Long Branch Fish & Chips
Long Branch Fish & Chips has been open for five years in the west end of Toronto, deep frying all manner of things much to the delight of the Lakeshore and Kipling area regulars. And regular is not a term owner Paul Takahashi takes lightly, he greeted every single patron by name during my visit.
While fish certainly dominates the menu, landlubbers can rejoice with a few other options like salads, chicken fingers and home-made Chilly Poutine Fries ($7.05). Long Branch cuts their fries every day, which makes for a stellar combo featuring piping hot beef chili and substantial chunks of cheese curds.
The Chowder ($4.25) proved too tempting, mostly because I love saying Chow-dah, and here, I was rewarded for my terrible Bostonian impression with a huge bowl of it. Long Branch makes their fish soup with halibut, and nothing else. Paul roasts the bones after skillfully butchering the fish every morning, and makes a gorgeous stock to ensure the delicate flavour comes through. Potatoes and mirepoix add some weight and depth to the dish.
Fish n' chips were up on deck next, and with three types of fish halibut ($11.35), haddock ($9.10) or cod ($9.10). We left the cod for next time and let the halibut versus haddock battle wage on. Both start as fresh white fish, battered and deep fried, but it just came down to texture, and halibut wins with its flakey layers and buttery taste.
Roughage, in the form of mushy peas ($1.60) and coleslaw ($1.80) come as cheap and cheerful sides, in clever portion size bowls, giving you just the perfect amount of vegetables to push around with a fork and pretend to eat.
With friendly service and fresh fish, the only thing Long Branch is missing is a liquor licence. Oh, and they're closed on Sundays.