The United Kingdom isn’t exactly known for its culinary choices. Toad-in-the-hole, bangers and mash, spotted dick: Foods you might eat for dinner, alternative names for a heart attack, or the titles of the porno flicks your creepy neighbor watched last night? Continuing in that nominal tradition, we have Bits & Druthers, a British-style fish and chips (or “chippers,” if you’re really British) shop on East Sixth. Only, there’s one vital distinction: Despite their name, Bits & Druthers serves up the finest fish, chips, and extras in town. Watch out, Dog and Duck, because the batter at Bits is thick and crispy, and grease is a thing of the past. They serve almost everything in a paper cone, with the deep-fried goodies on top and hand-cut fries peeking from below. Enveloped in the perfect batter are hunking filets of tender, flaky white fish, served with homemade, creamy tartar sauce. I also liked the shrimp and chips, although the Sambal toffee sauce was less chili pepper and more sticky toffee pudding. Complimenting the fried things was the best slaw I’ve ever tasted. Just like everything else from this trailer, it’s made from scratch, with thin slices of cabbage, a hint of something creamy, and plenty of tangy Dijon mustard as well as big kernels of the mustard seeds themselves. Topped with paper-thin radish slices, this side was perfection. And Bits (the owner, a.k.a. Mike Kelley) doesn’t stop there. No, he bravely charts the Atlantic in order to bring us junk food from not one but two countries, England and Canada. And I do believe his shop is the only place in town where you can get poutine. Now, savory puddings are usually of the blood variety. (I still remember that fateful day in Scotland when I ordered black pudding thinking I was getting blackberries.) But poutine, the Canadian junk food whose name allegedly derives from the British word “pudding,” has nothing to do with blood and everything to do with yum. Bits & Druthers knows how to do it right: hand-cut french fries drenched in rich, thick, almost sweet beef gravy, scattered with bite-sized cheese curds from Antonelli’s cheese shop. It may not be as familiar as, say, pizza, but try it. You’ll soon be addicted. Same goes for the homemade ice creams. I tried pistachio and was pleasantly surprised by the intense creaminess, although it could have used a little more crunch from the nuts. Served in a sugar cone, though, it was a sweet finish to a heart-stopping meal: The UK ain’t got nothin’ on Bits and his druthers. 1001 E. 6th (361-850-0645). Open Mon–Sat 11–7. Closed Sun. Posted by Megan Giller
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