Go Fish!

Being from the land locked cit of Calgary, fresh seafood is not really in great abundance, as compared to other cities such as Vancouver.  As a result, one has to look LONG and HARD (insert immature laugh here) for places that have brought in great product.  On top of that, one has to narrow these places down to restaurants / cafe’s that actually prepare this seafood in a proper way.  Lots of delicious, fresh fish can be turned into armageddon-aftermath-like dishes with a skillful FLICK of an incompetent chef’s WRIST (insert immature laugh here).  You may think it’s actually hard to screw up such amazing starting ingredients, and I would tend to agree with you.  This is why I think it’s a skill to be so incompetent, or competently incompetent.  Now that I think of it, this is a great analogy for coffee.  How often do we see cafe’s with the best equipment and great coffee, pump out semi-decent espresso’s and brewed coffee?  What a waste!  BUT I DIGRESS…

One great example of a dish that is often ruined is Fish and Chips, or Fish n’ Chips, or Fish & Chips, or Poisson et Frites, or Poisson n’ Frites, or Poisson & Fri… you get the idea.  This is a dish that is everywhere in Calgary…yes, that’s right, Fish and Chips has amassed a massive marketshare in the monotonous mixed markets of mediocrity (how’s that for alliteration).  This is a dish that has so much potential yet is ruined too easy.  How many times have we had these where the waiter brings out a white platter of greasy, oil soaked, stinky, dry fish with the texture of 1 part butter : 30000 parts sand?  Oh yeah, and the fries… Oh the Fries!  It seems like Mr. Mcain special delivered those matchsticks of repulsiveness right to your doorstep.  Don’t forget the TARTAR sauce which is the bastard love child of Mr. Hellmans and Ms. Heinz-Relish (she was an academic and wanted to retain her maiden name for 1st author publication recognition purposes).  While this post is getting out of hand and the last paragraph literally made no sense whatsoever, the point I’m trying to make is that we are in FISH AND CHIPS DEFICIENCY here in Calgary.  So what’s the answer?

VANCOUVER.  And what an answer it is!  In my last trip to Vancouver, I stopped by the shack that has given me the best Fish and Chips I have ever had.  Go Fish is located on the Fisherman’s Warf just across from Granville Island.  It’s a tiny shack with room for maybe 5 employees or so, slaving over hot fryers of oil and pans sizzling away on a range.  P1020594You start by lining up… there is never no line.  I bet the first person that goes there once they open stands in line, too.  While you are in line and starting to fantasize about the orgasmic fish you are about to consume, you peruse a menu being passed along the line like a game of telephone to see which fish is going to bring you to pleasure island.  Because I am such a manly man, I went with Halibut.  Studies have shown that there is a direct proportional relationship with those that have a Halibut preference to their respective manlymanliness characteristic.  My other companions chose Cod and Halibut respectively.  After engaging in the act of a transaction, we grabbed some seats with tables ( a rarity due to the amounts of people eating there ) and waited.  Do not expect it to be fast…the people working are cooking as quickly as they can, but due to the sheer amount of orders, your fish will take time.  To me this signals that your order is being made FRESH…this is important, remember?  Oh yeah, I wanted to say that Go Fish is literally on the docks of the wharf… I’m quite certain that the fish is caught and walked up the plank to the shack where it is thrown into the fryer.  I think the fresher the seafood, the less middlemen there are.  Anyways, after finally hearing our names called, we sat down to our bounty…

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Besides the really cool dim sum steamer basket they serve these in, my two pieces of Halibut perfection was accompanied by an Everest sized mound of frites, a home-made coleslaw, and some tartar sauce.  Let me describe to you how good this fish was… Sinking your teeth into the succulent portion of fish, you’re first met with buttery crunch of the perfectly-fried batter.  The batter is not paper thin by any means, it is maybe a millimeter thick.  But it adds an amazing crispiness accompanied by a richness that makes this fish and chips almost decadent.  After the beautiful batter gives way, you are not met with air or bubbles (as is the case with other poorly made dishes)…no, no, no, you are met with juicy, creamy, thick slabs of FRESH HALIBUT.  Absolutely succulent fish that melts in your mouth like pudding.  Halibut is gorgeously dense yet has such a buttery mouthfeel… all of this wrapped up with the rich crunch of the perfect coating of batter – tell me this is not making your mouth DROOL (aka. producing salivary alpha amlyase).  The tartar sauce was great, there was sweet notes of fresh dill that really set it apart from other commercial tartar sauces, which addeed a cooling, sweet accompaniment to the fish.  The fries were freshly cut, and were slightly thicker than McDonald’s fries, yet were crisper, softer on the inside, and fresher tasting.  The coleslaw was tasty as well, with julienned cabbage and carrots mixed with a sesame-based vinaigrette.  The coleslaw tasted light and refreshing, a stark contrast to the goopy, gelatinous messes that are sold in supermarkets everywhere.  Needless to say, after a massive meal like this, I developed an acute case of Itis and had to be remedied by an espresso from JJ Bean in Granville.

Go Fish is definitely one place for amazing Fish and Chips, in an awesome location… I think it is reason enough to make the trek from landlocked Calgary to Vancouver!

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2 thoughts on “Go Fish!

  1. Go Fish! is one of my must-stops when I’m in Vancouver. If you go again, order the soup of the day–it’s always ace.

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