Food & Drink > The Fast Foodie
Too soon to keel-haul: Reasons for Mr. Cod
When I see superlatives, Iím driven to challenge them. Best taco, top 10 burgers, worst salad, I have to eat them all. So when I saw that Mr. Codís website claims they serve ďUKís Most Famous Fish & Chips,Ē I demanded a plate. Then I tried a few other dishes. The results suggest Mr. Codís advertising team was wise to limit their claim to one dish.
If you get the famous fish and chips, youíll find that the fish strips are crisp and the meat flaky. Theyíre great with malt vinegar, which is on every table, as well as cocktail and tartar sauces. The chips are on the salty side, but that goes well with all the vinegar youíll be sprinkling on the plate. Even though thereís a lot of fish on the menu at Mr. Cod, my advice to would-be diners is to cleave to the cod. The Pollack fish strips look about the same as the cod, but my order was mushy on the inside. Ditto the crab cakes, which reminded me of brown hockey pucks ó bizarrely uniform and even. The crab meat was soggy and greasy in the middle despite great flavor.
The rest of the seaís bounty processed by Mr. Codís fast-food apparatus was similarly challenged. The calamari was nicely spiced, though a bit chewy. If youíre getting shrimp, order the full-size, not the popcorn. The large fried shrimp are firm and crisp, but the popcorn shrimp come out, well, flaccid. I fared better with the Baja fish tacos, which contained cilantro and chipotle mayo. Each taco comes in two corn tortillas, which I appreciate, since most store-bought corn tortillas fall apart the moment you touch them. They were noticeably spicy, pretty crisp, and clean-tasting.
Health warning: If youíve ever suffered a coronary or think another injection of grease could put you at risk, you might want to stick to the tacos. Almost everything on the menu here is fried and yellow. This may seem obvious, but in these litigious times, I donít want to be sued if you keel over after consuming an entire sampler plate of deep-fried fish ó I canít afford to buy Plavix for all you Current readers.
Itís never a good sign when it takes 40 minutes to get a plate of fried food. Especially when youíre one of 10 people in the whole restaurant. I have no idea why it took so long, but it appears Mr. Cod hasnít gotten its sea legs yet. Owner Josť Luis Gonzalez Roa tells me the location opened a scant seven months ago and theyíre still in the process of acquiring their liquor license. Certainly a beer would help pass the time while you wait for your fish and chips.
As a friend said, ďMr. Cod is about as British as Fosterís is Australian.Ē But is that a bad thing? Not really. Lack of authenticity can be forgiven if itís cheap. For the price of three gallons of gas, you can get chips, popcorn shrimp, calamari, a fish strip, and a fish taco. For a full SUV tank, you can get a bounty of fish, calamari, hush puppies, chips, and even pie. That doesnít mean Mr. Cod deserves a Michelin star, but in these tough economic times, letís face it, cheap counts.
5890 De Zavala
11am-9pm Mon-Sat, closed Sun