Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Tale of Two Fishies (and Chips)

Last weekend I had the pleasure of eating two very different types of fish and chips, one pretty haute and one pretty hearty.

For the first one, I found myself in Fells Point, ready for a weekend of rooting for those Ravens, hons (RAVENS IN THE SUPER BOWL W000000000T!).  My original intention was to head to my favorite Irish soccer bar Sláinte, where I knew they had a fascinating blueberry "Ravens" cheesecake.  But I got sidewinded first as I passed by Bond Street Social, whose warmth and large, inviting bar drew my attention.  Bond Street Social has an interesting selection of draft beers, including some of my favorites (Dogfishes and Heavy Seases), not to mention the cocktails, sangrías and wines.  I ordered myself a 90 Minute and considered ordering some food.  The stomach won over and I pored over the menu. The menu of somewhat pricey food.  Pricey food that I knew would likely be in sorta small haute cuisine portions.  After much deliberation, I settled on the Social Fish and Chips ($18!!!) which consisted of four tender large fish nuggets in crispy, delicious batter, each nestled on top of an "Old Bay tater tot" (that's the chip), with lovely crispy globs of "salt and vinegar slaw" between them.  The food overall was lovely in flavor, texture and presentation.  That said, while I am not the kind of person who demands big portions, I was kind of hungry when it was all done.  So know that you are paying for a delicious, high quality and smallish portion of fish and tater tots.

I needed some of that Sláinte cheesecake.  It went fast, especially with that Loose Cannon to wash it down.

The next day I headed to Arundel Mills, and after a day of shopping for some clothes and window shopping for kitchen items, I stopped in the DuClaw for a little lunch and a little beer.  I mean little in only the most cursory way, as the Venom and Chips ($14) I ordered - named for the Venom light amber ale they have on tap - was so massive that the couple seated at the bar table next to me had to comment on its size.  They probably saw my buggy eyes when I got it.  I paired that with their extra hoppy Serum Double IPA.

But back to the fish: two humongous pieces of cod in tempura batter, extra crispy and crunchy - so much so that it easily slid off the hot, slippery cod.  This wasn't such a problem since the breading was a meal in itself.  And these fries were actual fries - not bad, but seriously playing second fiddle to that fish.  Likewise, this was paired with a sweet and tasty cole slaw, though again it's the fish that stood out.  They also brought out some Old Bay per my request.

I did not leave hungry.

While I would eat each again, which of the two would I seek out first?  I have to confess it is DuClaw's.  The crunchiness of the fillet won me over, despite all else.  I will have to order this again, with a Serum Double IPA.