Fish Type: Catfish Price: $13.20
Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Good|
Potato Score: Good
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Poor
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: I used to travel to California on business pretty regularly. More often than not those trips would take a week or two and I'd inevitably miss out on at least one Fish Fry while I was there. It cut me to the bone each and every time it happened, but I eventually resolved to do something about it. My solution was to A) eat as much fish as possible while I was home, and B) make every attempt to find a legitimate Cali Fish Fry, which turned out to be a fool's errand. I can honestly say I never found anything remotely comparable to a real Wisconsin Fish Fry and and when it came time to revisit the West Coast this year I was lamenting my Friday situation to say the least.
Most of my previous excursions to Cali were to wine country so for the most part I was stationed in NorCal. This time we were LA bound and I did everything I could to find the best "Fish Fry" place in the metro, and I think I may have actually done it. Fisherman's Outlet has plenty of favorable reviews on-line and since we were confined to a hotel room I figured getting a delivery was far and away the best option if I actually wanted fish. Of course, travel in LA is always daunting, and despite the fact the place was only 10 blocks or so from our hotel the delivery took a while to get there so the fish wasn't exactly scalding hot - this was to be expected. Still, for a Cali Fry it had almost all the basics of a real Wisconsin Fish Fry covered so I dug right in to the "Fish" fillets and the Catfish "fingers."
While calling them fingers was a bit of a stretch, the small chunks were definitely real catfish. Typically the bottom-feeders will have some sort of spicy Cajun seasoning on them, but these were dusted with tempura style breadcrumbs that didn't have any zing. The flavor that came through was still fine, but without the spice there wasn't much there for mushy fish to fall back on. There were no specifics given as to the other type of fish, but if I were a betting man I'd guess it was Pollock. That said, Pollock typically has dark and oily meat and this stuff as fairly white and flaky so I can't be sure. What I can be sure of is the breading that enrobed the fish was crunchy and delicious despite its lengthy travel time. It had a unique flavor that made me stand up and take notice.
A handful of basic fries sat under the fish, and were fairly soggy by the time I got my own hands on them. Regardless, they, like the fish, did what the needed to do and were bolstered by some surprisingly good tartar. This secret sauce had plenty of zip and was head and shoulders above the commercial versions like Kraft, which is honestly what I was expecting to find when I lifted the lid. It looked and tasted homemade, and I think it was since the tasty slaw had a similar flair (although a slightly less appetizing appearance). As per usual, this wasn't a genuine "Fish Fry" so there was no bread to be found, but hell, half of the real Fish Frys out there are cutting back on the bread anyway so I wasn't really expecting any anyway.
While this wasn't a Fish Fry in the purest sense of the word, it was about the closest thing I've ever had in California so I have to give FO some serious credit. Of course, it can't hold a candle to our local bars or supper clubs, but if you want some decent fish-n-chips and you're in Downtown LA it's certainly worth a stop. Overall, we don't really recommend this Fish Fry, but it's probably not something anyone reading this will ever have to worry about anyway.
529 South Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90013