February 23, 2012 at 9:07 am

Molly Abraham

Classic fish & chips dish abounds at local spots

Judging from the number of restaurants with fish and chips on their menus, the dish hasn't lost its popularity; it's still served around town in places ranging from modest to upscale. Even Michael Mina's elegant SaltWater offers the dish.

So it seems appropriate, just one day into the Lenten season (which continues through April 7), that we offer a look at the spots around town where the classic fish and chips combo, born in the British Isles, may be found.

The undisputed granddaddy of the fish and chips genre locally is a modest little spot on a Detroit street corner called Scotty Simpson's. It's been serving up the popular dish since 1950, when Scotland native James D. (Scotty) Simpson took over the yellow brick building next door to his butcher shop, and began the tradition. It's still going strong, in the hands of current proprietor Harry Barber.

Scotty's butcher shop became the second dining room, doubling the 50-seat capacity of the original. When Barber took over, he got all of the recipes, including the most important, the secret recipe for the batter, which he makes fresh every day.

Another venerable tradition is being upheld at Duggan's Irish Pub in Royal Oak, a hot spot in the days when the Dream Cruise was pretty much every summer evening, with cars on Woodward heading for the drive-in. The iconic recipe served there is from the long-gone but still remembered Susie Q.

Read on for more on local places where the classic dish is served.

City Kitchen

16844 Kercheval Ave., Grosse Pointe (313) 882-6667

Chef Chris Thompson uses silver hake and dips it into batter made with dark beer. It's served with fries, salad and julienned carrots, yellow squash and zucchini at $18.25

Claddagh Irish Pub

17800 Haggerty Road, Livonia (734) 542-8141

Fresh cod with a Bass ale batter is served with pub chips, coleslaw and tartar sauce at this spot awash in Irish memorabilia. The dish is $13.99.

Dick O'Dow's

160 W. Maple Road, Birmingham (248) 642-1135

Atlantic cod is Guinness beer-battered and served with remoulade, thick steak fries and coleslaw at $11.99.

Dublin Fish & Chips

41900 Hayes Road, Clinton Township (586) 416-3474

Proprietor Bob Lenartowicz has been dishing up fish and chips for nine years. He's currently using prime loin Norwegian cod, lightly battered with a touch of garlic, fried in a mix of corn and canola oils and served with fries, coleslaw and tartar sauce. It comes in three portion sizes priced at $5.75, $8 and $9.25.

Duggan's Irish Pub

31501 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak (248) 549-3659

Along with the two pieces of cod prepared in the Susie Q style come fries, tart coleslaw and one of chef Jeff LaPointe's breadsticks, at $12.95

O'Connor's Public House

324 S. Main St., Rochester (248) 608-2537

The very light batter, made with Harp Irish ale, produces a crisp North Atlantic cod, served with fries, coleslaw and tartar sauce. It's $10.99 for two pieces, $13.99 for three.

O'Toole's

205 W. Fifth St., Royal Oak (248) 591-9226; 4000 Cass Elizabeth Road, Waterford (248) 683-3494

Guinness batter is made fresh daily, and Alaskan cod is served with crispy pub fries, house-made tartar and coleslaw.

Roadside Bar & Grill

1727 S. Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Township. (248) 858-7270

The newest fish and chips place, open since last week, is the sibling of the Beverly Hills Grill and Town Tavern. The fish and chips are from Icelandic cod in batter made with Frankenmuth Brewery's Hefeweizen and served with fries, coleslaw and remoulade for $16.

Rosie O'Grady's

279 W. Nine Mile, Ferndale (248) 591-9163

Cod is dipped first in beer batter and then in panko crumbs for a crispy finish, and served with freshly cut fries, coleslaw and tartar sauce, at $10.99.

SaltWater

MGM Detroit Grand, 1777 Third, Detroit (313) 465-1646

This locale, known more for its upscale fare than for fish and chips, nevertheless offers the dish made with catch of the day, and served with Meyer lemon and house-made tartar sauce ($5 during happy hour Tuesday though Friday).

Scotty Simpson's

22200 Fenkell St., west of Lahser, Detroit (313) 533-0950

Still serving house-boned and cut cod in the secret house batter from a 60-year-old recipe, with fries, also hand-cut, coleslaw and tartar sauce at $10.34. It is one of the few restaurants that doesn't take credit cards.

Sindbad's

100 St. Clair St., Detroit (313) 822-8000

The riverside spot offers beer-battered cod and fries with a choice of soup, salad or coleslaw. It's $9.95 at lunch, $11.95 at dinner.

Terry's Terrace

36470 Jefferson, Harrison Township (586) 463-2671

Hand-cut cod in a choice of two batters, traditional or Sam Adams beer batter, along with fries and a choice of soup, salad or coleslaw is $9.99 for a two-piece traditional serving, $11 for three pieces. Sam Adams battered fish is $11.99 for two pieces, $14.99 for three.

Tom's Oyster Bar

318 S. Main St., Royal Oak (248) 541-1186

Atlantic cod is dipped in batter made with Tom's private label Pale Ale, and served with skin-on steak fries, remoulade and coleslaw. $13.99 at lunch, $16.99 for a larger portion at dinner.

abraham67@comcast.net

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Claddagh’s Irish Pub’s version is fresh cod with Bass ale batter. / Claddagh Irish Pub's
Duggan’s Irish Pub’s iconic recipe is from the long-gone but still ... (Steve Perez/The Detroit News)
Hand-dipped Alaskan cod is served with crispy pub fries at O’Toole’s. (O'Toole's)
Sandy Johnson serves a plate of fish and chips to Mack Carpenter at Scotty ... (David Guralnick / The Detroit News)
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