The fish fry is a way of life in Western New York. In fact, since announcing that I would be featuring some of the area’s finest, many people have approached me with their favorite spots. Many of my friends from South Buffalo stand by some of the more well-known establishments in the old neighborhood. Why wouldn’t they? When it comes to the ultimate fish fry few places on the planet can compete with what home has to offer. It should be pointed out that up until about 10 years ago there was basically a Catholic school, restaurant, or bar on every corner and all of these institutions did their best to provide families with some of the best meals in town. I can still remember working all of the Timon fish fry events wondering where all of these people were coming from.
The Lenten season typically brought the families of the neighborhood together because it was a cheap night out, or you were working alongside your brother or best friends to help serve the community. What I didn’t know then what I know now is that families continue to that today all across Western New York. Most view Lent as a joke or a time to give up something to prove your holiness. I see it as a time to reflect on the things that have made me who I am and to take advantage of the hard work these restaurants and establishments put into these 6 Fridays.
Believe it or not, my first stop on this fish fry adventure came on Ash Wednesday out at the Shannon Pub on Niagara Falls Blvd. I still laugh when people looked so confused as to why I have a grayish crusty cross on my forehead. However, it is a mark that servers and waitresses know very well. Once I arrived I was immediately seated and made aware of their Lenten specials. As the server tried to give me the menu I informed her that I was only there for one reason. “Breaded, beer-battered, or broiled?” I of course decided on the beer-battered and informed the waitress that I would not like any coleslaw. Typically, I will double up on macaroni salad especially at a place like Shannon who serves some of the best shells to go along with their masterpiece of a piece of fish. The portions are perfect there with French fries you will find yourself running out of quickly. The tartar sauce is very strong but mixes well with both the fish and the fries. Once you dive into the huge beer battered fish you will not be disappointed. My goal is usually to finish everything on my plate and I achieved it without any problems.
Yes the Shannon Pub is an Irish Bar with great Irish music and décor so I always feel right at home. The meal was a perfect start to this journey as I look forward to returning in the upcoming weeks to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It may be one of my most favorite places to relax and have a good time, and it is definitely worth the trip Irish or not.  For those of you who enjoy broiled fish this column won’t be for you. I enjoy anything fried including Twinkies, Oreos, vegetables, and most importantly fish. Lent is a time to reflect, but that doesn’t mean the food shouldn't have to taste as good as possible.