Walking into this Camas restaurant you feel like you’ve entered an aquarium, with a fishing boat suspended over the dining room and a scattering of marlins and other trophy fish floating overhead.
Yes, it is a fish house, and although it has some nonpescatarian items available, seafood dominates the menu. So do fried items.
But, as the text on the front of the menu promises, Corbett Fish House fries those fishies in 100 percent rice bran oil and uses a high-tech fryer that filters the cooking oil to keep it clean. After some research on rice bran oil, I discovered it is indeed considered one of the healthiest — if not the healthiest — cooking oil.
The restaurant shows its conscience by featuring a 100 percent gluten-free menu, using paper straws and biodegradable cardboard takeout containers, and following the sustainable guidelines of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.
You can ask for “original super thin breading” or “gluten-free beer batter” for your seafood. I opted for the thinner rice flour flash-fried in the rice bran oil. And it was indeed nicely thin, totally free of grease, and delicious with a pleasant almost-nutty taste.
I chose the Midwest-Style Creamy Slaw as my side, but it wasn’t. Creamy, that is. My companion added some ranch dressing from an order of onion rings to make it creamier. But I didn’t come to cook. I came to eat.
My companion ordered a beautiful and perfectly grilled Alaskan sockeye salmon filet ($18) with a very large serving of sweet potato fries ($6). The only other grilled options were Alaskan cod, Alaskan halibut and ahi tuna ($11 to $24).
I went for the fried Tugboat Combo ($20), which includes two pieces each of cod, shrimp, oysters and chile-fried catfish all atop french fries.
The shrimp were tender and juicy. The cod was golf-ball sized and very tender, although I would have liked larger pieces. The oysters were fantastic and a nice three-bite size. The chile-fried catfish were moist and had a nice firmness, but the chile-paste breading made them a bit hotter than I expected. I’d ask for the thin flour batter on these next time.
If I had been hungrier, I might have ordered the Boatload Combo ($25) with three pieces of each of the above. But the smaller portion will fill most folks.
Other fried fish entrees include Pacific cod, Alaska halibut, catfish, walleye, oysters, prawns, clam strips and various combinations of these, ranging from $17 to $25 for full orders. And while we didn’t order the walleye this time, it’s a delicious firm-fleshed white fish that’s extremely popular in Minnesota and Wisconsin, for good reason. I aim to indulge in it in the future.
An interesting section of the menu offered seven varieties of fish tacos. You order salmon, cod, catfish or halibut and then adorn your selection with Baja, Northwest, Southwest, Blackened, Classic, Spicy or Catfish-style accompaniments. (The cod tacos go for $7, $11 or $13 for one, two or three tacos.) Choosing salmon and catfish adds $1.50 per taco, while halibut adds $3.
I’m glad I ordered the smaller Tugboat and left room for dessert. We tried the Triple Chocolate Cake ($8) and the Dirty Chai Tea Cake with apple-cider reduction ($10). While we couldn’t finish either, we gleefully took the remains home for sweet late-night snacks.
Overall, we enjoyed a pretty good meal in a very pleasant, cheerful and friendly atmosphere with attentive service. While I have mixed feelings about the “healthy deep frying,” I will certainly go back. Especially for that walleye.