We Were Tricked by the Fish-Tricky Fish

The Tricky Fish – Washington Street, Charleston, WV

After reading the interesting write-up in the Daily Mail and receiving a favorable report from a colleague, the Five walk down Capitol Street to try out the latest addition to East End eating.

Susan’s Review
The overall appearance wasn’t much better inside than out. I can’t believe they have been working on this place for months and this is all they came up with. No landscaping, no artwork on the walls. The chairs were cool, though.

I ordered the catfish po’ boy, homemade onion rings, and a Diet Coke. The soda was in cans which was a disappointment. The wait on the food wasn’t bad. The large Kaiser-style bun felt like it had come out of the refrigerator. How hard is it to toast a bun, or at least warm it in the nuker? On it was two small pieces of breaded, fried catfish. I asked for lettuce instead of cabbage and it was the iceberg kind that comes out of a sack. The onion rings were 95% breading, 5% onion.

My sandwich really needed three pieces of the fish, minimum. Tricky Fish’s sister restaurant, The Bluegrass Kitchen, serves really nice spring greens on their sandwiches – why don’t they bring some across the street for the fish sandwich? A cup for the canned soda would have been nice to help eliminate the aluminum taste, but a fountain soda is what I expect if my lunch is going to cost ten bucks.

The food tasted pretty good but I couldn’t believe the price for the amount and quality of the items I ordered. My total was $11.40. It gave me heartburn. I rate the Tricky Fish—2 forks.

Dan’s Review

I am going to have to give this place one more chance. I have to say that I have never been impressed by the service at the fish’s sister restaurant – Bluegrass Kitchen. Although the menu usually made up for it, but that is another review. When a place is called the Tricky Fish my expectation is that they have a great fish sandwich. The Fish doesn’t even have a traditional fish sandwich on the menu. In addition, the only fish they serve is catfish. (They do serve other shellfish…more on that in a minute.) Ok, that’s fine. This place serves po-boy’s ala New Orleans. Again my expectations get the better of me. When I think po’boy this is what I think – Po’Boy. I also think it should be a big sandwich for a samll cost. I ordered a oyster po’boy at the $7.95 price point. I am fine with that price if I get a sandwich to match. What I got was four fried oysters in a homemade hot dog bun with three iceberg lettuce leaves and two half slices of tomato – no sauce. I guess they forgot the “fresh tartar sauce”. I ordered some onion rings, which where over fried and lacking onion.

I mentioned service earlier. I can kinda of cut them a break, but the place has been open for about a week and the counter staff should know the menu and options.

What would make the tricky fish better. I think some research would be a start. I was so disappointed that I had to have a CODZILLA sandwich at C.J. Maggie’s over the weekend. Now that is a fish sandwich.

We don’t have a half fork rating at this time so I give the Tricky Fish – ZERO FORKS. 😦

I will revise my rating with a future visit in a month or so.

Misty’s Review

After walking in the door and reading the menu board, I decided on the Fish Taco- soft shell, a soda, and persuaded another co-worker to split an order of onion rings with me. I discussed what was on the fish taco with the cashier and decided to make some adjustments: No tartar sauce and change the cabbage to lettuce. They were very accommodating to my special requests. We found a table, sat, and waited on our food.

Fish Taco- $3.75- All the adjustments I made to my taco were correct. This makes me happy. But, then, I noticed the shell was cold. It was not even room temperature. The fish was fried, hot and tasted good. However, there was only one piece of fish that was slightly bigger than a fish stick. The amount of lettuce, cheese, etc. was acceptable. In all, the fish taco was not great, but not bad.

Onion Rings- $2.25- Order included only 5 onion rings. So, my co-worker took the 2 larger onion rings and I had the 3 smaller ones. I have to say, the more I ate, they better they got. The first one, burnt. The second one, very crispy- not much onion. The third one, just the right amount of crispiness and the right amount of onion. But, a disappointment at $.45/per ring.

Soda- $1.25- Another disappointment- a can of soda was my only choice. At least there were straws.

Based on the food quantity, quality and price, I rate the tricky fish 2 forks.

Phil’s Review (sorry for the late posting!)

I was the anomaly in the group, perhaps protected by that un-risky  and conservative behavior of ordering what I know I like.  (Here’s the dig for all the criticism I take from Daniel for not being adventurous enough in my food tastes).  I am adventurous, just not in restaurants; mostly around bridges, underwater or in caves.  But I digress . . .

I ordered the pulled pork sandwich and was rewarded for sticking to my plan.  My sandwich was one of the few which was served warm, as a large portion and quite tasty.  The portion was so big I was forced to eat some of it with a fork so I didn’t end up wearing it on my suit.  It was not overly saucy, but still had a good taste.  However, it wasn’t a totally dry rub either.

I took the two large onion rings from the pregnant lady (sorry Misty, I’ll buy next time).  They were okay, but nothing to brag about.  They did seem to fall apart with each bite, so the fork again came in handy, since I’m a ketcup dipper.

Other than feeling a little guilty for enjoying a good meal while everyone else was less than impressed (boy talk about a bunch of complainers!)–I had a good experience.  The decor and the drinks could use a lot of help.  Also, the service was a little slow, but I attribute that to the fact that the place was very busy and still in its first week or two of opening day.

My rating would be a three forks meal.

1600 Washington St East
Charleston, WV 25311


26 responses to “We Were Tricked by the Fish-Tricky Fish

  1. I think this is an awesome blog. I also love the negative tone of the review. People need to complain more.

  2. I’d been curious about this place, but hadn’t tried it yet. I hadn’t seen any of the articles on it, just the sign out front advertising fish tacos. I went in today for something healthy to eat, but was very dissapointed.

    I first noticed that the only salad on the menu was something called a “chop salad” priced at $1.95. I was looking more for a meal-sized salad and figured, at that price, this is more of a side salad. So I asked how the fish was cooked for the fish taco and was informed that it was fried. When I think of fish tacos, I think broiled or baked fish.

    The rest of the menu is nowhere near healthy food-hot dogs, fried bologna, fried fish/oyster po boys, fried onion rings, etc. I passed on all of it. I would have ordered the fish tacos had the fish been prepared any way but fried. I won’t go back.

  3. As the colleague that recommended this place, I just have to comment. I had a decent experience at Tricky Fish, and a very good Catfish Po Boy sandwich. The service was fine. My fish was cooked just perfect, two good sized pieces. I loved the side sauce, it was very tasty. I agree with the comments about the canned soda’s. I prefer fountain drinks and ice. The place sure could use some landscaping, I think more people would be willing to go in if it looked more inviting (and cleaner). I plan to try it again.

  4. I’ve been out of town for a week, then back to work today for the first time. I noticed the new front porch at the Tricky Fish, and the four or five tables with umbrellas. This is a nice upgrade. Have they done anything to upgrade the rest of the place including the food?

  5. LAL-

    We do plan to make a re-review of the Tricky Fish. I think the deck looks great and I am glad they added umbrellas so we won’t get fried like the fish. We will post a new review, linked to this one, when we go back.

  6. Pingback: You Can Go Shirtless at Cilantro’s - Cilantro’s Tex-Mex Grill « Fork You…

  7. Pingback: Another Chance for Tricky Fish « Fork You…

  8. Wow. I’ve been to tricky fish twice and was rewarded with spectacular food. I think they have the best onion rings in Charleston (mine had tons o onion) with none of that crappy beer batter. And the chili tacos? Holy crap. Its weird that people can have such a vastly different experience.

  9. i googled the tricky fish to see a menu and sadly, this is what came upat the top of the list. aside from the fact that this reads like a catty attack in a high school girl’s room stall door, this review seemed almost pointedly and intentionally written after someone had their mind made up before they went. i actually am a huge fan of the tricky fish. i’ve never had a negative experience there. i think their prices and portions are reasonable. i think they’re a break from the norm. i think i will go back and i think that this review was pointless, childlish and more than poorly written.


  10. Scotty – I am glad that you found this review and left a positive comment for TF. Unfortunately, that has not been the experiences we and many others have had. If you think this one was bad you should read the more recent review with the owners responses.

  11. I would highly recommend you give Tricky Fish one more chance. I am a vegetarian, and I love their tofu tacos – especially since they switched up the tofu a couple of weeks ago. They are seriously delicious, and the texture of the tofu is amazing. I eat a lot of good food, and I hate paying for bad food, so I understand your frustration with previous experiences.

    But they have all different cooks now, one of which is amazing (I always go in the evening so I can get his food) and their menu has been switched up a bit and vastly improved. You should go on a weeknight, have a tofu taco, and amend your review. Think about it!

    • I know you were trying to appeal to our sensitive side. Unfortunately Ron lacks sensitivity. There are positive reviews out there for Tricky Fish and potential dinners will have to weigh the good and the bad.

      I haven’t eaten there since this review, but the others have. At some point I will go back and try something else.

  12. Hannah…

    I highly recommend you try real protein.

    Please keep a look out for my comparison of the Tricky Fish fish sandwich and the Fresh Seafood Big Fish Combo, coming soon.

    Pictures are promised.

  13. A friend and I made a visit to Tricky Fish to give an unvisited Charleston-area restaurant a try. From the moment we entered the door, I had a feeling things would be a disappointment and boy was I right. One of the “staff” members made a comment that the boss was away, and that couldn’t be more evident. There was some loud discussion going on in the back of the house. These staff members who had either had too much “tricky fish” or some other substance. Then the “hostess” (all these apostrophized terms are used lightly) yelled to the other “staff” that she had to go get “these people’s orders.” These people consisted of a couple who seemed to be ordering for their entire neighborhood. Never were we offered a menu to browse while we waited for the stimulus package sized order in front of us. Finally I spied with my little eye a few menus and grabbed some from the trivia machines while the seemingly pharmaceutically altered “hostess” told the couple in front of us what they were out of and how she couldn’t do combo meals. In exasperation, we left in hopes of greener pastures elsewhere. Just sad, and very deserving of Dan’s 0-fork rating.

  14. The Tricky Fish is the place that just keeps on ..

    Giving…. and Giving….. and Giving….

    to my amusement. thanks for the update Eric.

  15. Well lets see…The first time I went to Tricky fish I had a great experience. Although the water wasn’t the best tasting, my tofu tacos were awesome. The service was a little slow, but what do you expect, it’s busy during lunch hour. I think Fork You is a little harsh, and should give the Tricky Fish one more chance.

  16. keely needs to lose her arrogant attitude.

  17. tf and bg

    tf and bgk need to accept negative comments

    as constructive criticism .

  18. First off – I love love love this blog. It’s well-written, funny and helpful to me, as I’m new to Charleston.

    I think the Bluegrass Kitchen is almost perfect; in many ways, it’s one of Charleston’s saving graces in my mind. And my little complaints about it are more of a personal aesthetic issue rather than any issue with the establishment or the food. I had heard from people at my work that the Tricky Fish was great too, so we headed out for lunch one day.

    I hated it, almost upon entering the door.

    The first time we went, we weren’t sure what we were supposed to do. We sat down, and waited. Then a weird and seemingly rude cashier told us to order at the register. We got our food quickly, but three of our group of four thought it was underwhelming (my husband liked his catfish tacos). When we paid I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to tip or not. Also, were we supposed to clear our own table? I couldn’t tell what the theme was, and like other critics, I sort of expected more FISH on the menu.

    We gave it another try, and my sentiments remained the same. The food just isn’t that great, and some of that is due to my high expectations after going to the Bluegrass Kitchen so often, but a lot of it is that it’s just not that great. The place is strange, and the staff seemed uninterested in our presence.

    But my husband loves those catfish tacos. So we kept going back. I tried pretty much everything in the world of tacos there, and yes, the catfish is the only truly tasty one. (It’s actually really, really good.)

    What kept us going back is this — it’s a place to catch a few beers and have some adequate food that is close to where we work. And, after getting to know them, the staff are just great, eccentric people who are kind and hilarious. I like them. A lot.

    And so here’s the final word. I now LIKE the Tricky Fish. I have opted for the liquid lunch in our subsequent visits, however. Its quirks, which initially annoyed me, are now charming. And there’s just not too many choices near the capital.

    In short, this place is a good bar that you can bring your mom or your kids to, and also eat a taco or a hotdog.

  19. Skido-
    Thanks for the kind words about the blog.
    Your comments regarding Tricky Fish were nicely articulated. They have to be doing something right, they seem to be going strong. If I were around town in the evenings, I may find that I like it for the same reasons you do.
    I am still a die hard Bluegrass fan – love that Perfect Chicken!

  20. I was afraid to try this place for the longest time. I finally did back in June. I ordered the mahi mahi tacos thinking the fish would be fried. I was wrong, it was grilled and I was glad. The fish was good, but the amount of it was a little sparse. The onion rings were excellent. I’ve been back twice since then. Once I got the mahi mahi sandwich with tartar sauce. Again, expecting it to be fried, I was pleasantly surprised when they brought it to me and it was grilled. The sandwich was stacked with two large pieces of fish, lettuce, tomato and freshmade tartar sauce on the side. The tartar sauce had jalepenos in it and was really good. Onion rings again and just as good. The third time I got the mahi mahi basket. I got three or four 1″ x 3″ strips of fish. I thought the serving size was a little skimpy considering the price. I had the tartar sauce and love it again. Side salad and freshmade cole slaw were my sides. It is a strange little place, but it’s kinda grown on me since my first encounter was unpleasant (see my first post.) I’ve even grown to sort of like their instant tea, and I hate instant tea.

  21. From the outside appearance, I always assumed this place was a head shop or tanning salon, or a combo head shop/tanning salon.

    How is it now in 2011? Still good/bad/OK?

    • It’s actually really, really good. I got a hot dog that was almost $4, and it had about $6 worth of chili, slaw and onions on top. I ate the toppings off it with a knife and fork, and it didn’t bother me to do so, because I am an adult and I don’t complain about petty things like that. The flavors were right on, although the Nathan’s snappy is a tad salty… The slaw was a sweet and creamy mix of green and red cabbage, with poppy seeds mixed in for extra texture and flavor. Chili was flavorful and plentiful, and not to mention, the potato chips were fresh-fried, kettle style- done in their own fryers.

      It’s 2011, they’ve had 3 years to get things straight, and it seems like they have. I find it funny how people were recommending the tax-dodging ( that’s not a libelous exaggeration) Virgil Saddorra’s Cilantro’s as an alternative. How’s that working out for you guys? Oh wait… Ermm….

      As far as the service, Charlestonians need to grow up and realize that they’re not going to get their ass kissed all the time by people in the service industry. People have bad days, especially if they’re getting paid an adjusted wage of $2.15 an hour. They’re probably treating you poorly because you don’t tip them well, or at all.

      In summation: food’s good. Once the weather warms up, the deck’s gonna be awesome. The service can be lacking, but get over it.

      To all the people complaining: go to Long John Silvers. I hear they do an “excellent” fish taco for $0.99.

      • Good to here things have improved. I heard that it was sold to new owners?

        • jack blasto

          Nope, as I’m aware it’s still the same owners. New chef, new prices, upgraded menu.

      • I don’t care how bad of a day a server is having. Service should be friendly no matter what. I don’t expect to have my ass kissed every time I eat out, but don’t take your bad day out on me. My tip will be based on how you do your job. Your service shouldn’t be based on your anticipation of my tip!

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