You don't have to be a Catholic during Lent to know that Friday in Buffalo means Fish Fry. I remember back in the 80s when we would go to a place on West Ferry near Grant called Chicken Galore (I'm not kidding), and a blonde woman with a gravely voice, named Bootsie, would serve up a fish fry to go in a styrofoam container. Steamed in its own heat on the way home to our Plymouth Avenue flat, it was never still crisp by the time we got to it, but it was pretty good.
The difference between Lent and non-Lent fish fries in Buffalo is that the line gets longer during Lent, but there are those faithful who believe Friday is fry-day no matter what.
For me, most working lunches involve a bag of mixed nuts and dried berries at my desk, but yesterday, BR photographer and local DWI lawyer, Glenn Murray, Esq
., teased me out to Gabriel's Gate for a fish fry. Other than the fine photos he lends BR, this may have been the biggest favor he's done me.
In the company of his son Spencer, home from college and painting Glenn's office in the turret of the Catherine Cornell mansion, Glenn met us at Gabriel's Gate on Allen Street. No one needed a menu to know exactly what we'd be having. It was the fish fry with french fries all around - except for Glenn who had his with rice, for which we chided him. Fish fry/tarter sauce with french fries and a ridiculous amount of ketchup. Isn't that the point? Sometimes I wonder what's more important - the condiment or the conveyance.
At any rate, the fish fry came, freshly battered and hanging off the edges of the plate. Our waiter may have distributed the plates randomly, but it sure seemed like the smallest people at the table got the biggest pieces of fish. I knew the second I saw it that I'd be driving mine around town in a little white container for the rest of the day.
And what can I say? The fish was crispy on the outside, just right on the inside; not too moist, not too dry. I loved this lunch, and I'll do it again any day of the week. It's a fun place, with a full bar and an old-world feel. Gabriel's Gate is comfortable and good. I went on with my day, happy that I didn't have to pick up a paint roller after my big lunch (poor Spencer).
Lent begins on February 25th this year, but that's no reason to wait for this Buffalo favorite. A lot of fish fries around town are the same old thing, but certain venues stand out. I'd like some reader participation here. Who wants to write up the next fish fry experience and send it to me?
You read BR, you eat lunch; why not write about it? (PS: It doesn't have to be about fish fries.)
145 Allen Street
Buffalo, NY 14202