Tugboat Fish & Chips
● By Wendy Sipple
Photo by Dante Fontana
My date and I were talking one weekend and realized that we hadn’t eaten any good pub-style fish and chips since we lived in Santa Barbara years ago.
With that in mind, I did a little Web search and happened upon Tugboat Fish & Chips in Folsom. You wouldn’t think by its appearance, but the joint is actually a local chain – not to be confused with Long John’s.
Upon walking in the very clean restaurant, you get the feeling of being inside a cozy wharf eatery with wood flooring and the ever-present nets and fish décor. And, there’s everything on the menu that you’d expect to find in a London-style fish restaurant, including the classic fried flaky fish, calamari, prawns, oysters, and clams. You can also make a buffet plate from their choices for sides, such as fried hush puppies, mushrooms, zucchini, and crab cakes!
With all the choices, it was hard to reel in our decisions, but we went with the Fish & Prawns and Fish & Chicken plates, paired with hush puppies, coleslaw and, of course, the chips! Both my fish and prawns were quite tasty with a batter that was fried perfectly. The fish fillets are thinner but very flaky and moist. Not surprising since I’m a fan of mayo, my favorite part of the meal was the tartar sauce! But don’t let me confuse those who are mayo-haters, Tugboat’s version is one that I’ve never had anything similar to before – it’s light, creamy, definitely fresh, and the consistency makes me think that it was whipped or aerated in some fashion just before serving. You can taste the slight hint of sweet pickles, but there are no actual pieces in the dip. It’s simply delicious and I ended up plunging my chips in the sauce too, which supremely satisfied the English part of me! You can buy 8-ounce containers to take home for only a buck…and they sold me hook, line and sinker.
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