What’s this?! A title picture of a plate of clearly deep-fried, battered fish and chips? Have I finally lost my patience and sanity with having to be constantly gluten-free and gluten-vigilant, and decided to trash my intestines in a huge gastronomic temper tantrum?
Why, no…not at all 🙂
I have discovered deep fried pescatarian heaven. And this heaven has a name that should be on the lips of every Toronto-area Celiac that has bemoaned their deep-fried deprivation: Off The Hook Fish and Chips, at Broadview just south of Danforth in Toronto’s The Danforth neighborhood.
When Yelp reports that 100% of people reported it Celiac-safe, I knew that I had to try it out. Off The Hook Fish & Chips is a rocker-cool space, with 80s hair band record album covers on the walls, eclectic lighting (even a crystal chandelier!), and graffiti-art accents. Très urban cool.
The hip young wait staff is friendly and knowledgeable, immediately getting me a tin cup to sip the house water (in recycled quart beer bottles…fun!), and a menu where you choose your seafood item, then choose your batter. There are separate deep fryers for the glutenous and gluten-free batters, and never the ‘twain shall meet. This means that Celiacs and regular people can actually enjoy a deep-fried meal together ,without worry of lengthy kitchen instructions to avoid cross-contamination! Yes folks, it’s really that simple. Why other restaurants haven’t clued into this concept is baffling, as my delightful server reported that 50% of their customers are Celiacs–brilliant, brilliant market-capture! The owner is only 27 years old, and has owned this restaurant for five years…much respect for his vision and ingenuity.
After debating between the deep-fried calamari (they also offer it grilled) and the fish and chips, I ordered the Halibut and chips with the coleslaw side, at a reasonable $17. It arrived quickly, with a perfect, evenly-golden crust, on top of the bed of fries. I quickly moved the fish off the fries, as I recall always hating fishy, grease-soaked French fries. I didn’t have to worry: there was no greasiness whatsoever! I was very impressed.
After dressing my battered fish with lemon and they gluten-free tartar sauce, I cut into it, pleasantly surprised by the thick, generous portion of perfectly prepared halibut that I’d received. It was absolutely delicious, and I ate every bite. Only five French fries remained on my plate, as I was just too full to fit them in.
So if you’re ever in Toronto and have a hankering for deep-fried seafood, I’d absolutely suggest Off The Hook…a perfect description for how good your casual dining meal will be!