Monday, October 26, 2009

Anchor Fish & Chips

I can only live the life of the monk for so long. I mean, really. Barring the need to sign up for food stamps I'm not going to be staying in every night. Finally there are some new spots out there that I've been able to get to. J.Lo and I hadn't gotten together in ages - partially due to my bemoaning of expenses and partially due to a misunderstanding over the quantifiable dreaminess of Anderson Cooper. It's a story better left untouched.

A new little pub called The Anchor Fish & Chips has set up shop just down the street from Laura's childhood home. We converged there Friday evening. They'd just swung open the doors and already it was teaming with a hungry mix of neighborhood folks. On either side of the high top table she'd snagged for us were people taking pictures. The guys behind us were attempting to capture the magic of the Shepard's pie. "No, no... don't poke the carrot... gently roll it over. You don't want to get holes in it." Wise words, Ace -like finding Ray Brower on the side of the train tracks.

The menu is small, smaller still is the wine list. I had a choice of red or white, but at least it was organic. Better to stick to the beers at this spot. The toasty foam from the Bell's Oktoberfest tickled my upper lip like a handlebar moustache. After much debate, Laura decided to get the ubiquitous fish n chips while I opted for the hamburger with chips and a topping of Irish cheddar.

After just a few moments the food arrived. Her breaded cod was the size of a small human forearm.
She kept saying that it tasted like a doughnut. At first, this seemed like a positive assessment, but as she dragged on through her beige on beige meal, it waned. The breading was thick and crisp. The fries were clearly made in house and quite yummy. The crispty outer shell gave way to pillowy warm depths of potato yumminess. The fish was greatly enhanced by the tarter sauce that Laura had to ask for a couple of times. It closely resembled my mom's home-made, tasting of Helmann's mayo and lemon juice.

The burger was good and juicy, dripping pink juices down my grubby little fist. I felt lucky that I prefer my meat cooked medium rare. I know people that would have mooed at it before turning seven shades of pale and tipping off the bar stool. The flour dusted bun was nicely slathered with butter and toasted. The best thing on my plate were also the fries with the generous sprinkling of Kosher salt.

What absolutely did not enhance anything was the vat of gravy I paid extra for. It was hard to resist - I am a sucker for fat on fat (note more beige on beige - with the drizzling rain outside, it did feel rather English - but more the food they were known for a few years ago before gastropubs started sprouting like gilded beacons of tasty sanctuary.) It arrived warm and soon was cold and congealed. It tasted familiar. I closed my eyes and pictured a warm house, stuffed to the gills with family - all talking at once and... making copious Simpson's references. It tasted exactly like the grocery store deli gravy I'd used the first Thanksgiving that I cooked for my in-laws.

We were happy to toss our napkins into our baskets and head out just as the capacity of the place began to brim. The neighborhood was screaming for a great little spot for some decent, cheap-ish food. The Anchor Fish & Chips defintely fills the bill. Still, I was ready to meander down the street and belly up elsewhere for a grown up drink and some good conversation.