Catching a fish is harder than it sounds. Creating the perfect basket of fish and chips is a difficult feat as well. Like fishing, mastering the art of fish and chips requires patience, skill, the perfect batter and a good amount of luck. Pacific Fish’n Chippery is giving it a shot and hoping San Luis Obispo residents will take the bait.

The restaurant, previously a sushi bar, began its transformation from raw to fried food about 12 weeks ago. The owners, Gary Wallace and David Katz, had owned the sushi restaurant, which developed a great batter recipe for frying fish. With trust in that single recipe, they decided to make the change, and this change is good.

Upon entrance to the tiny restaurant, one immediately notices remnants of the restaurant’s sushi past. There are a total of 13 chairs, still set up in sushi fashion, circled around the small bar area. The old sushi display cases are filled with homemade coleslaw, cocktail sauce, tartar sauce and lemons. Saki glasses, miso bowls and Japanese beer remain on some of the shelves.

However, the atmosphere is entirely unique; different from a traditional sushi bar and more modern than most fish ‘n’ chips joints.

It’s the food, however, that gives this place staying power in downtown San Luis Obispo. The menu offers about 10 items, all fried, for the customer to choose from. The wary first-timer will enjoy the basic fish and chips, available in both regular (three-piece) and large (five-piece) sizes. Along with the white, fried fish are menu items such as Scallops’n Chips, Fish’n Shrimp kabobs and the Fisherman’s Platter, the restaurant’s largest item, an assortment of fish and shellfish fried and served with the traditional chips and coleslaw.

The batter used on all the menu items is perfect. Coming straight from the fryer, the fish are crispy and salty on the outside, containing the perfect crunch in every bite. Underneath the fried goodness, the fish is still moist and full of subtle flavor.

The shrimp is also something worth trying. They too have a perfect layer of batter and are fried and directly served straight from the kitchen, which opens into the restaurant, allowing curious eaters to watch their food being made from their seats.

Along with each menu item, customers receive the traditional chips. These crinkle-cut chips are different from the average fry. Big, thick and full of flavor, the chips remind customers of their childhood with the traditional design and taste.

A must try are Pacific’s fried zucchini wedges. The vegetables are probably the healthiest thing on the menu, even if they are fried, but they taste incredible. One suggestion is dipping them in the ranch sauce. Also, the homemade coleslaw is a perfect compliment to all the fried food. With a sweet taste and little mayonnaise, the coleslaw is refreshing after eating fries and fried fish.

Nothing tastes better with fish and chips than a cold beer, and Pacific Fish’n Chippery has plenty of that to offer with a large beer selection. Additionally, the owners plan on adding an extensive wine list, containing mainly white wines, for customers craving a different drink.

With its inexpensive pricing ($5.95 to $14.95), great taste, and central location, Pacific Fish’n Chippery is destined for popularity among students and locals. It is the perfect addition to San Luis Obispo and anyone that likes a good plate of traditional fish and chips.

It’s located at 852 Higuera St. and can also be reached by phone at (805) 547-8744.

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