With Lent upon us, this is a current topic -- could you provide a list of local restaurants that offer fish fry every day?
-- Jane, Amherst
They don't call it Friday for nothing, Jane. We all know you can get a fish fry on the sixth day of the week just about everywhere in Western New York. We're talking traditional fish fry here -- beer-battered haddock, usually with cole slaw or potato salad and French fried spuds -- although many variations on that theme have swum up in recent years. As you will see:
None of the places here is fancy, upscale or what they used to call "white tablecloth"restaurants. They aren't supposed to be, and I don't think that's what you are looking for.
These restaurants have long histories and offer substantial food without trying too hard; they also offer a satisfying experience. I could even mix metaphors and call them "salt of the earth." Pay a visit to Family Tree, 4346 Bailey Ave., Eggertsville. Fish fry is available in this popular restaurant for lunch and dinner every day.
Or The Place, 220 Lexington Ave. An old-timer if ever there was one. This time, order the German potato salad instead of the fries.
In the Southtowns, try Eckl's, 4936 Ellicott Road, Orchard Park. The fish fry here is yellow pike, not haddock -- a definite difference. You can order the yellow pike broiled as well, which makes the most of that delicate flavor.
(Actually, you can order your fish broiled rather than fried in most restaurants, although you may pay a little more to do so. Supposedly, this is because broiled fish has to be cut in thicker portions.)
Hoak's, 4100 Lake Shore Road, Hamburg, is another Western New York institution within sight of the source -- sort of. OK, that's an exaggeration, sad to say, but the Lake Erie view is still great.
You get a choice of fish here. Haddock -- but also tilapia, cod, pike -- you name it.
Then there's McPartlan's Corner, 669 Wehrle Drive, Williamsville. Fish fry seven days a week, fresh as can be. It may not be "caught right off the breakwall," as the funny guy who answered my questions told me. But it is fresh as can be.
I have barely gotten my feet wet here. There are so many other places where they serve fish traditionally and constantly. You might even check out your corner bar.
Meanwhile, please keep the restaurant questions coming to the address below. Next week, I'll take up the dreaded matter of The Tip.
E-mail questions about dining out around Western New York to firstname.lastname@example.org.