Deep Blue Fish & Chips
After almost a year spent listening to friends rant and rave about how delicious Deep Blue Fish & Chips is, this weekend I decided I just couldn't take the torture much longer. I needed to try this place. I needed to try it now. But what took me so long, you might ask? Well to be perfectly honest, I tend not to find myself around the Danforth (or around the east side for that matter) all too often.
I live just outside of Kensington Market. So I'm already quite spoiled in the fish and chips department by Somethin's Fishy in the heart of the market, and my personal favourite, Harbord Fish & Chips , just a short walk north from my house. I feel I must point out how much I love both of these lovely chip shops. Because as good as these both are, after eating lunch at Deep Blue I have come to believe that, if you do it right, there's really no such thing as too many fish and chips joints.
Hidden away just south of the Danforth along the east side of Broadview, Deep Blue has very quickly become a local favorite in the area. Providing a nice mix of old-school standards along side some really interesting and tasty original creations, it becomes quite evident upon entering the former diner what all the fuss is about.
Right as you walk in, what's the first thing you'd hope to see? Some weirdo art on the walls? Hipster kids with greasy hair bouncing their heads to thrash metal? No, of course not. You want to see fish. Loads of fresh and vibrant fish over ice. Well that's exactly what you'll get at Deep Blue, as well as some of the friendliest service around.
On this particular visit, owner Gary Conlin just so happened to be behind the counter manning the fryer. Any time you've got the owner of the place taking a special interest in preparing your meal, you know a great deal of pride and joy are just par for the course. But enough about all that... let's get to the fish!
I'm kind of a purist when it comes fish and chips, so immediately I decide to go for the Traditional English Style Battered Halibut ($8.95) served with fresh cut fries, Deep Blue tartar sauce, and a rather clever play off of the classic mushy peas in the form of a tasty green pea hummus.
First off, the fish: amazingly fresh, dense, meaty, and almost sweet in flavour. Exactly what you want halibut to taste like. And the batter: one of the lightest and crispiest I've tasted in this city. So far, so good.
Secondly, the fries: nothing overly complicated. They're not reinventing the wheel here, and thank god for that. They're tasty, crispy, and offered along side a nice little spritzer bottle of malt vinegar. Easily on par with any other chip joint in Toronto. Oh, and the tartar sauce wasn't all that bad either, though I should mention that tartar isn't really my thing. Just give me malt vinegar and a salt shaker and life is good.
Though I tend to gravitate more towards the traditional items, I've also heard many people rave about Deep Blue's other more playful twists on the standard fish and chips meal. Among them are the Jamaican Jerk Battered Cod ($7.95), Malaysian Style Battered Shrimp ($9.50), and the already infamous Deep Blue Corn Meal Battered Sea Scallops ($9.50).
A nice little touch as well (that I have yet to see at any other fish fry joint) is their option of a lactose-free and gluten-free batter for those who can't really digest the stuff. Oh, and it should also be mentioned that they make a point to deep fry everything in trans-fat-free oil... so the guilt factor of a large deep-fried meal might go down about 5%. Either way, life's too short to eat broccoli all day, so go treat yourself to some fresh and tasty fish at Deep Blue Fish & Chips. Your taste buds will thank you for it.