New Toronto Fish and Chips
New Toronto Fish and Chips can be found off Lake Shore West, where the streets are numbered. Housed in a boxy all-brown building, the chippy was established in 1973 ... or was that '72? Owners George and Helen Young can't remember.
The mom and pop operation looks good for being over 40. The decor teeters between being retro and dated - it's endearing. Booths are outfitted with original, orange vinyl flip-down seats, and other than a few mounted press clippings and some house-plants sprawling across the front window, the room is sparsely adorned.
It's a no-frills joint that does brisk business in take-out, attracting locals with its reputation for proper fish and chip dinners. The menu is brief, focusing on just four specialties; halibut, haddock, shrimp and scallops, each available a la carte or as a meal with chips.
You'll notice that prices are written-in with dry erase marker while the rest of the menu boards are in print. The cost of fish might go up from time to time, but the line-up of dishes never wavers.
Up front at the counter and open kitchen I watch my fish take a quick dip in batter and then get dropped into hot oil. No sooner than we claim a booth, there is hot glistening fish set upon our table. The halibut ($10.45) is a thick slab entombed by a crackling, golden coating. The haddock ($7) on the other hand is a thinner, more delicate fillet where the ration of fish to batter is more even.
Scallops ($9.25) are puffed up, plump but deceivingly petite. They're still very tasty, the crispy exterior slightly greasy coating sweet morsels that melt on my tongue.
Onion rings ($3.75) are excellent, perfectly crisped, possibly worth subbing out the chips ($2.75 individually), which despite being chopped in house, are fried only to a pale blonde and soft.
Tartar sauce comes premade in single-serving packages, and both the bottled ketchup and malt vinegar proudly read Heinz. Coleslaw ($1.25) is an essential add-on, without it this meal would be entirely beige, it's finely minced and drenched with a peppery vinegar dressing.
New Toronto Fish and Chips opens from 11:30am to 7:30pm Monday to Thursday; from 11am to 8pm on Fridays and from 10am to 7pm on Saturdays. Sunday the shop is closed - the staff have gone fishing, if you will.
Photos by Morris Lum.