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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Small pond: Baldwin Park fish-and-chip shop lures locals

Posted on Thu, Apr 10, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Across the street from Colibrí sits Grouper & More, a fish-and-chip shop with all the appeal of a motel lobby and the smooth-jazz stylings of the bus station downtown. Picturesque Lake Baldwin is just out of view, but photographs of sunrises and sunsets taken from the lake’s shores make up for the vista-less surroundings, and a humane fish tank (a flat-screen TV projecting video of fish in an aquarium) sets the tone for diners craving fruits of the sea.

I have to say that the inconsistencies in frying had me concerned about how the fish would turn out, particularly after sampling a starter of hush puppies ($3.95), followed by the chips accompanying my fish. The cornmeal nuggets seemed undercooked, and clashing chipotle-mayo dip certainly didn’t help. The chips were really seasoned French fries, some of which were soggy, while others were crispy on the outside and half-cooked on the inside. But the fish, ample fillets of golden-fried grouper ($12.95) and haddock ($9.95), was perfect, and I particularly enjoyed alternating bites between the delicate former and the fishier latter. If you dine with a conscience, you’ll want to know that the fish, though flown in daily, is farmed. Homemade chocolate mousse parfait ($4.95) lures diners wanting a decadent, absolutely divine ending.

(Grouper & More, 4932 New Broad St., 407-647-3474; www.grouperandmore.com)

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