‘969 thanks be to cod’
courtesy of ‘apium’
There are plenty of benefits of studying abroad in England — lots of culture, lots of pints and you don’t have to worry about learning that pesky other language. It is not, however, known as a bastion of fine cuisine. There is an exception to every rule though, and for me the British food that I think of fondly is fish and chips. Real deal, fried to perfection, wrapped in a newspaper fish and chips. And I’ve found no better way to indulge my inner collegiate than to go to town on some authentic fried cod (albeit Irish) at Eamonn’s.
Eamonn’s comes to us from that dynamic married duo of Old Town eats, Meshelle and Cathal Armstrong. You may know them from their fancier (and pricier) joint Restaurant Eve, but right around the corner you can find their decidedly more casual restaurant. Named for the Armstrong’s son, the place reflects Cathal’s Dublin upbringing. In the four years since it opened, this no frills “chipper” has devotees ranging from the aforementioned study abroad students, meat-free Catholics during Lent and anyone hurting for something fried.
The menu is by no means expansive, and bring your glasses because it’s just a chalkboard up behind the counter. On most days you’ve got your cod (my personal favorite), prawns, ray, grouper and the fish of the day. Everything is beautifully fried — light and crispy and greasy. In a perfect world we would have fried food without the grease (and the fat) but for now, just embrace it. Go crazy with the malt vinegar and hope no one is grossed out by you licking your fingers.
So you’ve got your fish, next up is your chips. Again, these folks know how to fry. They come out hot and wonderful, in no small part due to the fact that they’re twice-fried in shortening (holy cholesterol, Batman!). Are you still with me? Or have I lost you to a cardiac event? Because next you’ve got your dips. All are mayonnaise-based (as God intended) except for the curry, and all are great. I like to get a couple for a little variety, but be warned the extras will cost you a whopping $.50 more a piece.
There are other, non-fishy things on the menu but go somewhere else if you’re in the mood for a burger. Not to say they’re bad, it’s just a crime to overlook the fish. But do try to save room for dessert. Not only can you have a fried banana or just some fried dough, the beautiful people at Eamonn’s will deep fry a Snickers or Milky Way bar for you. What was that? Your stomach turning? Well let me tell you as a girl who went to the North Carolina State Fair for four straight years, this is pretty heavenly. Less heavenly however, are the deep fried Nilla Wafers the Fair had one year. In my official capacity as a food blogger I give this review: yuck.
But I digress. There’s no doubt that the food at Eamonn’s is pretty great, but the whole experience is worth the trip. The tin ceiling and dark wood walls scream Irish pub, and all the zany Irish candy up by the register will make those Hersey Kisses look positively pedestrian. A little deep fried meal, a little international candy for the road and a Guinness on draught, what else could you possibly want…besides an EKG (but it’s worth it).
Eamonn’s/A Dublin Chipper is located at 728 King St. in Alexandria. The closest Metro station is King Street (on the Blue/Yellow line). For more information call (703) 299-8384.