Fish & Chips at White River Fish House

Written by Tamara Styer / Photographed by Robert Piper

As seen in the Premiere Issue of Branson Foodie Magazine, available for order!

YOU DON’T HAVE TO go to Britain to find a good version of salty, crispy fish and chips. On our adventure to experience every dish in Branson, Missouri, we came across the White River Fish House on the Branson Landing. Floating on Lake Taneycomo and emanating the smoky, meaty aroma of grilling steaks and burgers, we just had to try it.

Upon entering the Fish House, our eyes are treated to an expansive space filled with nautical emblems of a bygone era. Giant beams carved out of driftwood, old wooden canoes and thick ropes adorned with colorful floats, pulleys and other salvaged ship parts. The restaurant, with its antique oars, ship lanterns and even a collection of nautically themed books, is the seafaring sister of Bass Pro Shops, which is located just yards away on the Landing.

While the decor is whisking us away into a Neptunian whimsy, we are suddenly in the mood for fish and chips.

As we wait for our entree to arrive, a miniature cast iron skillet is brought to the table displaying freshly baked and golden sweet jalapeƱo cornbread, served with smooth whipped butter (of course) and lots of it. We slather it on the steamy hot slices of cornbread and indulge.

We also try the clam chowder, which is thick, creamy, hot and full of hearty red-skinned potatoes, tender clams and served in a tiny cast iron kettle. Garnished with fresh parsley, it’s how clam chowder - and even potato soup for that matter - is meant to be eaten.

Then our main course comes out: two large hot plates piled with golden beer-battered whitefish fillets resting on top of crispy, thick-cut steak fries.

This fish and chips entree belongs on the table among juicy grilled steaks and artisanal buffalo burgers. It stands up next to the crab stuffed Mahi Mahi and the half-rack of ribs that are also calling our names at White River Fish House. It’s a real hearty meal, and absolutely the right choice for our first dish there.  

We both ritualistically pick up a piece of crispy fish and take a bite. The light, crunchy batter gives way to tender, large flakes of fish. You take a bite, and you’re literally sinking your teeth into meaty goodness. Fluffy yet crisp batter is golden brown and tastes of a hint of honey sweetness, with a flavor somewhat reminiscent of a funnel cake - if you so generously added beer to that funnel cake.

The creamy slaw served on the side is simple, but quite honestly the best slaw we’ve ever had. Thick cuts of steak fries serve as the “chips,” and though we do love ketchup or ranch in other French fry situations, we opt to try them sprinkled with malt vinegar, as is traditional to the history of fish and chips. The acidity of the vinegar cuts through the richness of the fish and chips, and the light crunch of the fish is also complimented by a squeeze of fresh lemon, and a creamy tartar sauce on the side. It’s a homemade creamy white sauce with an herbal flavor, not at all like the tartar sauce that comes in a bottle. We’re not sure it should even be dubbed tartar sauce, as it is more like a creamy herb dip that lends the perfect compliment to the fish and chips. 

All in all, we can tell you that the fish and chips dinner at White River Fish House is ultimately gratifying, mouth-watering, rich and salty. What better combo is there?

Next time we’ll save room for their famous blackberry cobbler!

We take a moment to feed the adorable ducks outside at White River Fish House, located at the Branson Landing.

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