Go Fish Ocean Emporium

What a catch.

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On June 1, 2017, Chrissy Teigen came to town. “Hi Vancouver!” the model tweeted to her 10.7 million Twitter followers, amassing an impressive 358 replies. Even homegrown comedic actor Seth Rogen got in on the action, offering up his ideal Vancouver food bucket list: Phnom Penh for Cambodian wings, Maenam for Thai, and the Richmond Night Market “for everything.” Those are well-known favourites, but also on Rogen’s proposed itinerary was a little hidden gem called Go Fish Ocean Emporium.

The secluded seafood shack overlooking Granville Island’s harbour is small and mighty, and it seems as though Rogen is its unofficial publicist. The Superbad writer and star always suggests that visiting celebrities—from Roots drummer Questlove to director Peter Atencio—check out Go Fish when in Vancouver, often recommending a Tacone (the spot’s take on a fish taco). Rogen even once told comedian Joe Mande that if he didn’t order a Go Fish taco during his visit, he was “a terrible person.”

Founded in 2004 and open year-round, Go Fish supports local fishermen with a mainstay menu as well as daily features scribbled on a chalkboard. Prepared by executive chef Gord Martin (formerly of the now-closed Bin 941 and Bin 942), all seafood is responsibility harvested each season.

Like many Vancouverites, I’ve been to Go Fish many times, spending countless hours in lines that wrap around a section of the Seawall called the Island Park Walk. I usually order the halibut and chips: a generous chunk of fish coated in a homemade Granville Island Brewing beer batter, resulting in fillets that are tender on the inside and perfectly crispy on the outside. This comfort food is so light and full of flavour that some might even say there is no need for the tartar sauce (though with hints of dill and tarragon, it is hard to pass up). And the chips? Hot and crispy, hand-cut with love, perfect for sharing—but “please don’t feed zee buuurds!” a board near the picnic tables (there is no indoor seating) clearly states. Potatoes are truly appreciated here, and not just in French fry form; Go Fish always includes a “Potato of the Day”—a literal potato with a toothpick sign stuck into it—displayed by the cash register. Curious and charming, it is one of my favourite aspects of the eatery’s identity.

On a recent visit, I decide to stray from my regular order and try a Tacone in honour of Rogen. Given a choice between salmon and tuna, I go for the salmon—and after just one bite, I fully understand the hype. This delicious white-flour tortilla wrap, filled with cilantro-spiked salsa, chipotle crema, and pickled Pacific Rim slaw, is incredibly delicious. On my second bite, though, I realize that my salmon is not the typical pink colour I’m used to seeing, and start to wonder if I was accidentally served a different fish. I’m not the only customer to notice this, and I watch as a man approaches the counter to inquire about his salmon sandwich; it turns out, as the young cashier explains, that wild salmon this time of year is a lighter colour because of its diet. Impressed by this new nugget of knowledge, I dive straight back into my taco.

When I get home, belly full and completely satisfied, I can’t help but share my first Tacone experience with the expert who recommended it. “Hey Seth, what do you think of these tacones???” I tweet at Rogen with a photo of my meal. I don’t expect an answer (he has over seven million followers, after all)—but to my amazement, moments later he responds with a single word: “Jealous.”


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September 29, 2018