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    Friday, August 19, 2022

    Day readers decide the best fish and chips in the region

    Flanders Fish Market’s fish and chips (Sarah Sylvester/Special to The Day)
    Day readers decide the best fish and chips in the region

    Forget basketball. The kind of bracket that food fans can get behind are the ones that The Day has been running, about the best lobster rolls, burgers, pizza and breakfasts in the region.

    The latest focus? Fish and chips. The Day just held "Fish & Chips Madness," where readers could have their say on which eatery serves their favorite version of that staple.

    The Day's readers first nominated 64 places, all in southeastern Connecticut or southern Rhode Island. Those venues were set up in a bracket, with competitions taking place over the course of six rounds. Possibilities were narrowed down.

    And then there were four. We ended up with these finalists: Flanders Fish Market in East Lyme; Captain Scott's in New London; The Fisherman at Long Point in Groton; and On the Waterfront in New London.

    The final victor was — wait for it — Flanders Fish Market.

    The Day sent four of its reporters out to each of the final four sites to report back on their experience noshing on the fish and chips. Here's what they had to say. 

    Flanders Fish Market

    22 Chesterfield Road, East Lyme

    Flanders Fish has been a legendary favorite in this area for decades. The seafood market-restaurant combo attracts all sorts of diners looking to cook up their own delicious food at home, or to enjoy the nautical atmosphere over a plate of fish and chips.

    Speaking of which, Flanders' fish and chips is well-deserving of its victory. The thin-cut and fried white fish offers a delightful mix of fresh filet and homemade batter — either house or beer — that couldn't be more crispy. For $11-$13, the fried fish platter makes a wonderful meal for a wonderful price.

    Having been featured on the Food Network in the past, Flanders really emphasizes the "fish" in its name. The white fish used is perfectly cooked and very flavorful. The restaurant certainly uses its fish market to its advantage, and must select the best filets they possibly can. I can't stress enough how important freshness is for any successful seafood dish: Flanders definitely hits the mark.

    And the fish isn't the only star on the plate. The French fries served with it makes the meal even more worth it. No one wants soggy chips with their fish; you won't have to worry about that at the market.

    The fish and chips comes with tartar sauce and coleslaw that pairs well. They're a great addition, if you're a fan.

    Congrats to Flanders' Fish Market for being the first choice of our readers!

    — Sarah Sylvester

    The Fisherman at Long Point

    937 Groton Long Point Road, Groton

    The Fisherman reopened under new management in 2020, a highly anticipated return for the restaurant after several years closed. Both the scenic environment and the quality of the fish and chips make it obvious why diners were so eager for this seaside spot to reopen.

    I ordered my fish and chips ($22) takeout, eating them across the street at Esker Point Beach. The fries, though flavored well, were not quite as crisp as I would've liked, but the fish more than made up for it. I could tell just by looking at the fish that it was fried to perfection, with a golden brown coating and crispy edges creating the perfect shell — and my taste buds confirmed what my eyes told me. The fish inside was wonderfully tender and flaky.

    Heck, I was even impressed by the flavor of the tartar sauce. Sometimes it's the little things.

    — Erica Moser

    Captain Scott's

    80 Hamilton St., New London

    Captain Scott's is one of THE destinations in the region for seafood. You want a scallop roll? Go here. A lobster roll? You can't go wrong.

    So it's no surprise that Captain Scott's version of fish and chips was one of the favorites among Day readers.

    What you'll first notice when ordering is that the portions are generous. The two-piece option ($15.95) is substantial, accompanied by sides of fries and cole slaw. But what is so beguiling is that the fish tastes wonderfully fresh, and the coating seems light and airy. (Fish and chips so often go awry because the fried element monopolizes the dish, burying the flavor of the fish.)

    They provide a slice of lemon and a small container of tartar sauce, to use as accents as you wish.

    — Kristina Dorsey

    On the Waterfront

    It's one of the great maritime coincidences since Coleridge stowed away on a ship hoping to shoot albatrosses with his bow and arrow!

    As a young man, I was a ham radio operator. Somehow, in late fall 1991, I was able to pick up a MAYDAY message from a Gloucester, Mass., swordfish boat called the Andrea Gail that was caught in a Nor'easter now known as the Halloween Gale. The communication was garbled, but I was able to make out the words, "Tell ma I (static) her. And (static) miss the fish and chips at On the Waterfront (static) — ondon, Connecti (lost transmission)."

    But I knew what the doomed skipper meant. The fish and chips ($16) at On the Waterfront in New London ARE sensational. Two huge hunks of off-the-dock cod atop a pile of steak fries with a side of tart/sweet/not goopy coleslaw. The quick-fried batter is thin and brittle, with a malty taste that distintigrates into powdery flavor particles as you bite into the delicate white fish. It's a wonderful amalgam of flavors and texture. To squeeze a bit of lemon over the plate, stab your fork through a hunk of fish so that an underling fry is also secured on the trident, THEN swipe it all into the fresh tartar sauce before placing it on your tongue? It's no surprise a mariner drowning in an unequaled meteorological storm-bomb went to his death rhapsodizing about this dish!

    — Rick Koster

    The Fisherman at Long Point's fish and chips (Erica Moser/The Day)
    Fish and chips from On the Waterfont in New London (Rick Koster/The Day)
    The fish and chips served at Captain Scott’s in New London (Kristina Dorsey/The Day)

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