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Landing Culinary Gold in Spring Valley: Best Fish & Chips in the County?

Stroy and Photos By Ron James | WDSD Reporter

Posted on Thursday, 04 October 2013


One of the most exciting things a foodie can do is to "discover" a culinary gem right in their own backyard.


My find was just a couple of miles from Mt. Helix home at a small converted fast-food joint on the east end of Broadway in Lemon Grove simply called Chef John's Fish & Chips. My brother Mike had tipped me off to the eatery months ago, and I mentally filed it away until I had a mega-craving for fish and chips.


I must say that it wasn't the chips that made Chef John's Fish and Chips most special. What was special is the delightfully light, tempura-like crispy-coated fish and shrimp. The shrimp were flavorful and the cod tasted like perfectly cooked cod should - that is, moist flakey white fish without any off-putting fishy taste. The chips are good too, but not the star attraction.


While fish is the star of the show, diners can feast on various combinations of fried calamari, scallops, catfish, clams, corn dogs and chicken. Side orders include onion rings. zucchini, mushrooms, vegetable combos, coleslaw, clam chowder, hush puppies and lumbia.


The restaurant uses 100% canola oil for all of its fried items. The homemade sauces are first rate, especially the unique tartar sauce...the restaurant could sell it by itself. No alcohol is served at the restaurant.


Since 2004, Chef John(Jong Eum Bae) and his wife Me Sook run the eleven-year-old show with obvious pride. The restaurant decor is bright and fast-food-like. The dining room and pathrooms are spotless. The walls sport fish posters and photos of Chef John in his chef whites with tall toque when he was sous-chef with the Westin Hotel in South Korea.


Don't let the somewhar sketchy East County neighborhood location deter you, - it's worth the trip from where ever you are in San Diego. Chef John's Fish & Chips is a destination mom and pop ship worth exploring.

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