On a quest for KC’s perfect fish and chips

I am looking for Kansas City’s perfect plate of fish and chips. I’m not anywhere close to having Irish/English blood in me so can’t claim any native knowledge about what a fish and chip should be, but I’ve had the pleasure of dining on fish and chips many days in a row in various spots in Dublin and London. No doubt, this is a highly subjective endeavor. But let me tell you what I’m judging in my fish and chips and the scale I use:

1) flavor of batter 1=bland 10=i would eat this batter from the bowl
2) crispiness of batter 1=like bread 10=the perfect crunch
3) fish to batter ratio 1=wholly unbalanced, either too much batter or too much fish – i’ll detail which 10=the golden ratio of fish to batter
4) ability of batter to remain crispy after i douse it in megatablespoons of malt vinegar 1=sog 10=malt-flavored crisp remains
5) (probably the trickiest to get right in a fried dish) ratio of oil to food 1=oil visible in pools
Additional Info I’ll provide
side dishes) i’m not grading these but will note my opinions on slaw and tartar served
price) again, not grading because i’d gladly pay more for good food than be served faulty fish and chips

The scale represents what I don’t and do like in a fish and chip. some peeps may like their dish a little less crunchy. I like mine to snap. so take all that with a grain of salt (and malt).

I received a couple of suggestions for fish and chips a couple of weeks ago when i posted about the idiots answering the phones at Mcfadden’s. A while back, Sarah contacted IrishKC for his insight into the matter. Acting on one of those suggestions, we went to The Gaf Saturday night for fish and chips. First: Since McBride’s (the good one by the Speedway and former home of my favorite KC fish and chips) went under, weve been desperate for good fish and chips and a somewhat passable simulacrum of an Irish pub. The Gaf’s clientele (at least on this particular saturday night around 5:30) was blissfully older (60+) and we felt at home as soon as we walked in. Sarah said it reminded her of her favorite hangouts in downtown Milwaukee (which must be experienced to be understood, and is truly a compliment). Let’s get to the fish and chips:

1) flavor: 8, lots of black pepper and quite tasty. more of a pan-fried chicken batter when it’s all said and done.
2) crispiness: 4, not a lotta crunch.
3) fish:batter: 4, much more fish than batter. not a bad thing. the gaf uses haddock and the dish comes with two massive fillets, lightly battered.
4) batter’s ability to retain crisp: 1, i use lots of malt and the fish just couldn’t hang.
5) oil:food: 9, very good job at hiding the fry-i-ness of the dish.
additional info:
sides: chips, which were thick and tasty fingers of fried taters. a very small side of mayo-heavy slaw (tasty, but very mayo-centric), and a yummy tartar.
price: i think the dish was 9.95, but i can’t remember. we always order an extra fillet and split the dish…i’ll try to remember this for our next stop.

Overall, an enjoyable fish and chip and The Gaf’s atmosphere made it all that much more likely we’ll be back again.

If you have any suggestions for good fish and chips in Kansas City, please comment below.

In other news,

Both of my brothers bought Rock Band this weekend. We couldn’t play the guitar at our house because it wasn’t working out of the box. I found out I can’t sing worth a hoot (though I wanted to be good at it). I’m picking up the drums rather well. My arms are crazy tired. Just when we were done for the night, we unlocked ‘Sabotage’ and had to rock that shit hard. We started a band and named it Toothy Vag. And, to my ex-Poynt’d Styk bandmates – you can create your own rocker avatar…Johnny Starr lives on in Toothy Vag! (Sarah’s got a pic which she should have available soon – he looks awwwwesome!)

On a quest for KC’s perfect fish and chips

11 thoughts on “On a quest for KC’s perfect fish and chips

  1. FlyGuy says:

    I hear the Fish and Chips at The Fox and Hound (105th and Metcalf) are very good.

    We have Guitar Hero III at our house… we thought about Rock Band but didn’t want all the stuff hanging out in our living room 24/7.

    And Johnny Starr ALWAYS lived!

  2. I had the fish and chips at McCoys a few weeks ago and I can tell you that I was underwhelmed. It must have been the grease factor (I think the grease had been in the fryer for a few days). Plus, they served jalepeno corn fritters with them, which just made no sense at all to me.

    Anyway, try ’em yourself. If you like ’em maybe I’ll give ’em another try.

  3. sarah says:

    i’ll add one more piece of criterion. Sliminess. Poorly fried fish, in old oil or underheated oil or using less-than-fresh fish can result in a dispicably slimy fish plank. For the Gaf, I will give them a 10 on lack of sliminess. This fish was fluffy and actually resembled a fish.
    RE: side dishes: I thought the chips were a 10, on par with McBride’s, but the tartar and coleslaw showed no panache. The Dutch and people from the Ozarks are sure to love the over-abundance of mayo and complete lack of interesting spice in either side.
    All that aside, my cup of seafood chowder was exquisite, as was the guiness mustard alioi served with the (uneven) calamari.
    yes, it was a fish fest!

  4. thanks, b. they’re on our list!

    emaw,
    mccoy’s is now on the list (for some reason i think i remember having these many, many moons ago after a roller warriors practice or something…)

  5. I’m hitting the Record Bar on Thursday. If I don’t forget I’ll indulge in their Molly’s Tribute F&C (because I’m on my holidays) and I’ll report back for you – even if I have no idea what makes the things nice or not.

  6. Ok then, Fish & Chips in the Record Bar were consumed tonight. You have the option of 1, 2 or 3 pieces. Being a pig I went for 3 but got 4 even if 2 of them were quite small.

    In Short: I enjoyed it because I’m easy, but…

    Longer Opinion: The fish was crispy to the point of being violent, the batter being the texture of the batter that Church’s Chicken comes in. So while I could see flashes of grease I couldn’t taste an ounce of slime or grease at all. This is wrong. This is not how things should be. Fish in batter that comes with chips should never resemble chicken in batter. I know some people will love this, but there was no fluffy lightness of touch with that decadent film of wrongness on your lips. Less an indulgent piece of stodge then, and more of a weapon.

    Other than that the fish was fish, unremarkable to my ignorant taste buds, nothing wrong with it though like the batter not light and fluffy.

    The chips were cooked to extinction which judging by the burn marks on the pizza crusts and sandwiches appears to be the style in there these days. I’m not complaining – honestly, I ate and enjoyed it all (including friends pizzas and sandwiches – I was hungry) – I’m simply saying that those aren’t chips by any definition.

    So overall I’d describe it as a different slant on a classic simple dish, not something to remind me of home at all – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.