If I had to choose between the $5 fish and chips at Frisco Fish in North Beach or the $16 fish and chips at Sea Salt ... with taste as the only consideration, I'd choose the five-buck Frisco fish.
They are both good however.
Charlie T posted about the new Frisco Fish & Chips on Green Street next to Golden Boy. He also said he was much happier with the fish at Frisco than at Sea Salt.
I tried Frisco Saturday (link below). It seemed like a good opportunity to finally try those fish and chips at Sea Salt for comparison sake.
I had a better experience at Sea Salt than Charlie did. The fish was stellar fresh and perfectly cooked. The breading light and not at all greasy or oily. If it is, as reported, corn meal, it didn't have a strong cornmeal taste. I don't like cornmeal so that would have been a minus. The breading complemented the fish and didn't call attention to itself.
The thick cut potatoes were nicely fried and flavorful. There was Sea Salt's slaw and some sourdough bread with butter.
What I didn't like were the condiments. The malt vinegar lemon aioli was inedible for me. I didn't even want to use it to dip the fries.
There are times I like the flavored castup, but this wasn't one of those times. With delicate fish, the heat in the catsup was a distraction. There was also a bottle of malt vinegar and a bottle of hot sauce.
Those Lalime people have excellent hot sauce at all of the restuarnts and this was no exception. BUT, again, it was too powerful for fish and chips, especially these where the delicate flavor gets lost. The fish is too high quality to mask it with hot sauce.
Fish portions were fine. Since I only had the one piece dinner at Frisco, my actual cost for a portion size equal to Sea Salt would have been the $7 basket.
Did I feel the money mis-spent at Sea Salt. Of course not, I'm in a beautifully decorated restaurant with top-quality ingrediants that was skillfully and perfectly prepared. Intead of placing an order and fetching it when my order was called, I had excellent table service.
It is just that the traditional tartar sauce, Heinz catsup and plain fish and chips with a touch of oil was more, well, what fish and chips is all about. I really liked that batter too.
If I was cravng fish and chips, I'd go to Frisco. There are just so many better dishes at Sea Salt and I'd be more likely to order those.
Sometimes it isn't about the quality or ambiance or even price.