Archive for September, 2014

23rd September
written by Arthur
My Little Margie's Fried Fish

My Little Margie’s Fried Fish

As the hours passed on the train ride from Penn Station to Buffalo, New York, I dreamed of the culinary delights that awaited me. Before planning the trip to visit Carly’s grandmother, I knew of Buffalo solely as the birthplace of Buffalo wings—a food onto which far too little serious praise is heaped. But, in planning the trip, I learned of Beef on Weck: Buffalo’s take on the roast beef sandwich. It wasn’t until on the ground in Buffalo that I learned that the Friday fish fry is held in as high regard as it’s better known brethren.

On arrival, Carly’s grandmother (and life long Buffalo native) picked us up from the train station. As we drove to her home, we got a quick tour of the area. I learned that the denizens of this fine town love their beer (hard to drive a block and not pass a bar), wings, subs, and pizza (at least one of which was proudly advertised on the sings outside of every establishment). On the drive, I also learned that the Friday fish fry was a tradition. I didn’t buy it at first. Sure some people take on the $1 Friday fish sandwich at McDonald’s during lent; but people don’t do the fish thing in late summer–not  in 2014.

But, as we we passed bar after bar on our way to My Little Margie’s, I could smell the fish’s frying oil in the air. The smell was thick as we walked through the door of the our dining spot the smell got thicker and nearly patron sat in front of a huge plate of fried fish, French fries, macaroni salad, potato salad, and coleslaw. Our mission was  to introduce me to beef on weck, but it seemed criminal to skip the fish fry. And since we were at it we were at it, why not throw in a few wings as well. We ordered our beef on weck (one sandwich each), five wings for the table, and a mini fish fry to share.

The portions were mind blowing. The fried fish alone stretched across a plate covered in fries and all the other aforementioned mentioned sides. The beef overflowed the kummelweck roll (a Kaiser roller topped with kosher salt and caraway). The wings were just a welcomed bonus. So much food. And it all looked amazing.

The food tasted as good as it looked. I started with the wings which were solid–exactly as a wing should be. Next I was on to try my first bite of beef on weck. Yum. After a few bites I added a generous amount horseradish sauce and gravy (not au jus as often done). It was good meat, and a hearty but, all with great flavor. Over time the saltiness of the roll got to me and I was forced to order another beer where Carly’ grandma scrapes of the salt chucks to begin with. But the shocking highlight was the fish.

The fried fish was unambiguously the best fried fish I’ve ever had. A beer batter formed a hard, but not too hard, shell outside of my aquatic friend. The crust had a rich taste. The crunchy texture was almost that of a super sized onion ring. And the white fish hiding inside was perfectly flaky and presented the right level of fish flavor. No fish and chips of my past can compare.

I was sold on Buffalo on the spot. My Little Margie’s’ wasn’t even our original destination (that famous beef on weck house was closed due to unfortunate circumstances). Margie’s was just a last minute spot picked based mostly on convenience. It was just a bar with a few seats and a menu. A place seemingly like so many we passed on the drive from the train station. And it was awesome. Buffalo know how to eat.