The art of knowing what to order is key to getting a good meal. If the place is called Cheeseburger Palace, don’t order the fish.
Other hints are special menus or chef specials. These are the things chefs really want to prepare. Sometimes the other dishes on the menu are items they have to offer to run a successful business. That’s not your business. Your business as an eater is to find the best thing on the menu and eat it.
WildFin American Grill’s The Daily Catch window on Vancouver’s waterfront looks like the perfect place to get fish and chips, and it is.
As any resident of the Pacific Northwest knows, if you’re given a choice of Alaskan halibut or cod, you get the halibut.
Yes, The Daily Catch has a light but creamy seafood chowder with a nice mix of diced veggies and fish. There’s also the blackberry basil lemonade — a thirst-relieving mouthful of berries tempered with lemonade with just a hint of refreshing fresh basil. (No one wants to drink a cup of pesto.)
But the reason you need to go to The Daily Catch is the Pacific halibut and chips. According to sous chef Adam Collins, the halibut is wild, Alaskan-caught and shipped immediately to Wildfin to ensure the freshest quality.
The freshness and high quality of the halibut is apparent in the first bite. The fish is pearly white, tender, velvety and flaky. It tastes as if it was recently swimming in the Pacific Ocean. The thin coating clings to the succulent flesh as it shatters against your teeth. Well seasoned with salt and pepper, the crisp exterior of the fries encases a creamy potato center.
The menu features other options. I tried the banh mi cod fish taco. This is a prime example of making a poor choice when ordering.
Why get cod when you can get halibut? And why take fresh fish and marinate it in a ginger soy sauce? Why turn a bahn mi sandwich into a taco?
I get it: Korean tacos are wildly popular in other parts of the country so they tried to make a Vietnamese taco. Sometimes oddball combinations work. That isn’t the case here.
The ginger soy marinade was salty and made the fish chewy. The pickled daikon and carrot with fresh cilantro was nice, but the fish-to-pickled vegetable ratio was off with far too many pickled vegetables in each bite. The taco is served on a bed of nacho chips. They looked lonely without their friend, salsa.
Stick to the fish and chips. On a sunny day, you couldn’t do much better than eating The Daily Catch’s halibut and chips while sipping a refreshing blackberry basil lemonade as you bathe in the sun and watch its light play against the waves of the Columbia River.
Email Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow her on Instagram @couveeats and @rachelapinsky. You can follow her on Facebook @couveeats.