I've been eating fish and chips from Kearny my entire life -- and that's a long time. When my dad was alive, he knew the best places to get fish and chips (he was a long time Harrison resident). Our favorite place was Kerr's -- and it was always a rare treat to eat in this non-elegant eatery where the fishermen would bring in their catch slung over their shoulders.
Like I said, that was a long time ago. The second all-time best was Argyle's. I've been eating there for the last 40 or so years -- always a place I'd go to when I was craving the nostalgia of my youth, but one of the best fresh fish and chips places ever. Until recently. Last year I made my annual trek to Argyle's, all set to indulge in a meal that I considered consistently terrific. I've brought family and friends, and business associates, luring them with stories of the best seafood with the crunchiest batter dip ever -- not to be replicated in the contiguous 48 states. However, with the first bite, I knew that the old recipe had been tampered with -- whether it was the batter, the seasonings, or the public clammering for a healthier way to make this stuff -- it was a brutal and bitter disappointment. I left feeling very cheated. The price is still great for a full meal, but the quality has dramatically changed. Now I'm on a mission to find the right place with the right ingredients. Too bad, Argyle's, you lost a faithful friend!
"Beautiful fried fish emerges from the fry kettle at the head of the Argyle dining room. The "chips" on the side are regular French fries, ready to be spritzed with a little malt vinegar."
"Hard-boiled, wrapped in sausage, breaded and deep fried: Scotch eggs are a dish not found in too many American restaurants we know!"
"Sweet and spicy, sopped with custard, clootie dumpling is a sort of deconstructed bread pudding."