When Mr. Strangeways and I have meetings to discuss all the deeply important matters around the dull, business end of SeattleGayScene.com, we frequently start the meeting with “Did you eat?” Usually because we’ve both done the dietarily irresponsible thing and have worked for 9 hours straight on something, and have forgotten to eat all day. We tend to find our way to Rancho Bravo because it’s reliably fast, fresh and tasty – not to mention VERY affordable.
But the other night, as we were meeting to discuss the latest phase of our world domination plan (hint: it involves everyone getting a pony!) Mr. Strangeways remembered that a new place had opened on Broadway called Five Fish. I was reluctant when I heard the name – I had visions of refined culinaria, white linen tablecloths and the latest fusion cuisine that adopts a clever, all too chic name like Spoon, or worse, Spün, which, pretty predictably, would suck.
“No, no!” He assured me, “I think it’s a fish & chips place.”
For years, when I lived in Chicago, Fish & Chips from the adorable Irish Pub two blocks from my apartment was a staple of my diet. Malt vinegar and Guinness were no small part of my circulatory system. Alas, when I moved here to Seattle, I was disappointed to find very little in the way of Chip Shops that were in walking distance – they all seemed to be relegated to the tourist cores of the city, where within walking distance there were only a handful of eateries and they were all obnoxious. Frankly, FIVE FISH is a refreshing change of pace for the restaurant offerings on Broadway – after all, how many more Thai places do we really need?
FIVE FISH is the creation of Garnet Pitre – no stranger to the restaurant world. Hers is a much less grease ridden, gut bomb interpretation of the standard Fish & Chip shop – more akin to what I recall of pub-style fish ‘n chips. Light, crunchy, salty… and goes great with beer. As the name suggests, they feature five fresh fish daily, as well as vegetarian options. No, seriously!
We both ordered the special – the “Captain’s Platter” – a respectably-sized serving of fried cod, salmon and prawns with very well made chips – perfect crunch, light inside. And at only around $12, a really decent price. Now, I’ve been perplexed for a while to see battered and fried salmon (I assume that’s a Pacific Northwest thing) on restaurant menus – not that I object, mind you – it’s perfectly tasty. But it seems that the native flavor of salmon somehow gets lost when it’s covered in batter and deep fried. Which is why cod works so well, because it doesn’t have much indigenous flavor. That said, FIVE FISH did it right – no heavily seasoned breading, and a tempura style batter that doesn’t make it into a dead weight sitting on your stomach. The real test, as far as I’m concerned, though, is catfish. I’ll be back to investigate that this weekend.
Now, crusted bacon dropped into a deep fryer isn’t a new concept. Twilight Exit has done their Chicken Fried Bacon with sawmill gravy for quite a while now (and done it well, I might add). But FIVE FISH somehow takes a lighter interpretation with their airy tempura batter, and serves it with a barbecue sauce that neither Mr. Strangeways nor I particularly were keen on. Perhaps it was too sweet and jammy for the lightweight tempura. But it was mighty tasty even without. It’s battered and fried bacon! What could go wrong?
FIVE FISH is worth checking out. There are even gluten-free options, if you’re in to that sort of thing. They’re closed on Monday, but open until 9 Sunday through Thursday and until 10 on Friday and Saturday.