There are many food topics on this board which I do not feel qualified to comment on, having had little previous experience with these varietals: interior Mexican dining, for example. However, being a Brit, I do feel eminently qualified to speak on the subject of fish and chips - the UKs number two consumed food, curry being number one these days.
When I first arrived in Austin during the latter years of the last century, fish and chips were scarce on the ground. With the exception of the Dog and Duck, you really couldn't find them anywhere. Today, it seems like I can't walk into a place that serves a piece of blackened catfish without them including fish and chips on the menu. Since I've never really had a proper fish and chips in Austin, I thought this thread ought to start at the bottom and work it's way up, if the moderators will so humor me.
My previous all-time Worst Fish and Chips in Austin was an honor held by the now defunct Capitol Brasserie, following an offering so hellaciously inedible that I never went back, even to eat anything else. Today, however, I had occasion to dine at Fish City Grill - their Brodie Oaks location - and Ithink, folks, that we have a new winner.
Let me start by telling you what I think fish and chips ought to look and taste like. The chips should be large, steak fry-style, well-cooked but not burned, so that when you douse them liberally in malt vinegar they go slightly soggy but you can still pick them up. The fish should be fresh - usually cod - and cooked in batter such that when picked up, the piece of fish in question does not wilt, but still 'melts in the mouth'.
Now, let us move on to fish and chips as defined by Fish City Grill. This was one of their daily specials, too. Special, indeed. First, the "chips". In this case they were grid-style fries of some sort, which looked and tasted like they had been accidentally left in the fat fryer while the chef ran an errand or cooked someone else's lunch. Tough, chewy, and inedible. I could not say the same for the fish. It looked like it had been waved, as a token gesture, somewhere near the fat fryer, and then dropped onto my plate. Attempts to pick it up were fruitless - it disintegrated on impact. Thoroughly tasteless, too. Also on the plate were sides of cole slaw and tartar sauce which both tasted identically - of nothing at all. Maybe I should have mixed them together.
I left this fine establishment with a sour feeling in my stomach, and the desire to inform fellow Hounds of the newest holder of the Worst Fish and Chips in Austin award.
Anyone have any ideas where I should head next?