After my dad and I went to the Street of Dreams in Portland (blog post here) we stopped for lunch along our way home at an old favorite of my family’s- the Corbett Fish House. They’ve had gluten-free fried fish and chicken strips for a really long time. Definitely had them before gluten-free was all trendy and even a bit before it started becoming common in Portland. Great for celiacs is that they use their gluten-free rice flour batter on all fish and chicken strips regardless whether you’re gluten-free and so the risk of cross contamination is almost non-existent. Everything on their menu (sauces, dressings, desserts included) is gluten-free except bread and flour tortillas they use for sandwiches and fish tacos.
Growing up I was not a big seafood fan and recently I’ve really only broadened my seafood horizons to include sushi. So I had always gotten the chicken strips before. One really distinct memory I have about the chicken strips was that I was always too impatient to wait for them to cool down so they always were a bit hot to bite into. Corbett Fish House is also a big Packers bar (GO PACK!) and another one of my favorites were their Packer fries- a huge plate of cheese and jalapenos on super crispy fries (described as “World’s Greatest Fries”). Given how much potato, cheese, and jalapenos the plate punches I have no idea why I couldn’t ever wait for my chicken strips to cool. It’s not like I could have been starving after those Packer fries trust me.
It’d been awhile since I had been to Corbett Fish House. I think a few summers ago when I was back from Miami for a bit my family had gone to the Hawthorne Fish House (Corbett’s sister restaurant). Corbett though just has a bit more of an authentic atmosphere. It feels like a local’s fish house on the New England coast. Just thinking about it I can almost imagine that New England winter nip right now. Or maybe it’s the A/C blasting in this Miami heat… One of my favorite parts is that under the glass tables are bathymetric chart (the underwater equivalent of a topographic map) of different oceans and lakes. As I might have mentioned before I love maps (no laughs)! So it provides a cool thing to study while you wait for the food. Plus I love all the Packers memorabilia around!
This trip I definitely was going to get the chicken strips no question. I thought the Packer fries might be a bit too much of an undertaking for just my dad and I. But it seemed like for old time’s sake something to go for. One thing that caught my attention though was their crab pepper cheese soup. It was a risk given my aversion to seafood but I thought that and the chicken strips were a bit more appropriate to my hunger level than the Packer fries. I double checked the soup was gluten-free, which it definitely was, and went for a cup of that along with the chicken strips. I wish I had gone for a bowl the soup was awesome! Cheesy, creamy, and full of flavor. From now on I think my line will be “I don’t do soup. But when I do I do Corbett Fish House’s crab pepper cheese soup.” I think it’s going to be the key factor to Corbett Fish House joining my list of must-stop on Portland trips instead of just being a nice favorite.
Now with age one becomes more patient and wiser right? I was a bit better this time of letting my chicken strips cool so that they’re not only delicious but also not painful! It might just be that I’m remembering differently but I also think they might have improved their breading. I think the breading used to come off more easily before, but that might have been because I didn’t wait for it to cool. This time though it stuck a lot better and makes it a nicer chicken strip experience. It’s not a super crispy hard breading like KFC or anything, but it definitely has crisp and some nice breading/chicken taste. The owners are from Green Bay (while all the Packers stuff) and so the fried fish and chicken strips are modeled after the Midwestern fish fry events, where they are are only lightly breaded.
The crab pepper soup is like “final meal’ worthy so I think the Corbett Fish House will be a regular on my Portland trips. The chicken strips have always been a favorite and I think they’re even better now (or maybe letting them cool just works better)! If you’re looking for fresh and delicious seafood in a laidback, authentic atmosphere Corbett Fish House has a great food and a great experience. They have a wide range of fish, fries, sandwiches, fish tacos, and more and you can definitely find something depending on your appetite and desired flavor. If you’re gluten-free I think it’s a must for the crab pepper soup, fried fish, and chicken strips!
Corbett Fish House- 5901 SW Corbett Ave, Portland, OR 97239 (also Hawthorne Fish House on 43rd and and Hawthorne)