Tag Archives: fish and chips

A Salt & Battery

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After a few too many meals at Terrace Fish & Chips, I decided it was about time I find a chippy that actually sells, you know, fish and chips. Real fish and chips—not just fried fish and french fries. Terrace has its place (although I did write above-linked post in a fried-fish-deprived frenzy, and if I were to revise it, I’d probably take the praise therein down a notch or two), but I wanted better. So I went searching, and A Salt & Battery was what I found.

The reviews were great, the menu was promisingly simple, and the location was convenient enough—so I gave them a call, and sure enough, there are no nuts used in any of their food. Plus, their various British cashiers are exceedingly friendly, and they’re always willing to double-check on the answers to my incessant ingredient-related questions.

There are two catches, though. First, A Salt & Battery sells deep-fried Mars and Lion Bars. (The former may contain both peanuts and tree nuts, and the latter contains peanuts and may contain tree nuts.) The bars shouldn’t pose much of a risk for those with tree nut allergies, though, given that the rest of A Salt & Battery’s food (say, whatever might end up going through the same fryer, if that’s even something that happens) would only potentially contain trace amounts of the bars, which would themselves only contain trace amounts of nuts, if any at all. Plenty of degrees of removal—so I’m fine with the bars’ presence.

And then there’s the bread. A Salt & Battery offers a chip butty, a side of bread & butter, and a fish sandwich that are all made with—you guessed it—bread. And while I’ve never even really considered ordering any of the above, I figured I’d better at least ask about the bread. Turns out, the folks at A Salt & Battery don’t know much about it, other than the fact that it doesn’t explicitly contain any nuts. Evidently, they get it from “next door”—their cashiers are always going Next Door to double-check on the answers to my questions—but all they’ve been able to tell me is that the bread may come with a “may contain” warning. So I stick to the rest of the menu.

Onion rings from A Salt & Battery

Onto the place itself, though. A Salt & Battery is, in a word, authentic. Unmistakably so, with its traditional-style food, its wide array of British drinks, its accented cashiers (and customers), and its complete lack of hype-inducing frills. There are two counters and one small table: in all, about 8 seats. Wall decorations include a sign listing the rules of their food-eating challenge, a leaderboard for said food-eating challenge, two menu boards, and some framed (fish-and-chip-related) pictures. This place is simple, and its simplicity lends to its authenticity. My only gripe, really, is that the stools are way too short for the tables. (This isn’t even an issue of my being short—normal-heighted people are going to notice this one, too.)

But I should probably get to talking about food. I’ll start, I guess, by saying that it’s really, really good. In terms of fish (and shellfish), they offer six types: cod, haddock (pictured at the top of this post), sole, whiting, shrimp, and scallops. I love the haddock—it’s my favorite by far, for reasons I can’t quite articulate—but I eat a lot of the sole and the whiting, too. The cod’s fine, but I’m not much of a fan of cod, and I’m not really one for deep-fried shrimp or scallops, so I can’t say much about those. But in general, the fried fish is undeniably solid. The batter’s light and crispy, and the fish itself is flavorful and pleasantly flaky. It’s all fried to order, and the portions are pretty big, too.

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By the way, their homemade tartar sauce (immediately above) is so, so good. It’s nice and tangy, and it complements the fish (and the chips!) perfectly. Usually, I’m into malt vinegar (which they have, no doubt)—but at A Salt and Battery, a shake of salt and a dab of tartar sauce are all I need to thoroughly enjoy me some fried fish. Well, that and some sides, of which they have plenty: chips, onion rings, gravy, pickled onions, deep-fried beets, potato dabs, mushy peas, baked beans, curry sauce, and bread with butter.

Since this is, after all, a post about a fish-and-chip shop, I suppose I’ll have to spend some time talking about chips. But I have a confession: I’m not a chip person. I like my deep-fried potatoes thin-cut—as thin-cut as possible, really—so chips just don’t do it for me. Having said that…I actually sort of like A Salt & Battery’s. They don’t bother me, at least, and that’s saying something. (Also, even for $5, the portion is huge. Way more than enough for one person, and definitely enough for two to share.)

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I like to drench my chips with A Salt & Battery’s gravy (see immediately above), which is good, if not incredibly flavorful—and I like to break up bites of grease with surprisingly refreshing nibbles of their super-vinegary pickled onions. I stay away from the onion rings (pictured second above)—they’re way too bland—and I’m not much of a mushy-peas fan, but whaddaya gonna do? These fish and chips alone make for a pretty hefty meal, so while I, forever indecisive, always tell myself I can order more sides at the end of my meal if I end up unsatisfied, I’ve never ended a meal at A Salt & Battery with even the slightest bit of room left in my stomach.

Obviously, I’m a fan of this place—and obviously, I recommend it. Find it at 112 Greenwich Avenue, between 12th and 13th Streets.

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Terrace Fish & Chips

Fried fish, calamari, and fries from Terrace Fish & Chip

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.)

Fried crab sticks from Terrace Fish & Chip

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.

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