Portland >Hawthorne Fish House
Portland's Best? Not really..
First, to address the waitstaff. We absconded another table's waitress after the gentleman who seated us, took our order and brought our food and drinks, wandered off and stood at the bar after we asked for more tartar sauce. No water refills offered, and when flagged him down and we asked him, this he also forgot. Thank you, young lady, for at least getting us the tartar sauce, and our bill after you saw that he was neglecting his table.
Second, the food. 2 orders of halibut fish & chips. At $21.50 per order, "market value," we didn't expect if to be good, we expected if to be DAMN good.
It wasn't. "Not bad," sure, but we can get better at Burgerville for less money, served in the same plastic basket, with better french fries. They may brag about the rice flour coating they cook it in, but the thing about rice flour is that it tends to repel malt vinegar. No good. Panko breading does the trick and adds a nice crispness. Too "ordinary" for the "Keep Portland Weird" crowd? That's too bad, because it would have made the fish better. The fish itself was cooked well enough, not overdone, tasted... just OK.
We decided that the next time we want "Portland's Best Fish & Chips," we'll spend the same amount of money driving out to the coast and eating much better fare. Horse Brass has better. Newport Bay has better.
Great sustainable fishery restaurant. Terrific food and really reasonably priced. Excellent service. They acted like they really cared about you as a customer. Will visit again soon! We recommend the oysters.
Great food, good prices. Me and my girlfriend come here all of the time. We always order the fried cheese curds and cod or halibut (perch and walleye are also really good). The rice flour breading is really good and beats the hell out typical fish and chips breading. The prices here are also pretty we usually walk away full for less than $20.
Putting this place into our rotation. Nothing fancy, no huge wine list or selection of beers, but the food is really, really tasty! I wouldn't consider drinking anything other than a PBR with my fish fry, anyway. I'm from Wisconsin, and this is the closest I've come to enjoying a midwest style fish fry - a Friday night staple around the Great Lakes - since moving to Portland 21 years ago. The walleye and perch were as tasty as any I've had on occasional trips back to Milwaukee. No gooey, thick beer batter - just a light coating of rice flour and seasonings and the fish is moist and perfectly cooked, and the coating was crunchy, not at all greasy. Just had to order a combination so I could taste 4 different fish - I normally don't care for catfish, but the tangy, crispy coating made me a fan. Fries are crispy and full of flavor. Dinner salad crisp, cold and fresh. Next time we go, I'm trying the clam chowder and calamari. Heard they serve a mean crab/pepper chowder, too. The tab was $37 for the 2 of us - that's with a beer, shot of Jack Daniels, salads, entrees and sodas. I'm always happy to find another great place for good eats in our neighborhood. Wish he had tried it sooner!
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