Ahoy, Matey!

    From the crispiest fillet to best perch-for-the-price, five Grand Rapids pubs that serve a solid fish ’n’ chips meal
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    Fish 'n' chips dinner, courtesy of Graydon's Crossing.

    One thing I learned from living in England is that fish ‘n’ chips is a dish traditionally meant to be consumed while standing outside in the pouring rain. The other thing was that the best fish ‘n’ chips come from little hole-in-the-wall “take-away” shops and are handed to you wrapped in newspaper or a paper bag (with a side of mushy peas).

    The spoiled American in me says “bollocks” to all that (especially the mushy peas). I want to enjoy fish ‘n’ chips in the warmth of a corner pub.

    One thing the Brits do get right about fish ‘n’ chips is the crispy consistency of the outer layer. It acts as a shell, keeping the fish encased inside piping hot. One more thing they knock out of the park is – being that it’s an island – the place is teeming with the freshest fish. The result is that this traditional British dish, when prepared correctly, won’t taste the least bit fishy. Funnily enough, that’s exactly what I want from my fish ‘n’ chips. Coming in at number one is…

    Graydon’s Crossing

    What you’ll get: A few large stiff pieces of what appeared to be Panko crusted cod that make a heavenly “crunch” sound when you bite into them, and a generous amount of addictive fries. Five Stars. / $20

    The runners up (and in no particular order):

    Broadway Bar

    As a place known for its delcious double decker Broadway Burger and Christmas lights, perhaps unfairly of me, I didn’t expect the cooks here would also bring their A-game to the fish ‘n’ chips arena.

    (Inside info from the bartender: Broadway sources two types of fish. You’ll want the cod.

    What you’ll get:
    Two extra-long, stiff- as-a-board strips of cod. Ok, maybe not “board,” but the kid me wanted to start a sword fight with these oblong wonders. On guard! / $15

    Elbow Room

    This is one of my favorite go-tos for lunch hour meetings with people who don’t want to spend time driving into the city and hunting for parking. Its fresh-off-the-freeway access and parking pairs nicely with its best-priced perch basket in town. What you’ll get:

    Several pieces of what is generally not too crispy (but tasty enough to return for) fish and waffle fries or slaw. You choose! / $14

    The Winchester

    The Winchester recently changed up their fish ‘n’ chips game. The waiter informed me that the fish they use is no longer cod, but haddock. Hmmm…Haddock Place. I like it!

    What you’ll get:

    Two generous chunks of fish and a plethora of fries so tasty you might want to chill on eating so many of them while waiting for the fish to cool. The haddock was flavorful, non-fishy, but wasn’t overtly crisp. Delicious, though. Would definitely order again. / $17

    Hancock

    Hancock’s fish is not your traditional English pub- style fish ‘n’ chips, more like the kind of fresh-off- the-dock fare I remember from my Northern Michigan youth; not crispy like the U.K. kind, but still oh-so- good! What you’ll get:

    A basketful of delectable little morsels of perch that are dusted with Creole seasoning (or not). They come with crinkle cut fries, or you can get something entirely different: baked beans, pimento mac ‘n’ cheese, pickles, slaw, mashed potatoes or a biscuit. These, I recommend eating outside in their awesome outdoor picnic area…in the summer, of course. /$14

    Which local restaurant do you think serves the best fish ‘n’ chips?
    Let us know at hello@grmag.com

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