Since Batterfish opened in fall of 2020, Portlanders have had to visit Happy Valley to find owner Jason Killalee unique style of fish and chips. The Irish-born chef serves fish with a papery, extra crispy crust and house-cut chips, proudly never frozen for extra crispiness and less oil. However, fans of Killalee’s product will now be able to find it in a much more central position in Portland, on SE Belmont around 34th. Batterfish is open in the space formerly home to Char Latin Grill, and has added some inventive new menu items.
Killalee is fully transitioning into the new space, closing the food cart for now and focusing on the current venture. The menu will look similar to the cart’s, but will come with some new additions, including Char items with Killalee’s touch and wholly new specials. In addition to the baskets of fried salmon, cod, shrimp, and catfish, the new Batterfish will serve a fish and chips burrito: a diners choice of fish and chips, along with his house-made tartar sauce, pico de gallo, and cabbage rolled into a burrito. Essentially, Killalee explains, he’s simply replacing the bag or newspaper that normally wraps the dish with an edible package.
Another item he’s excited for is the burger — he coats his patties with bacon batter and fast fries them to a golden, crispy exterior and still-juicy interior, then serves them on a bun with the usual burger fixings. Similarly, he’ll be offering his popular spicy catfish as a sandwich, on a bun with tartar sauce and spicy slaw. Fried fish and other tacos will help round out the menu, and Killalee says he’ll eventually have tacos inspired by banh mi and Jamaican jerk chicken, the latter an ode to his Jamaican wife. Down the line he’ll be adding poke bowls, summer ceviche, lobster roll specials, and more permanent vegetarian options including marinated and fried tofu, something he’s learned to appreciate after moving to Portland. The vegetarian items will be fried in the potato fryer rather than sharing the oil with fish or other meats.
Transitioning into the Char space has been relatively easy, Killalee says, and he’ll be maintaining the staff. However, he’ll open the doors for indoor seating, something Char lacked during the pandemic. Diners will be able to enjoy beers and wine, including Irish imports like Smithwicks, Harp, and, of course, Guinness, as well as local brews.
The shop will open with hours from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., but Killalee says down the line he wants to open later, especially for the post-bar crowd.
Growing up in Ireland, Killalee spent years visiting the chip shops after a night out with a few pints, and wants to bring that same energy to the bar goers around his shop. He first opened Batterfish in California, where Eater LA’s Lucas Peterson said Killalee fried “LA’s best fish and chips.” Now, he’ll be vying for Portland’s title.
Batterfish is open now at 3336 SE Belmont Street.