Across the Pond

V51A1181Village Tavern’s Mary Grace Viado Howard shares an English classic. 

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Mary Grace Viado Howard is the corporate chef of all Village Tavern restaurants, so she got to choose which location to call home. And she chose Birmingham, many years ago, and has lived and worked here happily since. The Birmingham location is at the lower level of the Summit and is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and for brunch on weekends. Today she shares her scrumptious, from-scratch fish and chips, along with her recipes for coleslaw and tartar sauce. Please watch her cooking demo of all four recipes at


Fish and Chips Ingredients:

2 (for each serving) 4-ounce cod filets

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon coarse-grind black pepper

all-purpose flour, enough to coat

beer batter (see recipe)

1 leaf lettuce for each serving

1 cup coleslaw

1 cup French fries, seasoned with sea salt

¼ cup tartar sauce (see recipe)

1 lemon wedge for each serving


Fish and Chips Procedure:

Season cod fillets with kosher salt and black pepper. Dust with all-purpose flour. Dredge in beer batter and coat evenly. Drop in 350º fryer (or you can use a pot with oil over the stove) for four to five minutes. Drop frozen fries in 350º fryer for two minutes and 15 seconds. Once cooked, shake to drain excess oil. Sprinkle sea salt over French fries. Shake to cover all. Once the fish is cooked, place on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain excess oil. Assemble your plate: Place leaf lettuce at 10:00 and top with coleslaw. Place lemon wedge beside coleslaw at 9:00 position. Place ramekin of tartar sauce at 2:00 position. Place hot French fries between 4:00 and 9:00. Lean the fish filets on the French fries. Serve with malt vinegar, if desired.


Beer Batter Ingredients:

2 cups full-body beer (Warsteiner, Dos XX Amber, or Yuengling)

1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning

2 teaspoons kosher salt

¼ teaspoon white pepper

2 eggs per serving

¼  teaspoon baking powder

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour


Beer Batter Procedure: 

In a mixing bowl, using a wire whisk, combine all ingredients until well-combined.
Coleslaw Ingredients: 

2 cups cabbage, coarsely shredded

¼ cup carrots, finely shredded

½ cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon sugar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/8 teaspoon white pepper


Coleslaw Procedure: 

In a mixing bowl, add shredded cabbage and carrots and toss. In another mixing bowl, using a wire whisk, mix mayonnaise, sugar, salt, white vinegar, and white pepper. Mix dressing with cabbage completely, store, and refrigerate until needed. Makes one cup.


Tartar Sauce Ingredients: 

1 tablespoon yellow onion, finely diced

¼ cup dill pickles, finely diced

2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard

¾ teaspoon parsley flakes

1 cup mayonnaise

Tartar Sauce Procedure: 

Finely dice onion and pickles. Place in a mixing bowl. Add Dijon mustard, parsley flakes, and mayonnaise; fold together with a rubber spatula. Place tartar sauce in storage container and refrigerate until needed. Makes one to two servings.

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