Gambling on Fish and Chips: Pick a Cod, Any Cod
Like bangers and mash or bubble & squeak, fish and chips is the kind of perfect pairing you'll find at any decent English pub. It's also the only way most parents can get their kids to eat fish -- because everything is better when battered and fried.
For this week's battle, we pitted the fish & chips at a local bar known for their beer batter against a similar offering at a quirky English pub slash takeout joint. Will the Americans best the Brits in a battle of fish & chips? We'll see.
In One Corner: The Codfather
1618 E. Bell Rd. in Phoenix
Can you refuse this plate of fish and chips?
With a name like The Codfather, we weren't sure whether to take this little fish & chips shop in North Phoenix seriously. But word on the street (and on the 'net) has it they make a tasty version you just can't refuse. So we plodded up to the little shop tucked in the corner of a strip mall on Bell Rd. One half of The Codfather is a typical takeout joint, with a light-up picture menu above the ordering counter and standard wooden slat booths like those found at Kyoto bowl.
Fancy a game?
The Codfather offers other Brit favorites such as bangers & mash and Scotch eggs, but they specialize in fish & chips, offered in small and large sizes with a variety of fish. At about $6 for a small order and $8-9 for a larger one, it's a pretty good deal.
My dining buddy of the day and I opted for the mahi-mahi and chips, a lighter alternative to the traditional cod. A few minutes later, a heaping plate of skin-on fries and several large crispy pieces of fish arrived on our table with a side of tartar sauce. At first whiff, there was no hint of fishiness. Always a good sign.
Have a drink with The Codfather.
I voted for greasy. Though the fish was indeed buttery, The Codfather's version had that finger-lickin' greasiness I associate with fast-food joints. Not a dealbreaker, especially for an order-at-the-counter place, but disappointing. The chips were less greasy, with a slight crispness. They needed more salt, but were otherwise palatable.
The flavor of the fish was good -- mild but slightly fishy, with a delicate sweetness to the thick, soppy breading that contrasted well with both the traditional malt vinegar and tangy tartar sauce. My breading slid off the fish in a few places, a sure sign the oils in the fish were getting out of hand. I can just imagine what it would've been like had I ordered the oilier sea bass. Eek!