Until last week, I had no idea how much I needed a reliable source of fried fish. But now that I’ve found Terrace Fish & Chips, there’s no unknowing what I now know: I need this stuff, and I need it often.
To tell you the truth, I have no idea how I found out about this place. I keep a list of restaurants to look into, and Terrace sort of just showed up on it. I know I must’ve added it, but I don’t even remember having heard of it. There it was, though, begging me to call and ask a bunch of repetitive questions. So I did.
The man who answered the phone assured me that there were no nuts or nut products involved in anything at Terrace—and why would there be? It’s a very straightforward place. They do fried seafood, grilled seafood, seafood salads, seafood burritos, seafood sandwiches, and seafood rice. That’s it, so it isn’t as if there’s much room for nuts. I was psyched.
The first time I went, I tried a bunch of different things (all of which I’ve ordered many times since): the fried fish, the crab sticks, the calamari, and, of course, the fries. The woman behind the counter switched around one of their (many, many) pre-set meals for me so that the above assortment would count as a combination meal (and thus cost a whole lot less), which was very nice of her—especially considering the fact that she could’ve just as easily told me to get over myself and either (a) settle for one of their six trillion pre-sets or (b) pay the menu price for all the shit I wanted, but she didn’t. She just asked what I wanted, found me a similar meal, and made the necessary substitutions. Small potatoes, but I appreciated it.
Service was quick, too. Within 5 minutes of placing my order, I was out the door—and on a bench around 20 feet away. (There are only like four chairs inside the restaurant, but there are plenty of public benches in a cute little square-like area outside, so the lack of seating doesn’t matter all that much.)
By the way, these “fish and chips” are not British-style (which is to say that they aren’t fish and chips at all). But if you go in with that in mind, everything’s still pretty good. At places like this, it’s all about your expectations, and if you walk into Terrace expecting a big heap of greasy, fried, American seafood, then you’re going to leave happy. (I know I did, at least.)
The fried fish (pictured at the top of this post, atop calamari and fries) is boring as hell, in the best possible way. It’s the sort of boring that comforts, and I must admit that I’m a fan. It’s a little fishy, a lot crispy, and a wee bit salty—and that’s all it takes to win me over, really. It comes in huge pieces, and it’s supremely satisfying, in that way only fried food can be. Swoon.
The calamari is a little bland, too, but it isn’t unpleasant. It’s neither too tough nor too mushy—and to my surprise, tartar sauce goes a long way in brightening up the flavor. (I’d really like it to come with lemon, but oh well. Meals come with ketchup, hot sauce, and tartar sauce. I hate ketchup almost as much as I hate hot sauce, and tartar sauce is pretty hit-or-miss with me, but I’ll make do.)
The crab sticks (pictured second above) actually aren’t bland; they’re sweet and chewy—not tough, but chewy—and when they’re fresh, they’re sickeningly delicious. (I’ve tried to eat them as leftovers, and all I can say is that I do not recommend you do the same. Ick.) Aesthetically, they always remind me of the Angry Whopper—I have no idea why, because they don’t look much alike—but I can assure you these things aren’t anywhere near as revolting as any of Burger King’s latest cries for attention. They’re good, and that’s all I really have to say.
Anyway: Terrace Fish & Chips isn’t the most exciting place to eat. Their food isn’t gourmet, nor is it particularly interesting, but it’s damn good at being what it is: an inexpensive fried seafood joint that seems to have erroneously slapped the phrase “fish & chips” on its awning. [Actually, their awning says “fish & chip,” singular, but their website (and most others) say “fish & chips.” It burns.]
Find it at 77 Pearl Street, not too far from Pier 11/Wall St.—you know, in case you were planning a trip to IKEA or something.