ginger and salt

finger food: pike street fish fry.

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In the Pacific Northwest, we do fish and chips pretty well, thanks to our abundance of fresh, local seafood. There are several options to choose from, most famously Spud’s on Alki Beach or Ivar’s, with several locations around the city. However, there is one spot smack dab in the middle of the Pike/Pine neighborhood in Capitol Hill that is my go-to place year-round for when I want salt, vinegar, and grease on my fingers.

Pike Street Fish Fry is located on the corner of East Pike Street and 10th Avenue in the center of what is arguably the most popular two block strip of the Capitol Hill neighborhood.  Seafood that’s ‘battered and fried’ is their specialty and you have your choice of Cod, Catfish, Oysters, Calamari, Halibut (when it’s available), and Shrimp.  All of these come with delicious fries and your choice of sauce.  The sauces range beyond your typical tartar and ketchup combination, although they do of course have those as options too, should you want to be a purist.  One of my favorites is the Curry Ketchup, but they also have Lemon Aioli, Chili Mayo, Harissa, and Salsa Verde.

The guys behind the counter at this dive are always very nice, but unfortunately there’s typically only one or two working at a time, which results in a bit of wait time for your order. Expect to wait at least ten to fifteen minutes for your name to be called, but I promise you, it’s worth it.  Also, when you’re there, see if you can spot the resident pigeon loitering outside.  He almost jumped on my head once while eating outside, and this time he even tried to sneak inside when an employee had the door propped open.  You will typically see him through the window, eyeing your lunch and plotting his next attack.

While out to lunch with my friend Lauren, we settled on splitting the Fried Cod and Chips and the Grilled Shrimp Sandwich.  (I should note that the past two times we’ve eaten here, they have been out of the Hangar Steak sandwich which I’ve had in the past and had been craving. A bit of a bummer.)  The cod was absolutely perfect. Crispy and flaky on the outside and fresh and tender on the inside.  I don’t like when the batter and fried portion dominates the fish and at Pike Street, they really make sure that the seafood is still the star of the dish.  We ate every single fry (and I mean EVERY fry), trying different sauce combinations along with the malt vinegar.  I will also mention that the Lemon Aioli was pretty bland, definitely one to skip on future visits.

The sandwich was unfortunately less memorable, along with the Pickled Cabbage that came on the side (you can also get fries with any sandwich instead).  The baguette was a little too soft and without the chewy, crunchiness that I prefer.  The grilled shrimp were decent, but certainly didn’t pack a punch.  We also agreed that the cabbage slaw was lacking something, although it was gorgeous in all its fuschia glory.  Maybe it needed more acidity? Or salt? Clearly my palette is not as refined as Tom Colicchio’s, but it just missed the mark.

If you are set on ordering a sandwich, I will say that we’ve also had the Pulled Pork Sandwich and it’s better than the Shrimp, but if you’re smart, you’ll bag the sandwiches altogether and stick to what they do best: fried, salty seafood.  So the next time you’re craving fish and chips, head over to Pike Street Fish Fry.  But, beware of the occasional ravenous pigeon.

Pike Street Fish Fry, 925 E. Pike Street, Seattle, WA, 206.329.7453, pikestreetfishfry.net, (Open every day, but late night hours until 2:30 a.m. on Thursday-Saturday)

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One comment

  1. T! I I had my first Fish Fry experience during Capitol Hill Block Party this past year and loved it! A perfect lunch break, mid dance-party. I ate the cod and I have to say curry catchup allll the way if you want deliciousness with your fries. Way to be adventurous and branch out with the grilled shrimp sandwich, but with Fish Fry, I do agree that one must stick to Seattle’s Holy Trinity: fresh. FRIED. fish. Follow Friday for Fish Fry. #FFFFF

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