Friday, August 31, 2012
Summer Steveston Dinner
Summer is winding down. Single tear. And with many many weekends out of town, I hadn't really had any time to do many quintessential "Summer in Vancouver" activities and meals. With a free Friday, the sous-chef and I decided to meet up with Leah, Adam, and lil' Lucy in Steveston to sit in the sun and eat fish and chips.
There are some options for fish and chips in Steveston, but probably the most visible and popular is the Pajo's chain. There are 2 locations in Steveston, one at the fisherman's wharf and one at Garry Point Park. We picked the location on the wharf for the ambience, seaside feel, and balance of sun and shade. Unlike Granville Island, there were no aggressive seagulls trying to pounce on your meal.
It wasn't too busy when we arrived around 6:30-ish and there was a short line to the window where our orders were taken. It was another short wait (no more than 15 minutes) until our food was ready. You could peek in the window and see 4-5 teenagers huddled over the deep fryers- everything is fried to order.
Leah ordered the Small (1 1/2 pieces) Halibut Fish and Chips for $10.99 (on the left) and Adam ordered the Large (2 1/2 pieces) Cod Fish and Chips for $12.99 (on the right). I love the presentation and details here. They were served in paper rolled into a cone. There are tables and trays with holes at each corner so you can places the cones in, and eat without spilling. Lemon is available in a plastic container on the side of the window and they give you a container of tartar sauce when you grab your order. Other condiments are available to the right by the pop machine. Vinegar, Malt Vinegar, Frank's Hot Sauce, Lemon pepper seasoning, Ketchup, Worchestershire sauce. One big downer- Coleslaw does not come with your order automatically. I'm no fish and chips expert but I thought this was standard and to be expected.
I ordered a Small Fish and Chips with Cod ($9.99) and a side of mushy peas ($1.29). Why mushy peas? Since coleslaw didn't automatically come with the meal, I wanted a vegetable to balance out all of the grease of the fish and chips, and thought I would try something a bit different. The fish was quite tasty. Not too much batter and the fish meat was very soft, flaky, and fresh tasting. The batter was light and crispy for the most part, with a few spots were it was a bit mushy. I had a bite of Leah's Halibut to compare and couldn't really taste too much difference. Texture wise it was thicker and more dense, but I didn't really get any of the usual rich, buttery flavour that comes with Halibut. The fries were disappointing. I found them undercooked, mushy, overly oily, and bland. That being said, Leah and Adam thought they were just fine so maybe they are just inconsistent with their fryers and I got a different batch.
The mushy peas were....lame. It was literally a scoop from a can with zero flavour. I added some Frank's Red Hot Sauce but even that didn't help. Skip this side.
The sous chef went for one of their only healthy options, a Salmon Fish Taco ($9.49). This was one lame looking and overpriced fish taco ESPECIALLY if you were to compare it to Tacofino. It was literally a decent size portion of salmon, wrapped in a supermarket large tortilla with some shredded cabbage slaw. This was definitely overpriced and extremely underwhelming.
I did enjoy my "summer time" meal. It was greasy, crunchy, indulgent, and I loved eating on the water in the sun with people I love. I don't think this is THE BEST fish and chips. I think they are famous because they've been around for a long time and have a recognizable name in the community. Go for the atmosphere and reasonable expectations and you'll have a nice meal.
I also have to note that we capped off our meals with a delicious new dessert treat- a SCREAMER! Have you ever wondered what would happen when ice cream and slurpee are mixed together? I hadn't until the small Screamer's Soft Serve Booth near the wharf caught my eye. They sell servings f slurpee layered with soft serve vanilla ice cream. Adam ordered an Orange Crush (which tasted like a creamsicle), Leah ordered a root beer, and I ordered a Lime Crush Mini Screamer ($2.00). I loved my Screamed, the slightly sour lime was great balance to the thick, creamy soft serve and the flavours came together beautifully as it started to melt. The mini is the perfect treat size.