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August 9, 2008

Finding the best fish and chips

FishandChips.jpgDave in Perry Hall has suggested a blog item on the best fish and chips in the area.

I don't have much to offer because that's more in the LIVE reviewer's bailiwick. I did have a glorified version at Victoria's Gastropub in Columbia, but when you make them with sea bass stuffed with lump crab, I'm not sure it counts.

Richard hasn't been on the job reviewing for LIVE long enough yet to bother him with this request (although I hope if he reads this and has any suggestions, he'll share).

I looked up his predecessor Karen's old reviews in the archives, and the last time she recommended fish and chips was in '07. when she reviewed the Life of Reilly in Butchers Hill.

I guess it's up to you to help Dave out.

(Linda Coan/Sun photographer) 

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 5:37 AM | | Comments (39)


Ryan's Daughter's isn't bad (I'm biased since I was introduced to the dish in England).

DH Is fond of the fish and chips at Nick's Fish House.

For the suburban types, they do a nice job with fish & chips at Red Brick Station in the Avenue at White Marsh. It goes well with their house-made beer!

The fish and chips at the Midtown Yacht Club are...ok.

If you get up to Gettysburg, try the F&C at Appalachian Brewing Company, they're good and like Red Brick they go great with the ABC beers and their house Root Beer is very good.

I want to add another vote for Red Brick Station. I was unaware that only suburban types would be interested.

My boyfriend is fond of those at Slainte.

McCabe's on Falls Road in Hamden has a great platter. Wonderful burgers, too.

I'll second Ryan's Daughter. I haven't ordered anything else there since my first visit...

Best fish and chips I ever had was at Shamrock's in Emmitsburg. They also had the best seafood chowder EVAR!

Ryan's Daughter has delicious fish and chips. I also recommend the Guinness Beef Stew Boxty there....yum

Galway Bay on Maryland Avenue in Annapolis has spectacular fish and chips -- it's a huge portion, and I usually share it with someone.

Best Fish and Chips downtown are at Mick O'Shea's. Be careful, when they come out of the kitchem the order is hot.

When I was in the Navy stationed in Scotland, the best fish and chips were anyplace you went, as long as it was preceded by quite a few pints!

Mick O'Sheas serves up some excellent fish and chips.

I LOVE fish and chips and have tried most on town. I personally believe the best can be had at Mick O'Shea's.

One note, if you are heading to the NoVa/Dc area, you have to go to Eammon's in Old Town Alexandria. They are a true chipper. Probably even better than Mick's.

I'll third Ryan's Daughter. My wife and I were stranded nearby on a cold night in November and figured -- what the heck, let's give Ryan's Daughter a try. We had the fish and chips, thoroughly enjoyed them and have been back for the same meal several times since. Pretty un-adventurous, huh? But if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And we haven't been inclined as yet to see what else the kitchen there can turn out.

Yet another vote for Ryan's Daughter. I take folks there a lot for lunch meetings, and when they ask what to get, I steer them to the F&C (though my usual is the soup and the smoked salmon appetizer).

It is widely known that the furnishings come from various Irish sources. Next time you're there, take a look at the books on the shelves, especially in the corner nearest Northern Parkway. It turns out that many once belonged to a local Episcopal priest, a sometime Chaplain at St. Paul's School, now dearly departed. There are some real gems there, both in theology and in art history. (I suppose the management would frown if I grabbed one from the shelf to read as I ate alone ... unless I tipped really well!)

Mama's on the Half Shell, in Canton. Reminds me of my days in London!

2nd vote for Momma's on the Half Shell. It's fantastic and huge. Hands down the best.

Another for Ryan's Daughter. Great flavor, great texture, and a great atmosphere to eat them in.

This is a bit out of the way, but the fish and chips at the Royal Mile Pub in Wheaton are wonderful. They also have the best tartar sauce I've ever eaten.

I reviewed four orders of fish and chips about a year and a half ago for takeout. If Dave still isn't satisfied with all of these fine responses, you could dig into the archives and post them too.

Of course I picked this weekend to go to the beach. I second Mick O'Shea's and Mama's.

Does anyone remember the old Arthur Treachers? Now THERE was some good Fish & Chips. I remember one that was on York Rd in Towson, just north of the TSU campus. Another I seem to remember was right off Perring Parkway on McLane Blvd. And there was one on Route 50 in Salisbury on the way to Ocean City.

Good topic but I'd rather see a list of the "worst" fish & chips so I know what places to stay away from.

I got them at Slainte in fells point, expectig they'd be good. But the batter was layered on so thick, it was almost thicker than the fish. Clearly they came fight from a freezer. There was more bater than fish. Worst I've ever had. Even worse than Long John Silver's.

EL I agree with you about Vicroria's. When I want fish & chips, I don't want to have to pay any more than around $12-$15, TOPS. Paying $25 for a plate of fish & chips is outrageous.I''m not looking for sea bass stuffed with shrimp and lobster. I'm looking for lightly battered cod with good french fries. I wish they offerred a standard variety as an alternative.

But for "good" authentic fish & chips, it needs to be made with cod. Real, genuine cod. There are a lot of places that use haddock, and other places that use haddock and call it "cod". Arthur Treachers used to use cod, but stoppped when Britain and Iceland started a battle with each other over the cod fishing rights in the North Atlantic, which sent the prices sky high. AT's wasn't the same after that and the quality want downhill fast. I don't think the modern-day AT franchises use cod either. They are not nearly as good as the AT from the 1970's.

I'm skeptical of fish & chips if they can't tell me for 100% acuracy that they're using real authentic cod. Although, I was in a very high-end restaurant in Chicago for lunch and they were made with hallibut. Not THAT was good!

I went to Mick O'Shea's for fish & chips once about 8 or 9 years ago. The "chips" that came with it were seasoned steak fries, which tasted like the seasoning used for curley fries. YUCK. Totally what I DON'T want when I order fish & chips.

Americans eat garbage like hamburgers and French fries, yuk, that's terrible. Fish & chips? A delightful foreign delicacy from across the pond. Maybe some gourmet versions here are more palatable, but the real everyday deal in England is a not so nutritious greasy mess. Just thinking out loud. I personally don't eat French fries but the average lunch in a lot of countries is some kind of fried potatoes and something else breaded and fried. Fish & chips? Is it really that different than fish sticks and tater tots?

Shining the harsh light of terriermom truth since 2008.

I think terrier-truth is more yappy than harsh t-mom. Fish sticks - yuk, but seriously, we all secretly love some tater tots. You know you do.

BTW, everytime I see terriermom post I think of the Kids in the Hall Terrier Song. It's a good Monday song/video.

TerrierMom is right, the fish and chips over there are a greasy mess. That's why they wrap it all up in newspaper (to soak up some of that grease) when you order carry-out.

Arthur Treacher's has always been a huge scary mystery to me so thanks for the info on it. Still, who was Arthur Treacher? It seemed like an unlikely chain to exist in America.


This is not Thursday! Your absence has placed your internal calendar out of whack.

If you were thinking straight, you certainly would remember the classic “English Butler” in the ancient movies including Mary Poppins and the sidekick of some ancient late night TV host, maybe Regis Philbin.

One of the first times I remember a branding of a relatively obscure figure.

Always enjoyed the AT on Baltimore St. in the basement!

I'm the Dave in Perry Hall who started this, & I appreciate the contributions. My personal favorite is Life Of Reilly in Butcher's Hill. For those going to the beach, I think Go Fish in Rehobeth is the real deal.

Arthur Treacher was a British actor who usually played an English butler. He was in some Shirley Temple movies, had a part in Mary Poppins, and was on the Merv Griffin show, along with many other movies/appearances.

Here is a link to Arthur Treacher Fish and Chips. There are still two in Maryland and two in northern Virginia.

Yeah, my absence messed me up more. I am proud to say that I am back to my normal cast-iron constitution and that I had leftover (from Friday) cold moo shu pork for breakfast.

I've also been saving a big time surprise for such an occasion - the first ever Funtastic Dining@Large crossword puzzle and a postcard/ransom note from Snickers.

I think you hit the nail on the head - branding of an obscure figure. When I first heard of the fish and chips place the guy's name sounded vaguely familiar, but just vaguely. Interesting.

A little research:
Arthur Treacher - 1894-1975
... in the early 1930s, Treacher was Hollywood's idea of the perfect butler, and he headlined as the famous butler Jeeves in .... By the mid 1960s, Treacher was a regular guest on The Merv Griffin Show. [that's where I vaguely remember him from?]

Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips once had over 500(900?) locations ... later sold to Mrs. Paul's Seafood [yikes].

His last film role was in 1964 in Mary Poppins [IMDB]. The F&C franchises seem to have started in 1969. That is a really odd marketing idea, let's get the guy from those old Shirley Temple movies to sell ... fish!

LEC -- for some of us, an "ancient" movie with Arthur Treacher as a butler would be something like Curly Top (1935), starring Shirley Temple. Mary Poppins, from 1964, was hardly ancient, although I saw it in a roadshow engagement (back when a movie would be shown in a given city in a single downtown theater for weeks or months on end) -- and Treacher played a constable in that movie, not a butler. Finally, Treacher was Merv Griffin's sidekick back when Merv was CBS's competition for Johnny Carson, while ABC had Joey Bishop (for whom Regis Philbin was the sidekick).

I remember the Arthur Treachers in Edgewood (harford county) as a kid. The Edgewood Plaza had both an AT and White Coffee Pot, Jr.

I remember the Arthur Treacher's in Parkville, I believe its where the KFC is now.
Also, wasn't there a Burger Chef there as well, or nearby?

I have enjoyed the fish and chips at both Mamas and Life of Reilly. I've also had Victoria Gastro's. Yuck to the VG version, too much going on, doughy, trying too hard to be something special, when it should just stop trying so hard (could say that for the entire eatery). Anyway, I used to enjoy them at John Stevens, but it's been a while and I don't know if they're the same. I know the place changed management or something a while back and the bar menu was gutted of some of my old favorites.

I'm a little ashamed to know this, but there is an Arthur Treacher's in one of the I-95N rest stops. It's either the first or second one after the Belcamp exit.

Baltimore's Best Fish and Chips are here. Check out our website!

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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