Phish-a-licious Fish & Chips
Even though it doesn't come with an ocean view, Phish-a-licious Fish & Chips has the three P's — proximity, portion and price — in its favor.
In August, the restaurant moved into the small building at 1830 W. Main St., Medford, that was formerly occupied by Terry's Broaster Chicken. It's easy to miss unless you're looking for Medford's iconic Black Bird. The restaurant shares a parking lot with "your indoor-outdoor store."
Owner Phyllis Robbins runs the little eatery with her family, including her sons, daughter-in-law, and nieces and nephews. Before returning "home" to Southern Oregon in July, Robbins sold her large Mexican and American food restaurant in Arizona where one of her most popular dishes was (drumroll) fish and chips.
Robbins decided to capitalize on this British comfort food on her new menu, which also includes shrimp and chips, a fish sandwich, a bacon cheeseburger and three types of tacos.
Meats she gets from Cherry Street Meats, and the house salsa, pico de gallo, tarter sauce and coleslaw she makes herself.
In the last month, my husband and I made two attempts to visit the restaurant, but both times it was closed. (Hours, we learned, are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.) As always, third time's a charm, and we were able to sneak in at 6:30 p.m. just before the restaurant closed.
Robbins and her son were already mopping the floors and washing dishes when we arrived but happily accommodated us latecomers.
I ordered Robbins' specialty ($9.50). The fish came in a paper-lined cardboard concession basket with a large pile of fries and small containers of tarter sauce and coleslaw. There were six fish fillets, each coated in a tempura-style egg batter that created a light rather than crunchy envelope for the flaky, white Alaskan cod.
Two pieces of the same battered cod appeared on Sean's fish taco ($3.50) with guacamole, yogurt-chipotle sauce, shredded cabbage, diced onions, cilantro, cheese and lime juice. I was surprised the small flour tortilla could bear the weight.
Sean also ordered three carne asada tacos ($2 each or three for $5) which came with a similar mess of condiments and pieces of barely warm steak.
Fish and chips proved to be the restaurant's forte.
Phish-a-licious is small with only three booths sitting practically in the kitchen, close enough to hear the crackle of the oil in the fryer.
Nearby, The Wharf, which locals voted their favorite seafood restaurant in the Mail Tribune's annual Readers' Choice poll, also serves fish and chips, but there $9.99 only buys you two beer-battered Alaskan cod fillets. While I do prefer the malty flavor of The Wharf's batter, its spicier tarter sauce and its steak fries, the portion and price at Phish-a-licious can't be beat by its fellow West Medford fish shop.
— Teresa Thomas