Six Best Spots for Your Lenten Fish and Chips

As we're well into the Lenten season, I'm sure many of you are looking for a Friday fish hook up. I'm not positive why Catholics adhere to a pescatarian diet on Fridays, and after a quick search, there's certainly a lot of bickering about it. But, it really doesn't matter anyway because eating seafood doesn't need religious validation. At all.

So, we've cast a wide net, filtered through the muck and have some of the best spots in Dallas for fish and chips.

Strictly for entertainment proposes, I surveyed our resident bloke, Gavin Cleaver, on proper fish and chips in Dallas and he wanted to go on record as saying, "... selling fish and chips expertly cooked at a price point above $5 is to totally misunderstand the nature of British fish and chips."

So, with that, we'll carry on with a list of this misunderstood British fare.

Many British and Irish-inspired spots push out baskets of fish and chips all day (The Old Monk, Trinity Hall, The Idle Rich, etc). But, of those, Observer food critic Scott Reitz fancies the fish and chips at The Londoner and listed the dish (photo above) as one of his 100 Favorite Dishes in the city: "The Londoner's version sports a thick, crispy crust that's not too oily, which encases dense cod that breaks apart into massive, meaty flakes. Chips play more than a supporting role with a generous portion of potatoes cooked just right."

20 Feet Seafood Joint, chef Marc Cassel's new spot on Peavey Road next to Goodfriends, offers a bounteous basket with three pieces of cod and shoestring fries in herbaceous mix of fresh rosemary and thyme. And, it's BYOB. (Insert your Catholic jokes here.)

Nick Badovinus' reincarnation of Neighborhood Services on Henderson Avenue, Tried and True, has a Swicker's fish and chips served with trailer park slaw. This roadhouse themed spot serves great drinks and even cranks out some Willie tunes on the turntable on occasion. Similarly, the fried cod and chips served with slaw at NHS are a house specialty, as well. In summation: Nick Badovinus does good fried fish.

Ten Bells Tavern, an ode to the infamous bar in London, serves a beer battered flounder over a basket of house made chips. Chef Carlos Mancera keeps the menu tight and focuses on execution; the result is some of the best upscale bar food in the city.

If the west is calling you, then track down the long time Fort Worth staple Zeke's Fish and Chips. They'll be packed to the gills every Friday until Easter. The small shop offers either catfish or cod and has a drive thru if you want to call ahead. Be sure to get an extra side of those golden little corn nuggets.

The Abbey Inn on the square in Denton uses a wild haddock with an ale batter infused with Franconia beer from McKinney. Bonus: For an extra $4 you can get your fish and chips served with English peas-n-onions. Gavin finds this to be the best place for British fare, primarily on account of their real British bacon.

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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.

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