Dining Out: Ace's the place for fish, chicken

Food operation puts flavor – not grease – front and center

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Why: Ace's Famous Fish, Chicken & Chowder operates kiosk-style, providing tasty menu selections and outdoor dining. The golden, crisp batter used at Ace's is a family recipe that's been in use for more than 50 years. Top-quality ingredients, such as organic, never-frozen chicken, are made-to-order fresh.

Atmosphere: At first glance, Ace's shiny chrome food trailer appears similar to a food truck, but it has a fixed address, located street-side in front of Living Hope Church. The dining area is flanked by wooden box planters and offers picnic tables to dine at.

What I tried: I sampled the Land n' Sea Combo, which consists of one piece of fish and three pieces of chicken with fries and cole slaw. I also tried a bowl of the homemade clam chowder.

The chowder was creamy, delicious and wholesome tasting. Some of the ingredients were left in small chunks, which gave the chowder an appetizing texture, and a small amount of dill served to enhance the seafood elements without overpowering them.

The batter on the fish and chicken was thick enough to coat and provide a delectable golden layer. The fish and chicken pieces, as prepared by Ace's, remain prominent to the experience instead of batter and grease, which is too often the impression left after eating fish 'n' chips. My favorite of the two was the fish (Ace's uses cod), but I thought the chicken was more impressive than traditional chicken tenders. Tartar sauce is provided for the fish pieces and there are a variety of dipping sauces to accompany the chicken -- some packaged and some homemade. My choice was the homemade chipotle, but they were out of it so I settled on a packaged honey mustard, which was not remarkable.

Ace's cole slaw has a flavor that is more tart than sweet. The refreshing character of it paired well with the fried elements.

Menu highlights beyond what I tried: Now that I've tried the obvious choices, I'll sample the tacos and battered vegetables on my next visit. Of the sandwich selections, the breaded clam strip po'boy sounded intriguing as well.

Other observations: Service was courteous and friendly.

Prices are matched to portions and quality is far superior as compared to what one may acquire from fast-food establishments that offer seafood items.

Dining accommodations aren't cushy but they are sufficient.

Cost: Fish & Chips are available in one-piece for $4.95, two-piece for $7.95, and three-piece for $10.95. Clam strips are $7.95. A combo basket of clam strips, fish, and shrimp is $10.95. A chicken strip basket is $7.95. Tacos are $3.95 each. Onion rings and battered veggies are available in a half-order size for $3.95 or a full-order size for $4.95. A Caesar salad is $4.95. Clam chowder comes in a medium size for $3.95, a large size for $5.95, and a quart for $15.95. A variety of sandwiches are $7.95 each.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. (depending on business) Tuesday through Friday; noon to 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. (depending on business) Saturday; noon to 3 p.m. Sunday.Telephone: 971-207-7747.

Where: 2711 N.E. Andresen Road, Vancouver.

Health score: Ace's Famous Fish, Chicken & Chowder received a score of 5 on March 1. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants that score 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.