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Reader question: Where do you find good fish and chips in Tacoma?

Post by Sue Kidd / The News Tribune on Nov. 28, 2012 at 5:53 pm | No Comments »
November 28, 2012 5:57 pm
The battered cod at Northern Fish in Old Town was $7.95 for a two-piece with fries on my last visit.

Dear readers, I love your questions – even when I don’t have a particularly solid answer.  This question comes from Don Peterson, “Sue, where can we go for fish and chips – just like SPUDS – in Tacoma? Don’t like battered fish and not fond of frozen french fries, we like the fresh potatoes like SPUDS makes.”  Here’s my response to Peterson’s question. Want to chime  in? Go ahead.

The cod at Steamers is breaded, with skins-on fries on the side and coleslaw. This two-piece was $7.99 on my last visit.

I started a search for the city’s best fish and chips this summer and wound up at two fish stands with pretty water views (also the cheapest waterfront dining destinations in town). I thought that Steamers at Titlow Beach came close to what Peterson wants – cod that was breaded in a similar style as the fish served at Spuds on Alki – but the fries at Steamers tasted frozen. They had that stale, chewy texture fries get when they’ve been jailed in a freezer holding cell too long. Also, this was a problem for me – the coleslaw tasted limp. I think Northern Fish on Ruston Way had the fries Peterson likes – they were skins-on fries with a thinner cut, but the fish was battered, not breaded at Northern Fish (it’s decent fish if you like battered, though). Of the two, I think I’d pick the fish at Steamers and the fries at Northern Fish.  That’s sort of an inconvenient recommendation, though. Who wants to make two stops for one meal?

The fried fish at the Fish House Cafe wears a crisp jacket of southern cornmeal breading. File photo by Lui Kit Wong.

It’s been a few years, but I have reviewed a few fish stands that come close, but don’t fry up exactly what Peterson wants. Paya Fish and Chips at Freighthouse Square is a solid destination for fried fish, but the little fish stand served me battered halibut on my last visit – it was delicious, but it was not the breaded fish Peterson likes. The fries also were just average. At the Fish House Cafe in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood, the fish came jacketed with a crunchy cornmeal breading.  Their fried fish comes standard as catfish, although a counter worker once explained that cod could be requested. The fries at the Fish House were the crinkle cut frozen variety – pretty average.

READERS WEIGH IN: Can you help Peterson out? Just keep in mind he’s looking for a specific style of fish and chips. – breaded, not battered, with hand-cut fries made from fresh potatoes, not the kind out of a freezer bag. Chime in with your recommendations below. Thank you kindly.

Our pledge to readers: Sue Kidd dines anonymously and the News Tribune pays for all meals, even the lousy ones. Reach her on the interwebz or at 253-597-8270.

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