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The Great Jacksonville Fish and Chips Expedition- Day 2: Two Dudes Eatery and Market in Atlantic Beach

May 9, 2014

          Fish and chips does not need to taste bland. I was told by a few people that fish and chips is bland, regardless, and “That’s why you have the malt vinegar”. Well, I’m here to tell you that it does not have to be that way. When I asked people “Who has the best fish and chips?”, my Irish friend, Geraldine Rowan James, told me that Two Dudes did. Well, who would know better than a genuine Irish person? She just might be right.

          I met my old credit union friend, Stephanie Rider, at Two Dudes for an early dinner. It’s on the northwest corner of Seminole and Atlantic, in a small strip next to a laundry. It’s a little small and cramped, and there’s only one bathroom for all to use, but that doesn’t really matter. We sat ourselves and were greeted by a very attractive blond waitress in very short white shorts named Racheal. She got our drink orders (Don’t ask for water. Tap water. Blech!), and when she returned we placed our orders for the Bada Bing Shrimp, which is their version of Bonefish Grille’s Bang Bang Shrimp. And of course, we ordered the fish and chips. Well, Stephanie ordered the fish with vegetables instead, and I then ordered a Sierra Mist to get rid of the taste of my water.

          After we waited an inordinately long time for the Bada Bing Shrimp, she brought out our fish and chips. She apologized and said that the Bada Bing Shrimp had gone to another table who had ordered it just after us. She asked if we still wanted it. I enthusiastically responded, “Yes!” She was easily forgiven. Did I mention she was very attractive and was wearing very short white shorts? In addition to that though, she had just set down an enormous piece of fried fish laying atop a mound of fries. That piece of fish was so big and beautifully golden brown that I didn’t care about the belated Bada Bing.

          The fork pierced my fish with great ease. The steam spewed from the flaky, white fillet. I blew on it and let it cool down a moment. While waiting for the fish to cool, I took a bite of a fry. It was battered, very crispy, and tasted great. It did not taste like a frozen fry at all. I then took a bite of the fish. Wow! It was a revelation! Fish and chips does not have to be bland! The first bite was loaded with flavor. Racheal brought us the shrimp and I queried, “This is so good! What kind of fish is this?” She responded that it was basa. This was not truly authentic fish and chips, but it made no difference to me. Basa is almost buttery in its flavor. This buttery basa fillet, battered in Corona and whatever else was in that batter, then fried to a golden brown, set off a flavor explosion in my mouth. It was savory and flavorful and practically melted in my mouth. It was moist, not dried out by over-frying. It stayed together most of the way, but eventually crumbled a little in the middle due to how tender and moist it was. It was fantastic.

          The shrimp, though not quite as good as Bonefish Grille’s, was good. It was slightly tangier, and a little spicier than Bonefish Grille’s Bang Bang Shrimp, but the fish trumped it. I wasn’t there to judge the shrimp though.

          The fish was amazing. The fries were very good. The cost of the fish and chips was only $11. The portion was quite sizeable, so that price was a bargain. All told, my fish and chips and Sierra Mist were $14.44. With tip (I over-tip), I paid $20.00. The Very Attractive Racheal of the Very Short White Shorts was an added bonus, but even without her I give the fish and chips at Two Dudes a perfect rating.

Rating – 5 out of 5 Gills

 

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