CVIndependent

Sun04052020

Last updateFri, 03 Apr 2020 5pm

What: The fish ’n’ chips with Pacific cod

Where: O’Caine’s Irish Pub, 36101 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage

How much: $20 for 9 ounces, as pictured

Contact: 760-202-3311; www.ocainesirishpub.com

Why: It’s crispy, moist and tasty.

There are few food things more pleasant to me than biting into a perfectly prepared piece of beer-battered fish.

First, there’s the crunch, the saltiness and the subtle beer flavor from the batter. Then comes the warm, soft fish; there are so many varied tastes and textures in each and every bite.

Of course, “chips”—french fries—are a perfect companion. The mouth-feel starts off similarly—with crunch and saltiness—but then the potato ends up being completely different in terms of flavor and texture.

Is there any wonder fish-and-chips is such a classic bar/pub food? No, it’s no wonder at all.

One of the better versions of this dish I’ve had in the Coachella Valley is at O’Caine’s Irish Pub, which opened a year ago in the same shopping center as Gelson’s in Rancho Mirage. While O’Caine’s also offers both jumbo shrimp (six pieces for $25) and Nova Scotia salmon (8 ounces for $25) under the “fish and chips” banner, during my recent lunch visit, I went the traditional route—and I was hungry, so I got the larger portion (as opposed to the 6-ounce portion for $2 less).

When my food came, I was pleasantly surprised: The pieces of cod were huge, and came with lots of medium-cut fries and a small cup of “minty pea coleslaw.” While I was hungry when I started my meal, I couldn’t even finish it all.

Not only was I impressed by the food at O’Caine’s; I was also impressed by the service, the décor and the vibe. O’Caine’s is a fun place serving up delicious food and drink—and I’ll definitely be back for more of those delicious fish ’n’ chips.

Published in The Indy Endorsement

What: The fish and chips

Where: Atlantic Fish and Chips, 73850 Highway 111, Suite B, Palm Desert

How much: Mini (two pieces, as shown) is $7.99

Contact: 760-568-5066

Why: It’s a near-perfect version of the classic platter.

Atlantic Fish and Chips has been around for many years; it was fast casual before fast casual was cool, in fact.

However, I’d never managed to make it there myself—that is, until I found myself near the hole-in-the-wall restaurant at lunch time on a recent weekday. It was time for me to devour some fried food, and Atlantic indeed offers all sorts of fried goodies, including shrimp, clam strips, mushrooms, zucchini, onion rings and hush puppies. There are even fried Oreos for dessert ($3).

But I was there for the fish and chips. That’s part of the restaurant’s name, after all.

After getting some advice from the personable woman behind the counter, I decided to get the “mini” fish and chips: two pieces of breaded and fried wild Alaskan pollock, plus fries and a little cup o’ coleslaw. Despite the “mini” moniker, this was plenty of food—and I am not a light eater. If you are a light eater, one piece plus the fries and coleslaw will cost you $5.49; for more gluttonous eaters, three pieces cost $10.99, while four cost $13.75.

While the coleslaw was good, and the chips were pretty average, the fish pieces were fantastic. They were moist and perfectly cooked; the batter was flavorful and crunchy. I have eaten many versions of fish and chips that were foiled by greasiness—which makes sense, considering the stuff is immersed in oil—but Atlantic’s fish was excellent: The oil was definitely present, but it was far from being overwhelming or annoying.

Atlantic Fish and Chips has been around for a long time for a good reason: The food is excellent. If it continues to be excellent, something tells me Atlantic Fish and Chips will be around for many more years to come, too.

Published in The Indy Endorsement