West Seattle Fish House offers a mean clam chowder and fish that is panko-breaded and fried until a pillow of hot air separates the fish from the crunchy breading; it's the kind of frying perfection that allows you to enjoy fish and chips.

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Having long ago settled on my favorite place for fish and chips in Seattle, it was with some hesitation that I wandered into the West Seattle Fish House a few months back to sample their fried fish.

I don’t indulge often, and, when I do, I want as close to a guarantee as possible that it’s going to be worth the caloric load.

Happily, the West Seattle Fish House delivered the goods. In fact, they’ve become my new favorite go-to place for fried cod.

Sisters Muzit Evans and Senait Beyene run the friendly, dignified little eatery that is scrubbed so clean you could probably eat off the floor.

During a recent visit with a friend, I discovered that the sisters also make a mean clam chowder. Buttery, with the creamy consistency of a good bisque, its clammy goodness proved to be addictive and worth its own trip.

The menu: A stripped-down menu that sticks to the basics: shrimp and clam chowders ($2.99 a cup), and fish and chips in two-, three- and five-piece combinations. Wild cod, tilapia and wild salmon are served in decent-sized portions with French fries and tartar sauce. The two-piece entrees start at $7.99 for the cod, $6.99 for the tilapia and $9.99 for wild salmon. Add $2 for the three piece, and $7 for the five.

What to write home about: Aside from the memorable clam chowder, the wild cod is worth every delicious bite. Panko-breaded and fried until a pillow of hot air separates the fish from the crunchy breading, it’s the kind of frying perfection that allows you to enjoy fish and chips without feeling the need to shower afterward. Be sure to sample the highly addictive tartar sauce.

What to skip: Coleslaw ($1.50 for about half a cup) consisted of cabbage splashed with a bland vinegar. Not the worst, but not worth the price.

The setting: A modest storefront restaurant with seating for about a dozen customers. Most of the orders are “to go.”

Summing up: Two-piece cod ($7.99) and tilapia ($6.99) and fries, a cup each of clam and shrimp chowder ($2.99 each), a side of coleslaw ($1.50) and two sodas ($1.79 each) came to $32, including tip. Remember: cash only.

Susan Kelleher: 206-464-2508 or skelleher@seattletimes.com