Easy Catch Fish and Chips
Easy Catch Fish and Chips offers up Toronto's latest take on the English pub classic, and while they aren't open at two in the morning after a The Specials concert (the best time to consume fish and chips, I'm told), Easy Catch nevertheless excels when it comes to the business of fish and chips.
The most important aspect of a fish and chips joint is, unsurprisingly, how well they handle their fish and chips, and in this regard Easy Catch doesn't lack. Tender whitefish is gently steamed inside a thin, crispy batter that would best be described as staying out of the way. While this approach may have its detractors, it allows the fish to star.
A well portioned piece of halibut ($13.50) is light on the palette and stays moist and flaky; cod, haddock ($10) and clams ($14) are also available. The fish is, of course, accompanied by a mess of fries, which are well cooked, salted and a little closer to soft than crispy. The quality of the fish also makes the accompanying tartar sauce - fresh, briny and loaded with chopped capers - seem unnecessary, but it's a welcome addition.
Easy Catch also mixes things up by offering a couple of additional takes on the fish fry, including a po'boy and tacos (both $10). The po'boy, modelled after the Louisiana classic, comes on a pillowy-soft roll that melts right into the battered and fried haddock, which is slathered in mayo, fresh salsa and melted cheese for good measure. The dairy is a slightly odd touch but the rest of the ingredients work in harmony with the fish to produce what is quite an excellent sandwich.
Conveyance method aside, the tacos are nearly identical in composition to the po'boy, larded with fried fish, salsa and less mayo. However cheese, melted in the case of the po'boy, appears here in the form of a dry, Kraft-style shredded mix, and contributes little, an unfortunate and unnecessary misstep. Some pickled cucumbers or cabbage might push the whole thing over the top. As it stands the dish is certainly good enough, largely on account of the moist, flaky and generous chunks of fried haddock.
The sides we try were more of a mixed bag. A cauliflower latke ($4.50) comes out well cooked and steaming hot, with a crispy exterior and soft interior. Cauliflower doesn't predominate as a taste on the tongue, but that doesn't stop the latke from being first rate on the whole, and a nice, lighter change of pace from the more traditional potato latke, which is also on the menu.
Wish that the same could be said for a truly disappointing clam chowder ($5), where a wan, thin, flavourless cream broth is bespeckled with the occasional carrot chunk or piece of celery and even less seafood. A few bites is all it takes to abandon ship, though the unfortunate experience doesn't detract too much from the high quality of the meal overall.
And the meal is good, overall, make no mistake. The fish is excellent, the staff friendly and attentive, and the decor remarkably unkitschy. I'm not quite sure about the "sexy fish" as a motif (Easy Catch - "try us, everyone else has!") but that is, as the saying goes, neither here nor there. What is, though, is some pretty good fish.
Photos by Miranda Whist. Follow/yell at Anders on Twitter .