What does Friday evening mean to you? To me, a Friday evening in the early spring season invokes a tradition that has been passed down through the generations: Friday Night Fish Fry.
Buffalo is no stranger to this long-standing custom, and the city boasts a large number of restaurants that participate in the fish-fry frenzy. Considering myself quite a fish-fry connoisseur, I wanted to head to a place that I've heard a lot of buzz about but have never had the opportunity to try.
Papa Jake's sits on Elmwood Ave near Amherst Street, a corner bar that is a bit off of the beaten restaurant path. Located in an area that used to be highly industrialized, you can just imagine this place being a hot after-work spot back in the day. Today, a simple sign announces its presence, but it is the word-of-mouth about Papa Jake's that really enticed me to try it out.
My friend and I walked in Friday evening to a crowded restaurant filled with casually-dressed patrons. Luckily, we came early (about 5:30 p.m.) and managed to snag a table for two immediately, however, if you are making a later entrance, be prepared to wait for a table. The large bar area was already crowded with people enjoying a large selection of beers on tap. Dark green walls accented with deep wooden floors and tight seating give this place a cozy neighborhood-bar feel.
We glanced through the large menu, and my eyes were distracted by the wide variety of fried bar-food items, but I stuck to my guns and went for the fish fry. When it arrived a few minutes later, I was happy that I went with my originial craving. For $12, you get an enormous platter of food placed in front of you - a hang-off-the-plate-huge chunk of fish, a serving of homemade coleslaw, a generous portion of fresh cut French fries, a slice of rye bread, and your choice of potato salad or crab-macaroni salad (I chose the crab-macaroni salad, and would choose it again). The fish is perfectly cooked - the inside is moist and flaky while the breading is crunchy - and the various side items are flavorful and nicely seasoned.
If you are looking for a good fish fry in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, try out Papa Jake's on Elmwood. I promise that you won't walk away hungry. Papa Jake's is open daily from 11 a.m. - 4 a.m.