- West Branch
2178 Broadway, at 77th St.; 212-777-6764
For most New Yorkers, fish and chips is an occasional reckless adventure into the abundant, though perilous, joys of greasiness, instead of a grimly habitual meal. We don’t care about oil-stained wads of newspaper or authentically soft “chips” when we take the fish-and-chips plunge. What we want is grandeur and heft, and the most grandiose fish-and-chips facsimile, these days, is being served at Tom Valenti’s new Upper West Side restaurant West Branch. For $18, you get a giant hunk of fresh hake fried in a paint-thick beer-laced batter. It’s delivered to the table with proper ceremony, atop a mound of well-salted American-style fries. The batter is crunchy though weirdly greaseless, the fries are mercifully crisp, and the fish is tender and pleasingly steamy inside. There’s no old newspaper in sight, but if you wish to behave like a mad Englishman, the house provides a tall bottle of malt vinegar on the side.
Best Fish and Chips
From the 2009 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).