On a recent night, the Travel Channel was showing ‘Deep Fried Paradise’. The fried, artery clogging portion of their “… Paradise” series. Basically, one hour to shine the spotlight on decadent and indulgent food that shouts ‘America’. They have them for ice cream, steak, hamburgers, and pizza; pretty much the diet for college students. Anyway, ‘Deep Fried Paradise’ made me think of places around Seattle that do fried food well. We have the venerable Ezell’s and Ivar’s. If and when the Alki Homestead rolls around again, they do fried chicken right. And for fish, we have the Pike Street Fish Fry up on Capitol Hill.
Pike Street Fish Fry is a small little spot on the Hill on the corner of 10th and East Pike. It’s in the location where Frites used to be. Frites has been closed for several years now, but I still miss their Belgian-style frites and array of sauces. Thankfully Pike Street Fish Fry has carried the torch of a place to get food that has gotten the hot oil treatment.
So here is my list of the three cool things about Pike Street Fish Fry.
- They serve a ton of fried food
Big surprise, but they do fried food well. It’s very easy to make things greasy or bland or just plain bad when frying. Oil can be too hot or too cold. But the good people at the Fish Fry really know their way around a fryer. The batter is light and delicate. Lots of people are saying it’s tempura-esque, and I can see that, but I think it has a bit more of a rustic quality; more of a bite and hearty crunch to it. We particularly like the catfish and the frito misto (as did my friend Jay, the Gastronaut). Both were delicious and if I could convince my heart that those green beans were my vegetable requirement for the day I would love it. The fish was really good; exhibiting the signs of good catfish; delicate, nutty, and tasty.
They have a bunch of things on the menu. The night we went there was sturgeon, prawns, cod, octopus, oysters. The menu changes often and they get their fish from the excellent Mutual Fish. It will be interesting to see what else they can fry, I will have to go back soon.
- The sauces
One of the hallmarks that Frites had was that they were renowned for their dipping sauces. They had like two dozen of them. The Fish Fry doesn’t have that many, but those they do have are tasty. We particularly like the chili mayo and the curry ketchup. The mayo was perfect for fried food. Spicy, but with that smooth creamy tang any good mayo is known for. The curry ketchup combined the unique spice of curry with the beloved sweet, savory bite of ketchup. You get one sauce for each item you order, so enjoy the dip.
The Fish Fry has been open since early last summer and with their location it certainly has a raucous vibe. The history and backstory of the place also fits right in line with the counter-culture roots of Capitol Hill. Next to Neumo’s, you could stumble into the Fish Fry after a night of drinking or partying and indulge in some good food. This was part of the appeal of Frites.
When we went, The Maldives were doing their thing next door and the hum of guitars and bass were our dinner companions. Capitol Hill has always been one of my favorite neighborhoods in Seattle because it’s so vibrant. It carries the pulse of our city. And it kind of feels that way at the Pike Street Fish Fry. The sizzle of the fryer, the steady foot traffic, the stimuli of the place is awesome.