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Restaurants & Bars

Fish & Chips & Forgiveness

How Richard Patterson's quest for the best fish and chips in Dallas led straight to chef Nick Barclay.
delaney’s fish and chips
Fish and chips at Delaney's. Courtesy Delaney's

At this point, Nick Barclay is probably a bit sick of me. He and I have never met, yet years ago I managed to insult him and his wife, and then, more recently, I set in motion a series of events that consumed many hours of his time, some of it on the phone, some in the kitchen.

Barclay is a chef. If you’ve lived in Dallas for a minute, you probably recognize his name. Two decades ago, he cooked a modern Euro-British menu at his Barclay’s, in a converted Victorian house on Fairmount Street. Then he and his wife, Kelli, left us to live closer to his mother in Cornwall, England, where for many years they ran a small hotel that was built in 1890. Dallas drew them back, and, in 2017, they opened a restaurant in Richardson that specialized in fish and chips. It was called Fish & Fizz.

That’s when I started throwing brickbats. The name struck me as silly. A place called Bourbon & Banter had just opened downtown. A wave of This & That establishments was crashing against our river’s white rock banks—if you’ll excuse the tortured allusion to Dover. I certainly did my level best to torture Barclay, writing a post on D Magazine’s FrontBurner blog about his new restaurant’s name, offering a list of names he had supposedly rejected. Proper manners prevent me from rehashing that entire list, but here are a few of the entries: Flounder & Fingers, Trout & Tankards, Shad & Chard, Haddock & Hops, Perch & Pints, Roughy & Rosé, and Long John Silver’s.

Fish & Fizz closed in February of this year. Apparently I couldn’t let Barclay rest. Because a number of months ago, I asked another Englishman, Richard Patterson, to find me the best fish and chips in Dallas. Did I know that Richard’s quest would lead him to Barclay and that the latter would suffer entire afternoons on the phone with Richard, until finally, hammered into submission—something the Germans know is difficult to do to an Englishman—Barclay would be forced to retreat to a borrowed kitchen and cook for Richard? You can’t prove I didn’t see that coming.

In any case, Richard’s story in this month’s issue, “The Ultimate Dallas Fish and Chips Odyssey,” ends with Barclay. But Barclay’s story in Dallas? Again, proper manners must be my guide. So I’ll say only this: folks, keep your Sarson’s handy.

To read more on Richard’s hunt for the best fish and chips in Dallas, click here.


Tim Rogers

Tim Rogers

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Tim is the editor of D Magazine, where he has worked since 2001. He won a National Magazine Award in…

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