Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Frying Scotsman

When a guy gives his business a name that's a bad (though appropriate) pun, who am I to argue? And when he dishes out some of the best British-style fish and chips (or Scottish, as the case may be) to be found in the Northwest, then I'm happy to call him whateve he likes.

James King is just that guy and his cart, The Frying Scotsman, is just that kind of place. My friend Ivy agreed to join me on an expedition to a part of NW Portland that has neither the Pearl's Rodeo Drive drive or the upscale-gone-downscale of 23rd. I'd heard that "Slim Jim," as he's known to friends, was frying up and dishing out some fine product from his converted vacation trailer parked in a small garage (complete with roll-up door), and we were not disappointed.

He offers the usual cod and halibut, but also features more unusual choices like red snapper, mahi mahi and even haddock, a fish that I'd only seen in New England, as well as a salmon special on the day we were there. Each order is well under ten bucks and comes with house-made coleslaw, rich and creamy, and a more-than-decent tartar sauce.

Chips are of the plank variety, but still crisp and well-cooked, and the thickish batter is crunchy on the outside and meltingly tender on the inside. It has the added benefit of staying with the fish rather than other versions where after one bite the fish falls out leaving you holding a soggy envelope of half-cooked batter.

There are only two tables under cover, so if all the spots are spoken for, you can either eat in your car or sit on the curb. But this spot is worth the trip if you're a die-hard fish'n'chips lover, and James' lilting Scottish accent and shy smile only add to the attraction.

Details: The Frying Scotsman, 2219 NW Raleigh. 503-706-3841.

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