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Restaurants & Bars 6

PDX: Alberta Street Fish & Chips (and Ice Cream !)

sprout | Apr 27, 200501:36 AM

Last week I stopped in at The Original Halibut's Fish/Chips and Chowder at 25th and Alberta. I'd been watching this place for weeks since they first put up a sign. I'm always excited to have new places within walking distance.

The place is small and very informal. They don't have free water; you have to buy a bottle. The tables sort of remind me of a school cafeteria, but not in a bad way. There are a couple of outdoor tables with umbrellas. The kitchen is wide open and takes up most of the restaurant.

Their menus is short and simple. Four types of fish and chips with a half-order option for $2 less. Alaskan Halibut is $10, Alaskan Salmon is $9, Southern Catfish and Alaskan True Cod are each $8. They have chowder by the bowl ($4.75) or tureen ($17). Coleslaw, corn on cob, and Chicken for Children.

We got a bowl of chowder and an order of halibut. The bowl of chowder was one of those white paper take-out things. The perfect amount of chowder for me. When it was being spooned out, it looked scarily thick and it was a bit thicker than I prefer, but pretty tasty. Nice hint of bacony flavor, very large clams and potatoes. Not as good as Blackfish in Lincoln City, but pretty good. Be forewarned that they do that pat o' butter on the top nonsense. Is that an Oregon thing? I've never seen that elsewhere in the country. If the chowder doesn't have enough butter in it, make it right the next time. I feel that it should at least be up to the diner to decide to add it.

The fish and chips was less successful. It was a pretty good amount of food for the price, or would have been had it been cooked correctly. Four medium-sized pieces of halibut on top of a giant pile of fries. The fries were tasty... nicely seasoned with a nice range from crunchy to soft. I like when there is fry variety. The halibut was horribly overcooked, though. Fish jerky, almost. Which was sad, because the batter was fantastic. Light and crunchy and salty and just about perfect. It made me sad to see them knocking out the extra batter from the bottom of the fry baskets. I would love a big plate of just crispy batter bits.

Anyway, I will definitely give this place another try in a few weeks or so. But another batch of overcooked fish and I will probably stick to the chowder. If you're only doing two things, you should do them right!

In other Alberta news, I stopped in at the... Coffee and Cream? That ice cream shop on Alberta at 28th or so. Somewhere around Bernie's, but across the street. I had gone there a few years ago when it was under different management and was underwhelmed. Bad service, gross place, ice cream I could get at the store. The place is still kind of gross, but the people are nicer, they have fresh donuts, and most important is that they have peppermint stick ice cream! And hot fudge! And not just at Christmas!

I wasn't able to get a sundae then because I had just had a piece of Half & Half's cherry pie from a coffee shop down the street (I will never again settle for the crappy pie at Star E Rose, which tastes as though it's been sitting in the fridge for a month next to a bowl of onions). But I will definitely be stopping by in the next week or so to try out a hot fudge sundae with peppermint stick ice cream. They do not make their own ice cream, it didn't have a nice ice cream shop atmosphere, and I doubt they'd know what jimmies are, but at least they've got my flavor. :)

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