Today’s readers choose the region’s best fish and chips

June 21—Forget basketball. The kind of support food lovers can find behind is what The Day has curated, on the area’s best lobster rolls, burgers, pizzas and breakfasts.

The latest focus? Fish and chips. The day just held “Fish & Chips Madness,” where readers could have their say on which restaurant serves their favorite version of this staple.

Readers of The Day initially nominated 64 locations, all located in southeast Connecticut or southern Rhode Island. These venues were set up in a bracket, with competitions taking place over six rounds. The possibilities have been reduced.

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 overall winner was – wait for it – Flanders Fish Market.

The Day sent four of its reporters to each of the last four sites to report on their experience eating 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 region for decades. The seafood market-restaurant combo attracts all kinds of diners looking to cook their own delicious food at home, or enjoy the nautical atmosphere over a plate of fish and chips.

Speaking of which, fish and chips from Flanders is well deserving of its win. Finely cut and fried white fish offers a delicious blend of fresh tenderloin and homemade batter – house or beer – that couldn’t be crispier. For $11-$13, the fried fish platter is a wonderful meal at a bargain 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 tasty. The restaurant certainly uses its fish market to its advantage and must select the best fillets possible. I cannot stress enough the importance of freshness for any successful seafood dish: Flanders hits the mark.

And the fish is not the only star of the plate. The accompanying fries make the meal even more interesting. No one wants soggy fries with their fish; you won’t have to worry about it at the market.

The fish and chips comes with tartar sauce and coleslaw which goes well together. They’re a great addition, if you’re a fan.

Congratulations to Flanders’ Fish Market for being our readers’ top choice!

—Sarah Sylvester

The Fisherman at Long Point

937 Groton Long Point Road, Groton

Le Pêcheur reopened under new management in 2020, a much-anticipated return for the restaurant after several years of closure. The picturesque surroundings and the quality of the fish and chips clearly show why diners were so eager for this seaside spot to reopen.

I ordered my fish and chips ($22) to go, eating them across the street at Esker Point Beach. The fries, although well flavored, weren’t as crispy as I would have liked, but the fish more than made up for it. Just by looking at the fish I could tell 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 were telling me. The fish inside was wonderfully tender and flaky.

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

—Erica Moser

of Captain Scott

80 Hamilton Street, New London

Captain Scott’s is one of the area’s seafood destinations. Want a scallop roll? Go here. A lobster roll? You can not be wrong.

It’s no surprise, then, that Captain Scott’s version of fish and chips was a favorite with Day readers.

What you will notice first when ordering is that the portions are generous. The two-piece option ($15.95) is substantial, complete with fries and coleslaw. But what’s so appealing is that the fish tastes wonderfully fresh and the coating feels light and airy. (Fish and chips so often go bad 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

At the water’s edge

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

When I was young, I was a radio ham. Somehow, in the late fall of 1991, I was able to pick up a MAYDAY message from a Gloucester, Mass. swordfish boat called the Andrea Gail, which was taken in a Nor’easter now known as Halloween Gale. Communication was scrambled, but I could make out the words: “Tell him he misses me (static). And (static) fish and chips at On the Waterfront (static) – ondon, Connecti (transmission lost) me lack.”

But I knew what the condemned captain meant. The fish and chips ($16) at On the Waterfront in New London ARE sensational. Two huge chunks of wharf cod on a pile of steak fries with a side of tangy/sweet/not gooey coleslaw. The fried batter is thin and brittle, with a malty taste that breaks into powdery flavor particles when you bite into the delicate white fish. It’s a wonderful blend of flavor and texture. To squeeze some lemon over the plate, stick your fork into a large piece of fish so that an underling’s fry is also attached to the trident, THEN slip it all into the fresh tartar sauce before place it on your tongue? No wonder a sailor drowned in an unparalleled weather storm died raving about this dish!

—Rick Koster

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