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Monday, August 15, 2011

Forbes Gives Zeke's a Thumbs Up!

The best fish and chips I've ever had anywhere in the world is right here in Fort Worth at Zeke's on Camp Bowie. I'm serious. I don't know what the secret is in their batter, but it's so light and crispy that I can't get enough.

A blogger for Forbes magazine agrees. In July they published a piece stating Zeke's is one of the top 20 restaurants in the country for value "with food scores no lower than 25 and an average price per head no higher than $27." Translation: the best bang for your buck.

I wasn't aware of this article when I dragged five of my friends there a few Friday nights ago. I had warned them that they will have to shower once finished and their diets must be left at home. They were still intrigued ... after all, you know it's good if you have to shower afterward.

Fried cod and shrimp combo
As we waited in the slow and inefficiently constructed line we overheard an older couple from Fort Worth saying this was their first time to try Zeke's. They were inspired by the Forbes piece (this is how I found out about the article). Another couple behind them said they've been coming here almost every Friday night since the late 70s and that this was a Fort Worth institution. "How could you have lived here and never tried this place?" the fried fish veteran's wrinkled brow spelled out. Another couple in line drove all the way from Denton for some fish.

As I waited I noticed the wall was decorated with food reviews and accolades from decades past. Forty years these people have been slingin' fish. Cod (my favorite), catfish and shrimp to be exact. (Ever since my grad school buddy did an "a-hed" style feature on the bottom-dwelling catfish, I haven't been able to eat them since. I took her to Zeke's for "research.")

But I love the white, flaky cod at Zekes. It comes out so hot and crispy. I actually just got back from Scotland a few days ago. I went to this locally famous hole-in-the-wall bar on the Northwest Highlands coast in search of the renowned fish and chips. It was pretty darn good. The fish was caught that morning, but it still didn't top my Zeke's. I have no explanation, except maybe they put crack in the batter.

Some people say Zeke's is gross. I know a few Fort Worth bloggers disdain this place. I have friends that refuse to eat there. One of them says she breaks out afterward. Others probably hate to leave smelling like they've been dipped in the batter themselves. The dive isn't the cleanest. But I say if it tastes good and the beer is cold, who gives a hoot. (Yes, I said hoot.)

The first-timers we met in line made sure to tell us they loved their first experience at Zeke's as they headed for the door.

Fish & Chips