Restaurant Review: Hawthorne Fish House

We’d been to the Corbett Fish House before, and it almost seems like a landmark. You can’t say “gluten free” to someone in Portland Oregon without hearing about the Corbett Fish House. The Hawthorne Fish House is run by the same people.

Serious About Gluten-Free Food

Almost everything at both restaurants can be had gluten-free. In fact, we were notified by our server that they just started carrying gluten-free buns, so all the sandwiches are good to go as well. The Hawthorne Fish House seems like an English pub but cleaned up so it’s family-friendly. The Corbett Fish house seems a little more upscale. Both have a full bar. They both have almost identical menus. Both also seem to have brought space age technology to fried fish.

Our waiter at the Hawthorne Fish House was friendly and helpful. He was able to answer our questions without having to consult a list or the kitchen. The food came out very quickly. The decor is interesting. Almost every square foot of the restaurant has a plastic fish or a picture of a fish in it. They also serve gluten-free beer. One last note: They follow the guidelines of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Sustainable Seafood List, which we think is really cool.

Hawthorne Fish House

I don’t know about anybody else, but I tend to equate fish and chips with dive bar food or English pub food, or a place like Two Jacks in the Lower Haight in San Francisco. Fish and chips should be greasy. It should be served on oil-spattered paper in a basket. There should be too much batter on some of the fish and not enough on the rest. The batter should be flavorful. There should be one piece of fish in the the batch that looks strange and you will have to debate if you should or shouldn’t eat it. The fish should be cod. The entire place should smell like vinegar. The table tops should be carved up to heck. The person handing you the fish should be wearing too much eye make-up, have artfully huge runs in her stockings, and be wearing Doc Martens. Or it should be a strangely skinny guy wearing all black and sporting a bad moustache. Am I painting a clear enough picture here?

I guess what I’m getting around to saying is that when I want some fish and chips or a fried fish sandwich, I don’t think to myself, “Where can I get myself a nice, healthy, sanitized version of an unhealthy, greasy, battered dish?” Maybe that’s the wrong way to look at it, but there it is.

Gluten Free Fish and Chips

I can see the appeal of the Hawthorne and Corbett Fish Houses. They deliver a consistent product, and I think that for people who are looking for what they have to offer, they can’t be beat. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that if you really love both restaurants, I think I can understand why and I won’t even hold it against you. I’m just going to have to keep hoping that a greasy, unhealthy, gluten-free place shows up to offer me a nice fried fish sandwich.

Gluten Free Fried Fish: Click here for our breaded fish recipe.

We want to know: Do you love the Corbett Fish House? Are there any differences between the two fish houses that we missed? Are there other places for a person on a gluten free diet to get fish and chips in Portland Oregon? Let us know!

Times we have visited: 2 (So we feel pretty good about our rating.)
Overall rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same

Hawthorne Fish House
4343 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, Oregon 97215 / 503.548.4434

Gluten-Free Cooking: Fried Chicken or Fish Recipe

One of our friends recently commented that we should start including more basic information that would be helpful for people who are just starting to learn how to get around the kitchen without gluten. In this article, I’ll talk about a simple substitution that we have found works wonderfully when you want to fry up some chicken or a piece of fish. I hope it isn’t confusing presenting two different dishes with instructions together. Really, making one is basically the same as the other. The only difference really is the marinades and cooking times.

Simple Gluten-Free Fried Chicken or Fish

Don’t miss the vegan alternative at the end. Good for two chicken breasts or two tilapia fillets. Feeds about four.

Breading for Either Fish or Chicken
3 Tbsp Garbanzo and Fava Bean Flour
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper (or to taste)
pinch salt

Chicken Marinade
1 Tbsp Dry Cooking Sherry or wine
1/2 tsp Canola Oil

Fish Marinade
1/2 tsp Canola Oil
Juice of 1/2 Lime or Lemon (save other half for squeezing over fish at table.)

Marinading is really key, so get the meat in the marinade first thing. If you’re making chicken, you’ll want to butterfly the breasts before marinating. While the meat marinates, mix up the breading and cut up some veggies. Pour the marinade over the meat in a container. Flip once or twice while marinating. Leave at least 15 minutes. A couple minutes before you’re ready to cook the meat, put a frying pan on the burner to pre-heat it. Cook on medium heat, or a little less if the chicken pieces are thick.

Once the pan is hot, add about a tablespoon of canola oil and let that heat up. Spread about half of your breading on a plate and dip the chicken or fish into it, coating evenly. Add more breading to the plate as needed to coat everything. Fry in the pan 3-5 minutes for the fish, or 5-9 minutes for the chicken. Flip the meat every two or three minutes during cooking.

Alternative #1: Cut fish or chicken into sandwich patty sized pieces (about 3-4 oz each.) Then bread, fry, and serve as a sandwich with your favorite gluten-free bread, a slice of tomato, a piece of lettuce, and plenty of mayonnaise. Yeah! There is nothing in the world like a fried fish sandwich.

Alternative #2: Make “tenders” by cutting the breasts or fish up into bite-sized pieces before breading them. To bread them, put the breading and the cut up chicken or fish into a lidded container, and shake well. Provide gluten-free dipping sauces at the table.

Vegan Alternative: Cut tofu into 3/8 inch slices. For added texture with tofu, you can freeze it overnight and put back in the fridge to thaw in the morning. Then wrap tofu in a towel and gently press to squeeze out moisture. Marinate at least 30 minutes in 3 Tbsp gluten-free soy sauce, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, and 2 cloves pressed garlic. Add 1/4 tsp ground ginger if desired. Then bread and fry. Serve with sauteed mushrooms!

Fried Tilapia