Marina Cafe’s Beer Battered Fish & Chips

The secret to the beer batter in this fish and chips dish is triple leavening agents — baking powder, baking soda and salt — and egg whites. The Providence Journal / Sandor Bodo

The secret to the beer batter in this fish and chips dish is triple leavening agents — baking powder, baking soda and salt — and egg whites. The Providence Journal / Sandor Bodo

We saw this awesome article in the Providence Journal this Wednesday and just had to tell everyone. In the food section they featured Chef Christian Ferreria’s beer-battered fish and chips from the Marina Cafe in Newport. And you know what else? The recipe calls for none other than Narragansett beer. What other beer is there to use for old style New England Fish & Chips. Here’s the recipe followed by the ProJo’s article.

Marina Café Fish and Chips

1 1/2 cups flour, plus a cup for dredging

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg white

1 16-ounce can Narragansett Beer

8 ounce codfish fillet

Vegetable or canola oil for frying

1-2 russet potatoes

Equipment: Deep fryer

Mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, cornstarch, baking powder and soda and salt. Whisk them in with beer and egg white to make the fish batter.

Dip codfish in the cup of plain flour before dipping it to coat in the beer batter. Fry the fillet in 350-degree oil until golden brown.

To make fries: Peel potatoes and slice into long strings. Blanch by cooking for 3 minutes at 250 degrees. Remove them from fryer and heat oil to 350 degrees. Return the fries to deep fryer for 3-4 minutes or until crispy. Serves 1.

Chef’s Secret: Marina Café & Pub’s fish and chips
By Gail Ciampa

Journal Food Editor

Brian Solecki of Rehoboth wrote: “My girlfriend and I frequently go out to different restaurants around New England. One of my favorite dishes is old-fashioned fish and chips. I’ve had this dish at many seafood restaurants, and on some occasions, I am disappointed with both the quality of the fish and the batter, in which the fish is prepared.

On a recent trip to Newport, we had lunch at The Marina Cafe & Pub, located on Goat Island. As usual, I tried the fish and chips. The cod was fresh and moist, and the batter was the lightest and most flavorful that I have ever tasted. The menu stated that the batter was a beer batter. I’ve tried preparing fish and chips at home using a beer batter in the past, and have not had good results. The batter usually comes out a little too heavy, greasy, and lumpy. What is their secret?”

I’ll say one thing for Brian, he’s persistent to keep trying all that bad fish and chips in order to find the gold standard there at The Marina Café & Pub on Goat Island.

This wonderful water-view spot was recently opened by Richard Sardella, owner of Newport’s Sardella’s on Bellevue Avenue and the city’s former mayor, along with limited partner Patrick Golden who serves as the general manager.

“We are the only waterfront restaurant in Newport that has a view of Newport and the harbor,” boasts Golden.

He can now claim to have some marvelous fish and chips out of the kitchen headed by chef Christian Ferreira.

The secret to his batter is triple leavening agents and egg whites. The beer batter includes baking powder, baking soda and salt to add poof to the batter.

As for the fries, this is the pomme frites method of deep-frying potatoes that guarantees no oily taste. First you blanch the potatoes at a low temperature and then fry them a second time to bring on the crispiness that makes them so delicious.

Chef Ferreira grew up in Portsmouth and is a Culinary Arts graduate of Johnson & Wales University. He learned a few things in his food travels, which include working in several upscale spots in Charlotte, N.C. He returned to Rhode Island and worked at Sardella’s for the past three years before recently making the move to the new restaurant.

The Marina Cafe & Pub is at 3 Marina Plaza. The Goat Island Marina is a deep-water facility that is located on the west side of Newport Harbor with fixed and floating slips.

The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Brunch items are available on Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition to indoor dining, you will find an outdoor deck that has an outdoor bar on one side, and seating for approximately 35 on the other side; and an outdoor fire pit/lounge area with outdoor couches and chairs; and a patio area that seats another dozen people.

On Wednesdays, the Marina offers a special of four fish tacos and a liter of sangria for $20.