fish and chips, pastie and chips, bangers, shepherd's pie, and a side of gravy. (That's like half the menu.) Simple, inexpensive, filling, goes great with beer. It's a chipper, not high-end dining. (There's not a free-standing vegetable to be found, IIRC.)

                There were a few kinks that need to be worked out: salt and temperature.

                The fish was a nice size piece of cod, fresh tasting. The fish was nicely cooked, the batter was light and crispy (I hate it when the batter's thick and doughy), but there was some residual oiliness to the fish. (Turning the temperature up a notch would probably fix that.) Was it really cooked in beef tallow? The oil did seem to have a bit more assertive taste, but nothing objectionable. Our serving could have used a touch of salt beforehand, but that's obviously correctable at the table. They forgot the tartar sauce with our order, but we didn't want any. They have white vinegar instead of the more common malt vinegar.

                The chips were peeled and hand-cut "steak fries" style. Someone had a spot-on hand with the flaky salt. A mix from the slightly firm to the crispy. Personally, I like that little range to the fries. The gravy was for dipping fries, of course. Lumpy, thick, good for coating a fry. Tasted rather like a thickened store-bought stock, but hey, it's for dipping the chips! I wouldn't complain here that the ketchup tasted store-bought, so I'm not complaining about the gravy.

                The pastie is not like the baked doughy things I usually get. This was more of a mashed potato/ground meat (pork?)/couple of vegetables, then battered and deep fried. This one was relatively small. The main problem here was that the filling was far too salty. Good thing the beer's at a nice price, I think I killed a pint over the piece of pastie. Tasty but salty.

                The banger was good -- the kids liked it more than I did. Again, battered and deep fried! It had too much mace I think for my personal taste. Here there was another temperature issue -- the banger was still cool in the middle. (I didn't catch the cooking method. I would have the sausages preheated, then batter and fry to finish. We were there soon after opening, so maybe they were hotter later in the evening.)

                Finally, the shepherd's pie. Tasty ground beef with a few token carrots, peas, and potatoes. I'd have expected a wetter stew, but it was fairly dry, meaty and flavorful, and not greasy. I can't say that I really noticed the mashed potato topping. I do know that they were more potato-y than creamy/buttery. I do prefer the potatoes slightly browned, and I'll know to ask next time. This dish came out fairly warm, but not hot.

                In brief, a few forgivable problems, so we'll be back, and expect to see the minor improvements that will turn this into a regular stop, especially on those cold winter nights.

                -----
                The Anchor Fish and Chips
                302 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

                4 Replies
                1. re: Geo in MSP
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                  faith RE: Geo in MSP Oct 2, 2009 08:52 PM

                  GEo- thanks for the detailed review. I don't think they have tartar sauce on the menu...

                  1. re: faith
                    g
                    Geo in MSP RE: faith Oct 3, 2009 09:38 PM

                    nope, didn't see tartar sauce on the menu, but the table next to ours got some. (the kids were devouring the fish without, but it's definitely in the kitchen, perhaps for the asking.)

                  2. re: Geo in MSP
                    EarlOfSandwich RE: Geo in MSP Oct 2, 2009 11:05 PM

                    Thanks for the review! We arrived at 5:45 and the queue was already out the door and the wife and kid were not going to wait, so we went to Pak Zam Zam. Looking forward to trying The Anchor. With 652 Facebook fans waiting several weeks for word of opening, I was not surpised that they were immediately slammed.

                    1. re: EarlOfSandwich
                      g
                      Geo in MSP RE: EarlOfSandwich Oct 3, 2009 09:43 PM

                      We got there at around 4:15, and got the last open table. I'm hoping that the kitchen speeds up just a bit to help move the crowd along.

                      But fortunately, we have a life where we can get there regularly at 4:15.

                  3. s
                    skoalvikings RE: EarlOfSandwich Oct 7, 2009 11:15 AM

                    Thanks for the info looking forward to checking it out. Sounds pretty good.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: skoalvikings
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                      faith RE: skoalvikings Oct 7, 2009 03:16 PM

                      I heard there was a group that did a kind of chowdown at Anchor the other night. Any reports?

                      1. re: faith
                        j
                        justalex RE: faith Oct 7, 2009 06:51 PM

                        http://tcfoodies.ning.com/profiles/bl...

                        I really want to get to this place. Fish and chips sounds soooo good.

                        1. re: justalex
                          jfood RE: justalex Oct 8, 2009 04:22 AM

                          Nice pictures...

                          Jfood's favorites are the half eaten pudding with the guy hiding a handful of fries in the background and the vegan beware.

                    2. Foureyes137 RE: EarlOfSandwich Oct 8, 2009 09:24 AM

                      Wife and I went last night.

                      Chips were outstanding (you can definitely taste that these were cooked in beef tallow as they are DELICIOUS and meaty tasting). Fresh, not too salty, twice fried.

                      The fish was also quite good, though under-seasoned. I don't know if this is the result of my over-salted palate or under-salted food. Either way, the fish was perfectly cooked. The batter was light and very crispy with a thick hunk of well-cooked cod beneath.

                      Guinness was very cold (if only they had Extra Cold) and perfectly poured.

                      The banger was good, though it has a bit too much either caraway or nutmeg or some other spice that overpowered the flavor, though it was still very good, just one-dimensional.

                      Service was terrific. Attentive; as I got down to the last 1/4 of my beer, she asked if she could start a new one for me (since they pour it correctly, it takes a little time). Loved that.

                      My only wish is that they would ditch the traditional Irish white distilled vinegar for malt vinegar. I know it's English, I know that's a no-no, but smelling white vinegar when I eat simply reminds me of cleaning windows. It is too mild to really season the way malt does. We asked if this would be standard, and it is traditionally, so I believe it will stay. So if you like malt vinegar like we do, you may want to bring your own.

                      This place is in our neighborhood and open late, so I see additional visits in our future. Worth a try!

                      -----
                      The Anchor Fish and Chips
                      302 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

                      1. s
                        stymie RE: EarlOfSandwich Oct 8, 2009 09:53 PM

                        The Funniest thing I've ever read on CH was the comment that the white vinegar reminds you of washing windows, wow, powerful and vivid deja vu. Tarter sauce is available as is lemon. Restrooms are where they should be, but unmarked and non-denominational.
                        It is also a time-warp out of Minnesota kind of place; I've lived here 36 years, dined all over and never had this sense before. Told my chef son he'd love it and it's the kind of place we'd take his chef-uncle if he visits. Fish was great. I actually saw them cook a burger while sitting there. Thurs. night at 9pm and folks were waiting for a table. I sat immediately at the "bar". I agree that a good slaw or salad needs to be on the menu.

                        1. z
                          zzDan RE: EarlOfSandwich Oct 8, 2009 10:55 PM

                          http://heavytable.com/the-anchor-fish...

                          Place gets a good review
                          I would love to open up a fish and chips and do it right
                          How hard can it be to do right if these guys can do it far away from any ocean

                          1. b
                            BigE RE: EarlOfSandwich Jan 14, 2010 07:31 AM

                            I made my way to the Anchor last night. Walked through the door a little after 9pm to find a full house. Three people in front of me with two groups just about to leave. I was given a seat at the bar 5-10 minutes after I arrived. Since it was my first visit, I ordered the fish and chips and a grain belt (to make it more like a Minnesota fish fry) :)

                            Food arrived in maybe 15 minutes. Since the fish was still steaming hot, I tried one of the chips first. Nice and thick, great flavor, perfect seasoning. The chips were great, although a few ended up being a bit on the soggy side. No serious problem there. Next was a chunk of fish. The first thing I noticed was the batter. Nice flavor, crispy and light. I will echo the previous calls for more salt, but otherwise this was a good piece of fish. Mild flavored, but still good.

                            It's no wonder this place is as successful as it is. In the future, I might opt for take away to avoid the probable wait for a table. Perhaps take away and a short drive to the river when the weather gets nice. I will certainly be back.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: BigE
                              s
                              soupkitten RE: BigE Jan 14, 2010 07:56 AM

                              thanks for bumping the thread. had the fish & chips at anchor a couple of weeks ago, and it was really good, but i found myself coveting the grass-fed burgers the neighboring table had ordered! they really looked great. i would do these as a takeaway sometime soon, too. apparently the key to actually getting a table is going early like at 5 or late, at 10 pm-- otherwise it's very hard to get in. i think the neighborhood was really crying out for a place like this little restaurant.

                              1. re: soupkitten
                                b
                                BigE RE: soupkitten Jan 14, 2010 01:22 PM

                                The later time seems to be true. By the time I left (~9:45), about half the tables were open.

                                Agreed about the burgers too. It might have been because my seat at the bar had me staring straight at the griddle, but the burgers looked mighty fine. I watched the chef make 3 'Helicopter burgers' (Irish cheddar, ham and fried egg) and they looked like a big mound of heart stopping goodness.

                                1. re: BigE
                                  d
                                  diearzte2 RE: BigE Jan 14, 2010 08:27 PM

                                  I went with a group of friends last week. Arrived at about 4:45 and managed to get the last available booth, there was a crowd waiting the entire time after we arrived.

                                  To clarify, since I didn't see it above, they put tartar sauce on the menu, it costs 50 cents and you need to ask for it since it doesn't come with the fish. I had the fish, was good as people have said above so I won't expand.

                                  A friend of mine ordered the helicopter burger, which arrived perfectly medium-rare as ordered. I tried some of it, and it was definitely among the best burgers I've had in Minneapolis. The ham and egg kind of overpowered the sandwich, but I am kind of a burger purist. I would definitely order the regular burger though!

                                  Also, they serve something with a curry ketchup, which we asked about before the meal and the server happily brought us out a sample. Was good with fries, served warm.

                            2. a
                              alpa chino RE: EarlOfSandwich Aug 21, 2010 09:09 AM

                              I ordered some fish n chips to go from this place. Not bad at all. The fish was great, crispy--not sure exactly what it was. Most likely cod. And the chips (fries) were good too. They wrap it up in a thick paper, authentic UK style. I also ordered the curry chips which were basically fries drenched in a thick curry sauce. It was interesting, I liked it. I went there on a friday night and the wait times were up to 1 hour. It seems like a popular place.

                              The odd thing about this place was that I assumed that all the customers were european. I read about the owners being from the UK and then I heard a bartender speaking with an accent. So I assumed the clientele was european also. Ahh, my young impressionable mind.

                              14 Replies
                              1. re: alpa chino
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                                faith RE: alpa chino Aug 21, 2010 12:29 PM

                                alpa, you kind of hit the nail on the head with my feeling about this place, 'the fish was great, crispy- not sure exactly what it was' .... I think it is cod, and I have to say I wish more flavorful fish was used for this....seems like the crispy outside is the main event, and the fish is so bland, what's the point, other than a deep fry rush? Maybe this is traditional fish and chips but I guess I don't love it...how about salmon or mahi? Guess I'm a foodie no matter what...

                                1. re: faith
                                  k
                                  KTFoley RE: faith Aug 21, 2010 01:02 PM

                                  The aim of the establishment is a traditional Irish pub.

                                  The fish is the traditional cod.

                                  1. re: KTFoley
                                    g
                                    green56 RE: KTFoley Aug 22, 2010 02:49 PM

                                    Traditional is plaice. Beats cod about five times over.

                                    Doubt any of us will live to see tradition UK fish and chips here in MN. Until then, I guess cod will have to do. (sigh)

                                    1. re: green56
                                      k
                                      KTFoley RE: green56 Aug 22, 2010 06:20 PM

                                      Can't argue with that -- simply repeating upthread answers to the recent posts' sentiments of "what is this bland fish" and "why no salmon or mahi mahi."

                                      Can't help you with it either -- I throw money in a jar whenever tempted to sigh for faraway foods. Putting it towards a plane ticket is my one concrete answer the address-it-or-accept-it-but-either-way-quit-complaining-about-it riot act that I have to read myself periodically.

                                      1. re: KTFoley
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                                        faith RE: KTFoley Aug 22, 2010 06:23 PM

                                        sounds like cod is NOT the traditional fish, what does plaice taste like?

                                        1. re: faith
                                          k
                                          KTFoley RE: faith Aug 22, 2010 08:45 PM

                                          Plaice is a flatfish like flounder, halibut, turbot or sole. It is a white, mild fish. If blandness is an issue, your opinion of batter-fried sole will guide your preferences for using European plaice in fish & chips.

                                          1. re: faith
                                            Foureyes137 RE: faith Aug 24, 2010 08:28 AM

                                            Plaice is traditional but cod is traditional as well, as is haddock. Something tells me cod may be more traditional in Ireland since cod is pretty darn cheap by weight (same reason white vinegar is traditional in Ireland, being less expensive than malt.)

                                            We had plaice at St John last time we were in London and we've seen it on menus in the US as well (I also feel like I've had it at Alma). Great texture...but as far as flavor goes; it is mild like flounder...or cod...or haddock.

                                            1. re: faith
                                              g
                                              green56 RE: faith Aug 26, 2010 07:29 AM

                                              Faith, I am sorry for this innane answer, but it's the best I can do: it tastes 'different.' It tastes like plaice. No fishy or cod taste. Also the texture is soft and moist, not hard or dry. It is just delicious and once you have it, cod and that ilk just won't cut it.

                                              Too, there is probably something they do different across The Pond batter-wise that also contributes to the deliciousness.

                                              I don't mean to be a doufus-bobo head, I just can't put the flavor in words. It's like being asked what asperagus tastes like. "Asperagus."

                                              1. re: green56
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                                                faith RE: green56 Aug 26, 2010 02:17 PM

                                                THanks green and everyone for trying to answer my question on plaice. It is a difficult thing really to describe the taste of a fish , I know...this is helpful,and just knowing there is an alternative to cod makes me happy.

                                            2. re: KTFoley
                                              g
                                              green56 RE: KTFoley Aug 26, 2010 07:41 AM

                                              KT, It was just a little whiney commentary. Doubt I'll ever see England again. I deal with Mac's and do pretty good. Good stuff, really good stuff, for here. I just make sure I use imported malt vinegar and it works...

                                              Though do find myself pining for "the real deal." LOL! I know I always will.

                                        2. re: faith
                                          ibew292 RE: faith Aug 21, 2010 02:29 PM

                                          I've never had Fish and Chips in Ireland but in England the cod seemed to be thinner like a fillet. The fish I had a Anchor was chunks. Is it always like that? I prefer more of a fillet.

                                          1. re: ibew292
                                            a
                                            alpa chino RE: ibew292 Aug 21, 2010 02:49 PM

                                            It's a long 10 inch fillet. I didn't see any chunks being served there.

                                          2. re: faith
                                            a
                                            alpa chino RE: faith Aug 21, 2010 02:48 PM

                                            Yes, the fish was a little bland. Probably poor batter or they're prohibited from using salt. It needed some salt. Doesn't matter for me because I eat half my fish with the tartar sauce (their's wasn't too bad), and the other half with mild LA hot sauce.

                                            But batter fried fish is only one side of the fish-frying world. Another is the indian style, smothered in every spice imaginable to earth, fish fry. Not bad if you like spicy. Google kerala fish fry.

                                            1. re: alpa chino
                                              f
                                              faith RE: alpa chino Aug 21, 2010 09:04 PM

                                              so the Indian style doesn't have a batter? just spices? I love the achiote rub they put on the Mahi at Sirena Gorda for their tacos. More sauteed than fried I'd say. How about tempura for fish fry? it would be a more delicate coating...

                                        3. katebauer RE: EarlOfSandwich Sep 10, 2010 07:22 AM

                                          We finally made it to Anchor Fish and Chips last night and our general impression was "eh." When we first arrived we were happily greeted and seated quickly. The waitress took a while to come over to take our drink order, but did apologize. Throughout the meal I noticed people around me were a little annoyed at the slow service. We ordered the fish and chips and a cheeseburger which we planned to share between us, and curry sauce on the side. The waitress offered tartar sauce for an additional price (I can't remember - $.50?) which we accepted. That seemed pretty silly though, why not just up the price of the meal by $.50 and not seem like you're nickel and dime-ing people? The food came out after a bit longer wait than I'd expect. Our initial impression was that the chips were unbelievably soggy and unappealing (this is with the curry sauce on the side, not on them). They just looked limp and greasy sitting in the baskets. The taste of them didn't do anything to improve our impression. I then started on the cheeseburger, which was quite good although on the rarer side of medium rare. I was fine with it, but another may object. It was also quite juicy which was nice in terms of taste, but the running juices combined with the grease of the fries made the meal very messy. I had accepted the offer of lettuce, tomato, and onions to put on the burger, but the lettuce leaf was so huge and onions cut so thick that I had to do a little arranging of them to not have the burger taste only like lettuce and onion. Overall a good burger, but not up to the Nook (or insert your favorite burger place here). I then got to taste the fish. Extremely nice and crispy crust. The fish was a little bland, but I didn't mind it, successful dish IMO. I will say though, the best part of the meal was the curry sauce. I wouldn't have even touched those chips if I didn't need them to dip into the curry sauce. My husband commented that he would like to bring just the curry sauce home.

                                          Bottom line is that the fish is good, the curry sauce is great, but especially in light of the greasy fries I'm not sure there's enough to motivate me to go back. However that's also said in the context that I've been trying to eat healthier lately, so a restaurant that has really limited non-fried options just isn't a priority for me.

                                          -----
                                          The Anchor Fish and Chips
                                          302 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

                                          1. jfood RE: EarlOfSandwich Sep 30, 2010 06:30 PM

                                            jfood went this evening to Anchor and does not undersand all the hubbub. Although the fish was cooked perfectly, no matter what jfood did, he could not get any flavor out of the fish, and the coating was blander than bland. The fries were slightly undercooked as well. As nice as the servers were, jfood does not see a return visit. he just does not get it.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: jfood
                                              b
                                              BigE RE: jfood Oct 1, 2010 06:42 AM

                                              Not too surprised by this review.

                                              I brought a friend to the Anchor two nights ago...I got the shepherd's pie, he had the helicopter burger (which is heavenly and worth a return trip). We both enjoyed our meals, though I would argue his was a life changing experience. He even called me last night to tell me he was still thinking about the burger.

                                              As we were talking, he said maybe next time he'd get the fish. He asked me how it was and all I could say was...mild. He said, 'Oh, pretty flavorful batter then?' to which I replied, 'Well, not really'. Maybe that is the normal preparation, but I would wholeheartedly agree that the fish could use a little something extra.

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