Buffalo (NY) fish fries

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Buffalo Tarheel
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Buffalo (NY) fish fries - Sat, 03/20/10 10:43 AM
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A couple of threads have inspired me to pay more attention to the wonder that is the Buffalo fish fry (no, not some demented version of chicken-fried steak wherein you fry Buffalo meat to look like fish).  The Pittsburgh fish sandwich thread and the Lenten fish fry thread are the ones that set me on the quest.  Here we are blessed with a large number of places to find fish, someplaces only on Friday and other ones all week long.
 
Last night we started at what might be considered an unlikely location:
 

 
"Anderson's?" you might say with some skepticism.  Veteran Roadfooders know that Anderson's has a great selection of ice cream, rivalled perhaps only by Abbott's for its creaminess, smoothness, and selection of flavors.  We also know that it has a very good roast beef sandwich if your tastes run toward thin roast beef instead of the thicker (and equally delicious) slices found at Schwabl's.  But as the sign says, Anderson's serves a fish fry on Fridays.
 
So how good is the fish?  After all, many restaurants serve fish fries, and not all is worth eating.
 
We went to the flagship location on Sheridan Drive in Tonawanda on a relatively warm evening, with the snow all melted away.  Below is what you can get for $9.00:
 

 
The meal consists of a large piece of haddock with a light coating, not overly heavy but still crunchy.  Underneath the fish is a mound of curly fries, although you can replace them with potato salad.  Lemon, cole slaw, tartar sauce, and a piece of seeded rye bread (hidden in the back) complete the meal.
 
The fish was perfectly cooked, not overdone, and had a light flavor typical of haddock.  It did have enough flavor that you can eat it without the tartar sauce or ketchup.  In other words, it was not so light in flavor as to be tasteless, but it did not have a "fishy" flavor.
 
We probably could have split one dinner instead of having a meal each, because the size of the dinner makes it hard to find room for ice cream or a trip across Sheridan Drive for a Ted's hot dog.  However, there is always room for ice cream.
 
It was a very good fish fry and a good start, and I'll post updates from other places.  I'd be curious to hear recommendations and comments from anyone who has been to the other places around here.
<message edited by Buffalo Tarheel on Tue, 04/6/10 7:34 PM>

jimcfs1
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Re:Buffalo fish fries - Sat, 03/20/10 11:07 AM
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As one who grew up in WNY, IMHO you can do much much better than Anderson's.  My advice is to try a little bar and grill, especially one with Polish or other eastern European influences.  The haddock must be beer battered as opposed to breaded.

Oh, and if you have to wait in line, that's a very very good sign!  ;)

starfire62
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Re:Buffalo fish fries - Sat, 03/20/10 11:28 AM
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i'd pass on that fish fry from andersons.i'd go with a cone before that fish fry.too many great taverns serving a nice beer battered fish fry.

MiamiDon
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Re:Buffalo fish fries - Sat, 03/20/10 11:55 AM
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That looks and sounds like a good example of a breaded haddock meal, BT.

We'll be expecting the second installment next Saturday! 

Buffalo Tarheel
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Re:Buffalo fish fries - Sat, 03/20/10 12:21 PM
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jimcfs1 and starfire62,
 
We actually had planned to have roast beef, but the fish looked really good, and that led into the whole idea of checking out various fish fry places.  If you know of any particular spots, I'd be glad to check them out (all in the interest of research, of course...).  You are correct that there are many small places around here that do a good job.  I have to say that the fish was very good at Anderson's and look forward to finding other great places.
 
MiamiDon,
 
It's a tough assignment, but I'm willing to do it.  Now I need to go running outside for the first time this year so that I can start taking off the pounds.  Looking forward to seeing you when I make my trip to Coral Gables at the end of April.

ChiTownDiner
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Re:Buffalo fish fries - Sat, 03/20/10 2:29 PM
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Buffalo Tarheel -

Nice photo and a worthwhile quest....best of luck!  We'll keep checking back for updates.

6star
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Re:Buffalo fish fries - Sat, 03/20/10 3:41 PM
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Buffalo Tarheel, you really fooled me.  When I saw the title of this thread, I thought it was going to be about frying Buffalo fish, like the little ones in this picture:
http://www.freewebs.com/missouribowfishingguide/buffalo.htm
 


MiamiDon
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Re:Buffalo fish fries - Sat, 03/20/10 7:03 PM
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If we have enough time, etc. I am sure that I will be able to bring you to some great fish sandwich places here!

Buffalo Tarheel
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Re:Buffalo fish fries - Sat, 03/20/10 7:12 PM
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ChiTownDiner,
 
Thanks very much.  We are checking into new places and planning out next week's trip.
 
6star,
 
I think we could make a few fish dinners out of those small little fish in the picture - like maybe enough fish fries to feed all of Roadfood.com.
 
MiamiDon,
 
I'm looking forward to some great eats in Miami.

buffetbuster
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Re:Buffalo fish fries - Sat, 03/20/10 10:35 PM
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BT, a truly worthwhile quest if ever I've seen one.  And great photos, too.  Very much looking forward to future installments.

PapaJoe8
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Re:Buffalo fish fries - Sun, 03/21/10 12:27 PM
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6star, that's what I thought also. We have those Buffalo fish here in Texas also. Then I thought about fish fried in a Buffalo hot sauce style batter. Hmm, not a bad idea.

No one has fried catfish in Buffalo? They would work well w/ a bit of Frank's in tha batter. And... if I had to choose a city to try this in it would be Buffalo. :~)
Joe
<message edited by PapaJoe8 on Sun, 03/21/10 12:33 PM>

GeoNit
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Re:Buffalo fish fries - Mon, 03/22/10 10:58 AM
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 I highly recommend the Friday fish dinners (beer-battered, breaded or broiled) at Wiechec's Lounge in South Buffalo
 
http://foodpage.us/617054?showmap=1&toz= .  
 

Niagara
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Re:Buffalo fish fries - Mon, 03/22/10 8:22 PM
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Gadawski's on East Falls Street in Niagara Falls.

Buffalo Tarheel
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Re:Buffalo fish fries - Mon, 03/22/10 9:50 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions, Geonit and Niagara. I'll keep you posted.
 
PapaJoe8,
 
I don' think I have run across any fish with hot sauce as found on chicken wings.  The dish might be out there, and I'll have to check it out.  It sounds like something that could be really good or really bad; not sure which it may be.

Buffalo Tarheel
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Re:Buffalo fish fries - Fri, 03/26/10 12:13 PM
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PapaJoe8


6star, that's what I thought also. We have those Buffalo fish here in Texas also. Then I thought about fish fried in a Buffalo hot sauce style batter. Hmm, not a bad idea.

No one has fried catfish in Buffalo? They would work well w/ a bit of Frank's in tha batter. And... if I had to choose a city to try this in it would be Buffalo. :~)
Joe

Papajoe,
 
The Valley Inn, a place known more for barbeque, actually does offer fish with hot sauce.  The dinner menu shown below shows that type of fish.  That place may be on our list.  More details to come on this week's place.
 
http://valleyinnbbq.com/dinner.html

PapaJoe8
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Re:Buffalo fish fries - Fri, 03/26/10 12:50 PM
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Buffalo Fish, topped w/ blue cheese and hot sauce. That's close and of coarse it needs blue cheese. My idea is to mix the hot sauce in w/ tha batter. Both ways could be good, or? They have Buffalo Chicken Fingers also. I wonder if the sauce is mixed w/ the batter for those? I bet so. Tar, if you go... let us know if you can.
Joe

Buffalo Tarheel
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Re:Buffalo NY fish fries - updated 3/26 McPartlan's and others - Fri, 03/26/10 4:51 PM
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Fish fries are a staple of Friday nights, meaning that the crowds can be overwhelming.  How to avoid those crowds?  Try a place that serves fish fries all week long.  Last night (Thursday) we tried a Roadfood staple, McPartlan's Corner in Amherst. 
 
To see what else this restaurant serves, we elected to order a fish fry and another meal, in this case the fried chicken in a basket.  The fried chicken came with a choice of soup or salad, and I decided to try the Italian wedding soup:
 

 
The soup was very hot, which is preferable to lukewarmness.  It's easier to wait for soup to call than it is to send it back for reheating.  The soup had a good flavor without being overly salty, and it had a few decent-size meatballs.
 
Along with the soup came a basket of seeded rye bread and crackers.
 

 
The bread was very good.  If you prefer your rye bread seedless, that might be a problem, but otherwise the bread added a nice touch to the meal.
 
The chicken in a basket came in a basket as advertised:
 

 
I wish I could say that we had hit pay dirt with the chicken, to mix metaphors, but it was only fair.  The pieces of chicken were undersized and lacking in meat.  The taste was decent, but the overall amount of food was somewhat sparse.  Buffalo is not known for its fried chicken dinners, so I can't really complain too much.
 
The fish dinners come in full and half portions.  We ordered the full portion, which came with cole slaw, a beet, and choice of potato (we elected for french fries):
 

 
The fish is lightly breaded, not heavily battered, with the skin on the bottom.  It was decent-tasting but nothing special.  In fact, the fish from Anderson's last week had a better breading and fresher taste.  Maybe it's because we had fish at McPartlan's on Thursday and not Friday.  Would I eat the fish here again?  Yes, because it was decent, but it was not great enough to inspire another trip.
 
On the way out we noticed the restaurant review clippings on the wall touting the greatness of the fish fry and realized many go back several years.  Perhaps we hit an off night or perhaps the place has slipped somewhat.  Again, this was not a bad meal, but it was not awesome either.
 
Heading home we stopped at Dicamillo's Bakery (the location on Main Street in Williamsville, not the one in Niagara Falls) and picked up three items.  First was a loaf of sliced Italian bread:
 

 
It is outstanding bread and better than anything from the grocery store for certain.
 
We also picked up a box of Chrusciki, those light foods that seem to be designed as a way to eat powdered sugar (nothing wrong with that, of course).  Very light and flavorful:
 

 
The bakery also offered Napoleans, which we had one of but did not get a picture.
 
If you are near a DiCamillo's location, be aware that after 6:00 PM (4:00 PM on Sunday), they offer the pizza slices and donuts at 40% off, which is a good deal.
 
We were ready to head home but saw this sign on Main Street near Transit Road:
 

 
 
Who could resist the temptation?  We did not have a burger from Bill Gray's, the Rochester-based restaurant that has started expanding westward, but we did try the ice cream from Abbott's, which was located inside Bill Gray's.  The selection is not as great as found at other locations, like the one the September RF tour stopped at, but it still has some good flavors.  Below is a shot of the chocolate custard in a dipped waffle cone:
 

 
That was enough for one night.  Although McPartlan's was not as great as we had expected, there are other places to try in the coming weeks.
<message edited by Buffalo Tarheel on Mon, 03/29/10 11:41 AM>

battra
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Re:Buffalo fish fries - updated 3/26 McPartlan's and others - Fri, 03/26/10 5:36 PM
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Oh, when I saw this thread...I thought you were talking about Buffalo Fish...which we have down here on the Mississippi...My old dad used to do a fish fry a few times a year in our garage....his fried buffalo fish and home made chips always made me melt....would gain 10 pounds each time he did one.

6star
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Re:Buffalo fish fries - updated 3/26 McPartlan's and others - Fri, 03/26/10 6:53 PM
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battra, you must have missed my post back at #7 on this thread.  As they say, "Great minds think alike."

PapaJoe8
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Re:Buffalo fish fries - updated 3/26 McPartlan's and others - Fri, 03/26/10 8:07 PM
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I am invited to a non Buffalo fish fry Saturday night. Hey it's Texas and it's Catfish! Buffalo fish are to hard to catch down here. :~(

My fav fried fish is Sand Bass (white bass) though. Although... it depends on how far away from the equator a fish is fried.
Joe

Buffalo Tarheel
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Re:Buffalo NY fish fries - updated 3/26 McPartlan's and others - Mon, 03/29/10 11:42 AM
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I've added "NY" to the latest title - I didn't realize how popular those Buffalo fish are!

6star
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Re:Buffalo NY fish fries - updated 3/26 McPartlan's and others - Mon, 03/29/10 1:00 PM
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Buffalo Tarheel


I've added "NY" to the latest title - I didn't realize how popular those Buffalo fish are!


Welcome to the Midwest and beyond! 

battra
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Re:Buffalo NY fish fries - updated 3/26 McPartlan's and others - Mon, 03/29/10 2:31 PM
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6star


Buffalo Tarheel


I've added "NY" to the latest title - I didn't realize how popular those Buffalo fish are!


Welcome to the Midwest and beyond! 



Bingo!!


Man...I'm now half tempted to drive to Grafton, IL to get some!

Niagara
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Re:Buffalo NY fish fries - updated 3/26 McPartlan's and others - Mon, 03/29/10 2:42 PM
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Tarheel-
Nice pictures. My wife and I were just talking about how much er miss DiCamillo's bread yesterday (but refuse to pay their highway robbery mailorder prices to get it).

Buffalo Tarheel
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Re:Buffalo NY fish fries - updated April 6 - Gordie Harper's Bazaar - Tue, 04/6/10 7:38 PM
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The days before Easter in Buffalo provided a blast of unusually warm weather, with temperatures 30 degrees and more above the average.  Instead of dealing with the 40’s, we had a few days in the 70’s and even 80’s.  Such an unexpected treat made for good days to be outside.  Good Friday’s 80 degree temperature and sunshine motivated us to drive up to Lake Ontario.  On the way to the lake, we stopped at a place we had never been to, Gordie Harper’s Bazaar on Lockport-Olcott Road (route 78) in Newfane, NY.
 

 
Goldie Harper’s is a treasure trove of places to shop.  The building doesn’t show from the outside what you can find inside: a multitude of small stores to buy crafts and other goods made by local merchants, which is why the sign uses the word “co-op.”  You can wander around the bends and turns for quite some time and find a pretty varied range of goods. 
 

 
Shopping is a fine way to walk off a meal, but first comes the meal.  Goldie Harper’s has a decent-size restaurant, and on this Friday afternoon the place was already busy at 3:30 PM.  You can find breakfast food and a nice selection of sandwiches on the menu.  We elected for the haddock fish fry, of course.  It is available in two versions.  Mrs. Buffalo Tarheel ordered the battered fish as shown here:
 

 
The batter was crunchy but not overly heavy as is often found.  The meat was flaky and cooked to perfection, done but not overdone.
 
I ordered the breaded fish fry as shown below:
 

 
The breading was light but provided a  nice complement to the fish.
 
You might think from the pictures that the fries are seasoned, but they are only lightly battered.  They have a good flavor without the overwhelming seasoning taste you find on some seasoned fries.
 
The meal also comes with a bowl of cole slaw with a tangy flavor.  The bread basket comes with white bread instead of the usual rye bread found with many fish fries.
 

 
At first you might think that this is ordinary white bread, but that’s not so.  The bread is baked on the premises and is soft and warm.  If not for the massive size of the fish, I would have asked for more bread but was too full.  However, we did pick up a loaf to take home, and it proved to be just as good.  Pictured below is a loaf with a butter lamb from the Buffalo Broadway Market.
 

 
All in all, this was a winning meal and a place we will return to (once we have tried several more fish fry places in the interest of research).  If you find yourself in Niagara County, this
<message edited by Buffalo Tarheel on Tue, 04/6/10 9:09 PM>