Starting with one of my trips to Seattle more than 20 years ago, I had noticed that the Seattle area has a distinct love of fish and chips, with the region having more fish and chips joints that I’m accustomed to, even for a fairly large area. Indeed, I’ve remembered more than a few trips out for fish and chips at Spud Fish N’ Chips after having beers with college friends in Kirkland, and even having more than one person in Alki get in an argument over which of the two Alki establishment (another of the Spud locations, or Sunfish just down the way) was the One and True[tm] place for fish and chips. Seeing that our Death March route had us looping around Green Lake in northern Seattle, it seemed almost mandatory that we at least stop by for a quick mid-day snack (at this point, we were right about the nominal halfway point). (And, confession time: we had originally planned to finish at Sunfish for comparison, but we got behind schedule and didn’t make it out there).
The Greenlake Spud was pretty similar to my recollections of both of the other Spud locations: they really pattern themselves after the classic British fish-and-chips model of basically being a shrine to the vat of frying oil: the main part of the restaurant is basically a large counter opposite the several-basket-sized deep fat fryer, with frequent baskets of fries and fish getting dropped in and removed on a regular basis. And while the menu does have a few concessions to people looking for somethign other than cod, the menu basically is “fish and chips”, just varying in the amount (a “single” is a single filet of cod with chips, a double is the same with two filets, etc).
Ordering up a single (since my visit to Spud was already my fourth food stop of the day), it’s refreshing to see that my order results in a fresh filet of fish being taken out of the refrigerated drawer and dredged to-order. After a short time drying after the dredge, into the oil it went, and a few minutes later I was served up a nice serving of fish and chips.
Overall, this was a decent example of some good fish and chips: a nice crisp breading, moist, juicy, and flaky interior without being heavily greasy, this was a good overall fish filet, with a decent set of fries (both being aided nicely with the garlic vinegar and tartar sauce). To be honest, I actually prefer a lighter breading than that sported by Spud; too much breading and it starts to resemble a fish donut, but here, while the breading was a bit heavy, it was still nicely executed.
However, I do have a question for the Seattle crowd: what’s the ownership situation with Spud? Looking at the various, differently-styled websites for most of the different “Spuds” in the Seattle Area, it’s clear that most of them now have differing owners, slightly different menus, and slightly different reviews. Ownership splits? Franchisee splits? Something else? (Just wondering how much of this is like “Ray’s Pizza” in New York that share only a common name, or the various different “Ramunto’s” pizzas around VT/NH that have complicated, overlapping family ownership). In any case, just a curiousity, since I was still rather pleased with the Greenlake Spud.