In the United Kingdom, fish n chips is a greasy, crispy pub classic; indeed, it’s like most of British cuisine (this included) is made to cure hangovers. However, while fish n chips shows up at every bar menu in the tri-state area, it’s not nearly as popular as American bar classics that show up just as frequently, such as such as nachos or buffalo wings, and for good reason: it’s frequently just greasy and bland. While frying fish seems straightforward enough, it’s actually a delicate art that requires plenty of skill. Any fool can batter a piece of cod and dip it into a fryer, but it takes true skill to make it exceptional. Anybody who has enjoyed fish n chips in the UK knows this.
I recently came across an article about A Salt & Battery, New York City’s premier fish n chips joint, located in a trendy area in the West Village. Its popularity has given fish n chips much-needed legitimacy in the eyes of New Yorkers, who had been jaded by the dish through their experience at “pubs” throughout the five boroughs. For over 10 years now, A Salt & Battery are still churning out an exceptional product. There have been a few changes, such as cod being replaced by pollock due to concerns about sustainability, but A Salt & Battery offers the most authentic chippy experience outside the British Isles.
The author of the article speaks about sole, a fish with a delicate texture and mild flavor. While it doesn’t have as much meat as cod or pollock, it’s still good, and A Salt & Battery does a great job at battering and frying it. The innards of the fish are soft, flaky and bursting with flavor. The chips are also a perfect balance of chunky and golden. The author insists that patrons shouldn’t douse them in ketchup, since vinegar and salt should give them all of the flavor that they need. A Salt & Battery also does an exceptional shrimp n chips, cooked with tenderness without any rubberiness.
Outside of fish n chips, there are other delicious (and wonderfully unhealthy) dishes that A Salt & Battery offers to customers. One of these is a deep-fried banger. While possibly the worst thing out there for you, it’s a great food for anybody with a hangover. They also offer mushy peas, which are made in-house and free of any sort of food dyes.