Periodically, I have a yen for fish and chips (who doesn’t, right?). While I sincerely wish that I could say that a certain fish and chips shop in town could meet this need (or even that there was a fish and chips shop in town), I can’t – hence my quest to find tasty fish fillets closer than an hour and a half drive away, each way. Surprisingly, I did – and it actually ended up being a fishless fillet!
I must preface this review by saying that we’ve had very good experiences with Gardein’s offerings to date – no plasticky, off-flavored, repulsively-textured meat analogs there. When we purchased the Golden Fishless Filets, I figured there was a strong chance that they would be tasty – like Gardein’s other products we’ve tried – but there was no way they’d actually be like fish. I grew up fishing and eating lots of wild-caught fish, and I know good fish. I was willing, however, to accept a palatable “fish-like” substitute because of the pressures on wild fisheries and my desire to avoid farmed fish.
In retrospect, I was unjustifiably cynical. Out of the bag, these fillets looked like beer-battered fish fillets, and as they baked, the breading became crispy and light, a hallmark of great fried fish.
It’s impressive that they looked so good, but there was just no way they’d taste like fish. Except that they did. They had a mild but undeniably fishy flavor, like a pleasant white fish (cod?) fillet. In short, these were delightfully realistic faux fish fillets, and they paired beautifully with baked chips (fries).
These may, in complete honesty, be the best fish and chips we’ve had in years. Who would believe that a meatless “fish” filet could taste so good, have that tender-but-meaty mouthfeel, and really make the eater believe that the source of the bite had been swimming around at some point in its “life”? These are delightful, and the next time I have a hankering for fish and chips, I’ll pull out a bag of these and some frozen fries, and pop them into the countertop oven. As an added bonus: it’s far more economical than getting (disappointing) restaurant take-out. Keep doing what you’re doing, Gardein!
If you like fish and are open to meatless alternatives, do try these – and prepare to be dazzled!