Calling all lovers of fish and chips in western Placer County! Are you looking for delicious seafood, fish and chips, and even a few grilled offerings? Are you avoiding chain restaurants, and do you prefer to dine at a "mom and pop" restaurant? If you're looking to enjoy a delicious plate of London-style fish and chips, seafood and more, tucked away in downtown Auburn, CA is a "hidden jewel" of a restaurant, Pelican's Roost Fish and Chips..."
As with all restaurant reviews I publish, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.
Photo: It takes longer to say the full name of the restaurant, Pelican's Roost Fish and Chips Koffee Kup Restaurant, than it does to walk by the store front. The diner is located in the quaint Sierra Nevada foothill city of Auburn, in a very vintage store. Parking is on the street, and you just may get to utilize your parallel-parking skills...
It's just a little past four in the afternoon on Tuesday, December 08, 2020, and I've arrived at Pelican's Roost with fish and chips on my mind...
Photo: As you enter the restaurant, you'll be greeted by a white board, that announces the specials of the day. I certainly was tempted to order a "Clam Chowder Bread bowl," but on this late Tuesday afternoon, I had my mind set on "Fish and Chips."
As you enter, you'll be immediately transported to the 1940's, as the decor of the dining room is as "retro" as it gets. I was struck by the fact that NOTHING in the dining room appeared to be 2020, as the dining room looked like a set from a classic movie. We're talking "classic," including period lighting, vinyl booths, polished wood furniture, carved, painted paneling, striped wall paper, and not a computer in sight!
When you think about it, the vintage decor makes a great "fit" for historic downtown Auburn, along with the "mission" of this "old school" fish diner.
Photo: This guy, along with a few patriotic flags, welcomes you to the restaurant. The decor is pure vintage and nostalgia.
Photo: The dining room is complete with a vintage counter, with wood chairs and vinyl upholstery. I would bet this counter served many burgers and milkshakes during the 1940's through the 1990's... note the "air conditioning" in the restaurant is from a swamp cooler.
At this writing, much of California is on "virus lockdown," but with the exception of the staff wearing masks, dining at Pelican's Roost appears to be almost "normal," as the counter appeared to be in use, along with the tables and booths.
Photo: The first page of a very well-used menu lists fish selections, including everything to do with "Seaside" or "Seafare." It also lists "Combos" along with salads...
Photo: If you're not in the mood for seafood, the second page of the menu offers may other choices...
Photo: Pelican's Roost is a "mom and pop" restaurant, as "mom" waits tables, and "pop" runs the kitchen. As I was looking over the menu, as asked "mom" for a Coors beer, as there is no better way to begin a meal of fish and chips than a cold beer.
Photo: How long has it been since you've seen a 1940's vintage dial telephone that is in daily operation? Much of the decor is vintage, but there are a number of photos and plaques on the wall, commemorating the 2020 graduates of Auburn High School.
Photo; I managed to get a peak of "mom" working in the kitchen, after I'd placed my order for "Fish and Chips." Note the "old school" order wheel, as there isn't a computer in sight!
Photo: This late Tuesday afternoon was clear and mild for early December, with a temperature in the low 50's, which made for perfect weather to enjoy my diner outside, on the small patio at the front of the restaurant. As you dine, you can look outside on to Lincoln Way, and watch what's happening in downtown Auburn.
Photo: My order of "Fish and Chips" arrived about 15 minutes after placing it. "Mom" seemed to be in a hurry, and didn't really want her photo taken, hence the blurry photo, thanks to the low light.
Photo: "Mom" snapped my photo, on my request, as I prepare to enjoy my early dinner of "Fish and Chips."
Photo: From the "Seaside Specialties" section of the menu, I went with "Fish and Chips Medium," which is three pieces of Alaskan cod, along with an order of chips. Fish and chips, in the style of London! "Medium" refers to the fact that I ordered three pieces of fish - "Small" includes two pieces - as I wanted a piece of fish to take home, and enjoy later in the evening.
The foundation of the meal was the fish, and Pelican's Roost uses fresh, Alaskan cod, which marks the standard for great fried fish. Each piece of fish was seasoned, battered, and deep fried to a golden brown. The fish-to-batter ratio was just right, as the batter did not overwhelm the fish, and when you bit into a piece of fish, you were rewarded with a "crunch" from the batter, along with the tender, juicy white fish, inside the perfectly crisp batter. Great fish, except for a few minor details...
I did notice the fish was on the greasy side, as when I picked up a piece of fish, a few drops of oil dripped on to my plate. Also, the fish could have used additional seasoning, and less salt, as it was a bit too salty for me. I'm talking about small annoyances, and this is just my personal taste.
The chips, or fries, were deep fried to a light, golden brown on the outside, and juicy white and tender inside. They were basically "standard" fries, delicious, but nothing out of the ordinary. I prefer thicker, "steak style" fries, but that's just my personal preference. The fries were perfect, and they complimented the fish, and made for a wonderful side dish.
Here's where the meal got really interesting: Tartar sauce. What? Yes... I don't know what recipe Pelican's Roost uses for their tartar sauce, but I can truly say this was the BEST tartar sauce that I've ever eaten! From the looks of it, the sauce looked like something that was poured out of a jar, but looks can be deceiving, as this tartar sauce puts any other tartar sauce, during my 60+ years of enjoying fish and chips, to shame. Come for the fish... enjoy the tartar sauce!
When you're looking to enjoy a delicious plate of the kind of fish and chips, like you'd find in London, and you're in the mood to enjoy your meal in a truly "old school" diner, look to Pelican's Roost Fish and Chips Koffee Cup Restaurant, in downtown Auburn, CA. If it's seafood, they have your bases covered...
Pelican's Roost Fish and Chips
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