Rarely, a restaurant in the Twin Cities opens that needs no review, mainly because every person who would consider going to it already has by the time a review hits the stands. The Anchor Fish & Chips is one of those rare restaurants: It’s a simple fish-and-chips spot with a handful of good beers on tap, the appealing décor of a well-lived-in bar (ornate tin ceilings, lots of rich warm wood), and not a heck of a lot else. Yet people wait for two hours for a table. Why? The fish in those fish and chips is sustainably sourced, wild-caught Alaskan cod—big, fat, luscious pieces the likes of which I never see. (These days, it’s especially important cod be sustainable. Eating trawl-caught Atlantic American cod is the moral equivalent of eating dodo birds.) The chips that arrive alongside are nothing special, just greasy placeholders really.
There’s not too much more on the menu. Deep-fried lumps of meat-studded dough are evidently the Scottish version of a pasty, and good in an Indian taco/meaty-funnel-cake sort of way: that is, tasty if you’re not one of those people who stresses out about eating funnel cakes for dinner. They also offer a nice curry sauce to dump over your chips, and a decent burger. However, as I mentioned, most people reading this review have already been there, and likely will have cleaved into two camps: Those who love it and think it’s the best new restaurant on earth, and those who think that Brit’s Pub’s fish and chips is better, but who will keep going to the Anchor anyway.
What can I add to the dialogue about a restaurant that needs no review? Only this: Isn’t it wonderful when a restaurant focuses like a laser beam on one thing and does it well? This is true of some of the other greatest restaurants in town, like Punch Neapolitan with pizza or Brasa Rotisserie with barbecue. Expertise: a trend whose time has come?
The Anchor Fish & Chips
302 13th Ave. NE, Mpls., 612-676-1300, Theanchorfishandchips.com
Open Tuesday–Friday 4 p.m.–1 a.m.; Saturday–Sunday 10 a.m.–2 p.m., 4 p.m.–1 a.m.