Huge portions, affordable prices, and pie.

Hip Hop Fish and Chicken

848 N. Eutaw St., (410) 225-9009, hiphopfc.com

Walking into the recently opened branch of Hip Hop Fish and Chicken, we were immediately struck by the definitive lack of hip-hop. Instead of the rhymes from, say, Kanye West or Kendrick Lamar, we were met with instant, noisy claustrophobia. The tiny space-already crowded by the open kitchen, fridge full of Coke products, and sweet potato pie-stocked dessert case-was jammed with people. Phones, answered with a droll "Hip Hop," rang off the hook amidst loud conversations between customers and the whir of machinery. Once we were able to focus on the menu, we felt it necessary to go with the titular fish and chicken combo, complete with fries, coleslaw, and two slices of white bread ($8.99). The combo options included most of the menu's surf n' turf selections (all to go, as Hip Hop does not have seating available): shrimp, nearly every edible part of a chicken, and several varieties of fish. Though oddly compelled by the prospect of a half-pound of gizzards, we opted for the safe catfish fillet and chicken tenders and dug in on a nearby bench. The fish was great-breaded, flaky and just barely spicy until we dipped it in the provided hot sauce, making it burn-your-mouth delicious. The chicken? Average, but the gargantuan tenders won points for size. Surprisingly, the abundant fries were pretty tasty: salty, deep-fried, and delectable-though not quite as crispy as we would have hoped. Overall, Hip Hop's huge portions and affordable prices made it worth the stress . . . and we'll definitely be back for that pie.

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