Fish and chips becomes the latest comfort classic to spawn an upscale Valley food trend.

Cod Almighty

Written by Marilyn Hawkes Category: Three Bites Issue: May 2017
Group Free
TapHouse Kitchen
6137 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Fish and chips have come a long way since the late 1800s, when the British first served morsels of fried cod and haddock wrapped in yesterday’s newspaper. TapHouse Kitchen chef Patrick Karvis uses walleye pike – a North American freshwater fish – in his daily fish fry ($20 dinner; pictured) because of its subtle and slightly sweet taste. Karvis infuses the flour-based batter with amber beer and a splash of soda water to create a tempura-like coating that’s as light as spun sugar. For dipping, he offers a house-made tartar sauce that’s spruced up with tarragon, capers, dill and a dash of hot sauce – delicious both for the fish and a stack of skin-on french fries. Karvis is something of a savant after working Friday-only fish fries at several hotels and country clubs. “I figured, let’s just do it every day… and we sell a ton of it.”
Coconut’s Fish Café
Three Valley locations
This Maui-conceived mini-chain – which has three Hawaii locations in addition to its Arizona properties – is partial to fish found in the tropical ocean waters of its home state. To that end, Coconut’s fish and chips ($11.99) is made from mahi-mahi that’s hand-cut on the premises each morning. The fish, dipped in milk then dredged through breadcrumbs and sprinkled with Italian seasoning, emerges from the fryer with a crisp crust that doesn’t overpower its mild, sweet flavor. “We want customers to notice the fish, so we don’t use a heavy beer batter,” owner Kim Kuhljuergen says. Coconut’s puts out two generous pieces of flaky, moist fish cradled in a basket of crisp shoestring french fries dusted with seasoned salt and a serving of coconut milk and wasabi-laced coleslaw.
Social Tap Eatery
4312 N. Brown Ave., Scottsdale
Executive chef Keon Salehizadeh prefers halibut fish and chips ($16) because the flavor of the fish shines through the batter. “Sometimes when you use cod, flounder or haddock, you lose the identity of the fish once you batter it.” Social Tap makes a traditional beer batter using a house brew, flour, garlic powder, Old Bay Seasoning and salt. After battering the fish, Salehizadeh coats it in panko breadcrumbs and deep-fries it for a mild, flaky fish that stays crisp until the last bite. Also on the plate: house-made, pickle-laced tartar sauce, sweet poppy seed coleslaw and a knot of salty french fries. Salehizadeh suggests washing down the whole affair with a malty Kilt Lifter or a fruit-forward grapefruit shandy.


Photo by Isabella Castillo