Where can I get some good affordable fried fish in San Francisco? It's not usually a question I ask myself. I'm a big seafood fan but have pretty much given up finding good and moderately priced fish and friends here, which is odd considering we are right next to the ocean you'd think we'd be awash in it, but outside of crab season, the stuffs pretty expensive for what you get. One Saturday I was wandering through Golden Gate Park and came out the side near Irving and Judah where the NJudah comes, it's the Sunset District, which is funny cause it's mostly foggy out that way. But I was on a food mission when I saw Pacific Catch. It has four locations in the Bay Area, kind of a mini-chain and I've walked by it a handful of times but never gone in, until now.
It was just after the lunch rush and the bar area was pretty empty, so being a solo diner I seated myself there and perused the menu. It's kind of a big menu with different types of fish done a myriad of ways. Sushi'd, curried, taco'd, in a sandwich, Korean, Hawaiian--ugh--I'm exhausted just from reading the menu, choices are nice but sometimes they can just be overwhelming. I decided to go simple and get the 3 piece fish and chips for $12, which seems pretty reasonable as most 2 pieces go for the same price in town.
Menu says it's the catch of the day which I think was Pacific cod (there was no sign and the waitress didn't say), a decent basic whitefish. You get to choose what kind of fries you want so I went with sweet potato to be different. It also comes with cole slaw, jalapeno tartar sauce and I was supposed to get a dipping sauce of my choice but wasn't given a choice and got sweet and sour. It took a bit of time to get but at least it was hot and fresh out of the fryer when it came. The fish had that beer batter which I like, but it was a bit on the greasy side and while the top stayed crispy, the bottom got soggy from the oil draining out of it. 2 of the pieces were cooked flaky but the third was overcooked with a bit of that rubberiness overcooking can give fish. But hey 2 out 3 ain't bad, right? I'm kind of a purist so the jalapeno tartar sauce had too much spice for the delicate white fish, I'd have preferred just a straight up regular sauce. And don't get me started on the sweet and sour sauce they brought, it was some bottle brand they probably get by the tub and it was way too sweet and didn't really go with either the fish or fries. The sweet potato fries were done really well. Hot and crispy on the outside and soft inside and just the right amount of salt, they didn't need a sauce and just perfect by themselves. I also kind of liked the cole slaw, a mix of cabbage--green and purple--and carrots with just a touch of mayo some vinegar but not too much and a hint of sugar and poppy seeds--very tasty--could have eaten a larger serving.
As a whole and for the price I'll say they did a decent job with the fish and chips. The place seems to be pretty popular, it has been around awhile and it did fill up again while I was eating. I guess in the grand scheme of things if you want to go to some place that feels like a chain and has some moderately priced fish dishes then Pacific Catch is the place for you. Me, I'll probably keep fishing around town.