A Salt & Battery
East Village, NY
Review by Diana, MaceVindaloo, IrishLad
We like the East Village one because I'm an eastsider, and it has tables and chairs, as opposed to being more strictly a takeaway hole-in-the-wall authentic type of place. It's been raining a lot in here, which makes the ambiance even more British ... come to think of it, this weather does seem like an English summer -- cold, rainy, windy. Nice!
Maybe we wanted a lot ... and it did deliver! The fish and chips are BETTER than we've had in the UK, New Zealand, or Australia ... will we go to hell for uttering such heresy? You can choose between cod and haddock; to be truly authentic, shark should be one of those choices, too, if we're being picky. Chips are $2 for a huge stack of them, and they are stubby, wide, slightly sticky, not crispy things. Sounds awful, right? But they ARE authentic, and really delicious in their own way. There is malt vinegar AND ketchup at the tables.
We also got baked beans -- the mucilaginous, tomatoey, orangey little white beans that get poured over things like fried eggs and toast in much of the British Commonwealth, not like the "BBQ and ketchup" variety we get here. We also got a steak and kidney pie, and a ginger beer, which was called "Fiery" but it was simply piquant and delicious. The pie had plenty of kidneys in it and was totally delicious and filled us solidly ... we wanted more, but couldn't finish any of it. It was a completely stodgy meal, perfect for a rainy, chilly island ... even if it was Manhattan instead of England!
We loved the bathroom with its sliding pocket door, just like in many Commonwealth homes, where the toilet is separate from the "bathroom" which is where the bath is, of course. Actually, we love the tiles on the walls on here and in front of the order counter. It has sculpted frosted glass fish mortared in here and there. I want a whole room at home covered like this.
The staff are friendly and authentically British. They even deliver on a scooter decorated with Union Jacks and other symbols of UK-ana. And though the fish and chips are never as cheap as you think they should be (whether here or there), and the imported ginger beer is $2.75 a can, it's not too pricy overall. It cost us just under $50 for three of us, and because it's a takeaway place, tipping is optional. The food is really really good and it's a lot cleaner than many real fish and chip shops -- ironic in the East Village. Be sure to remember to get your New York City brain module back into your brain before you walk out the door!
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