Chicken in soy sauce
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What: Friday night fish frys—stemming from the no-meat-on-Fridays rule in effect during the Lent season—are popular around the country, especially in Roman Catholic enclaves of the Midwest and Northeast. In upstate New York, the fried fish in question is often haddock, cod, or pike; in Buffalo, you can find fish frys available daily throughout the year at a handful of restaurants.
Where: We indulged in the haddock fish fry at Schwabl’s (789 Center Rd., West Seneca, map), an old-school kind of place that feels like the home of a (much older) relative, with German-influenced fare.
When: Mon-Sat, 11am-10pm; Sun, 1pm-8:30pm
Order: There’s haddock ($12.95) and yellow pike ($13.95) on offer here; both are accompanied by coleslaw or pickled beets, plus fries, mashed potatoes, or homemade German potato salad—the latter is excellent, made with vinegar, onion, celery, and smoky bacon. The haddock is very mild—it definitely likes a dose of fresh lemon—but is nice and flaky inside. Also try the famed beef on weck sandwich ($8.95) here, as well as one of the fine cocktails from the bar.
Alternatively: German-Irish Ulrich’s Tavern (674 Ellicott St., map), Buffalo’s oldest continuously operating pub (since 1868), does a German-style fish fry ($13.95) with potato pancakes, red cabbage, and sauerkraut every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night (we’re told the fish is freshest on Thursdays). In Orchard Park, about 20 miles south of central Buffalo, Eckl’s Beef & Weck Restaurant (716-662-2262; 4936 Ellicott Rd., Orchard Park, map) serves its generous fish fry daily, with baked potato and coleslaw ($13.95). And on Fridays only, the Blackthorn Restaurant (2134 Seneca St., map) does a popular fish fry with haddock, coleslaw, pasta salad, and potato ($9.50).
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