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Where Y’Eat: Angling for Fish and Chips Around St. Patrick’s Day

 Fish and chips at the Delachaise
Ian McNulty
Fish and chips at the Delachaise

Great fried seafood is not exactly hard to find in New Orleans, and during Lent fried fish in particular is everywhere and deeply ritualized.

But proper fish and chips? That’s an altogether different story. St. Patrick’s Day stirs the hunger for a dish that can be nostalgia in a basket for expats and wistful world travelers, evoking the dark wood and burnished brass of the pub, the natural habitat for fish and chips.

It remains a scarce item around New Orleans, but I’ve found some new contenders out there.

Duke Walter’s is the name of the new kitchen now operating inside Finn McCool’s’s Irish Pub in Mid-City. St. Patrick’s Day itself is huge at this de facto Irish embassy. So the kitchen will have a different menu without fish and chips that day. But any other day you’ll find a fine rendition, with Alaskan cod in beer batter for a coating with a two-part texture, both puffy and filigreed at the end with darker bits.

Also new is the fish and chips served every Friday at the The Avenue Pub, the Uptown beer bar. The chips are fried in beef fat for a richer flavor in each crisp bite.

Up in Covington, The Greyhound is a European-style gastro pub where fish and chips made with local hake fits right in.

There are some wild cards. MoPho is doing Vietnamese riff these days with a coconut milk marinade and audibly rigid chips. Then there’s the fish and chips sandwich at the wonderfully-named Bertie’s Intergalactic Diner, a pop up inside the bar and music venue Carrollton Station, where the fish is encased in pancake batter.

But then to dial it back to tradition, the Uptown wine bar The Delachaise cooks its cod in goose fat, just like the chips, with smashing, crunchy, puffy, fish-clinging effect.

Great. Now I’m hungry, and thirsty. So please start another pint of Guinness and as its seductive cascade of bubbles settles, let’s turn these erstwhile fries into chips and thank cod for simple pleasures.

Ian covers food culture and dining in New Orleans through his weekly commentary series Where Y’Eat.