With the chilly temperatures settling in to stay, there is nothing more crave-worthy than a piping hot plateful of comfort food. For the last few years, my go-to for a delicious, satisfying, comforting meal has been The Anchor Fish & Chips on 13th Avenue NE in Minneapolis.
“How would you guys feel about an Erte/Anchor combo?,” I texted my sister-in-law (Minneapolite!) Elizabeth, last Friday. My husband was out of town for work so I knew I needed an easy sell to convince Liz and Al to keep my lonesome self company on a Friday night. Sure enough, they were more than game; Al invited our friend Steve to make it an even group of four.
We met at the Peacock Lounge at Erte, across the street, for a some happy hour drinks. Once we were sufficiently liquored and loosed at Erte, we crossed 13th Ave to the Anchor to get ourselves some dinner. The Anchor is a tiny place, with a counter that seats maybe eight people, about a half-dozen small two-person tables, and a couple of booths. On a busy night, all of the tables will be filled and a dozen or so people will be tucked into the cramped entryway and along the crowded counter drinking a Guinness or Harp while waiting for a table. If you want to be smart about it on a busy night, get your name in at the Anchor first and then plan to while away the hour-or-more wait time at the nearby 331 Club or Peacock Lounge. Just be sure to get yourself back to Anchor in time for when your table is ready, or you’ll get passed over!
Having gotten our name on the list at 8pm and quoted an hour wait-time, we spent another 45 minutes at Erte and then returned at 8:50 to find that we still would have about 30 more minutes to wait for a four-person booth. No worries! It’s all part of the Anchor experience. I have never felt that the host was doing any less than a stellar job managing the heavy traffic they receive. The guys picked up some beers from the counter and we made a few new friends in the close-quarters of the entryway.
By the time we got our booth, we were ravenous and ready to order. Fish & Chips ($8.95) are the obvious choice –rule of thumb: if it’s in the name of the restaurant, it’s got to be good! Alex swears by the Helicopter Burger ($11) –a grass-fed beef burger with Irish cheddar, ham, and a fried egg (over-easy if you know what’s good for you). It was named CityPages “Best Burger,” in 2010 so have no fear of being scoffed at for ordering a burger at a fish & chips place.
The waitstaff at Anchor are welcoming and hospitable. Phillip and I probably dine here once every couple of months and usually end up with a server who remembers us and sometimes even what we like to order (two orders of fish, one order of chips to share, two tartar sauce sides). That personal touch truly lends Anchor a neighborly atmosphere that people return for again and again.
The delicious food doesn’t hurt the return business either.
My fish & chips were perfect, as always. The giant slab of wild Alaskan cod comes out moist, flaky, and delicately battered in a crisp, golden crust. The hand-cut chips are exactly how I like them: thick and meaty (by the way, “Best Fries 2011″ belongs to these bad boys). Of course I smother my entire meal in the white vinegar on the table to enjoy it all in the authentic Irish fashion. Be sure to order a side of the phenomenal house-made tartar sauce as well ($.50 extra) for dunking both the fish and the chips.
I have to mention that Phillip and I took a trip to the Atlantic coast of Ireland this spring and got to experience a local-recommended real-deal fish & chips place not far from the coastal city of Galway. We followed the directions to what felt like the middle of nowhere and walked into a no-frills counter service take-out place, stuffed with locals picking up their dinner. While those fish & chips were absolutely incredible, when we compared them to the Anchor we both agreed that Anchor actually might have a slight edge over what we tasted in Ireland. I think the tartar sauce was the tie breaker.
So save yourself the cost of a trans-Atlantic plane ticket and the hassle of jet-lag. Get the genuine Irish experience at the Anchor right here in Minneapolis.
Blood-red walls displaying a rotating cast of local art, hammered-tin ceiling with black-painted exposed pipes, portholes, dark wood and black tile accents. I’ll call it “hipster-fisherman industrial-chic.”
Fast, friendly, and personable.
The crispy-golden batter is a beautiful sight, even when served simply on wax paper in baskets.
Delicious, and almost everything used is locally sourced (except the Alaskan cod, of course). It’s not for nothing that Anchor was the only Midwestern restaurant to be named one of “America’s Best Seafood” by U.S. News & World Report.
Value for Dollars
Almost everything on the menu is less than $10; very reasonably priced and absolutely worthwhile.
But don’t take my word for it!
The Anchor Fish & Chips
302 13th Ave NE
Mpls, MN 55413
First come first served
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