Led by the unstoppable Professor Fussy, we tasted the following five 'Fish Fry' sandwiches with a group of other taster-raters on Saturday. We had never had a single such sandwich in our lives, and I can't say it has earned a place in our hearts, but we sure had a fun day getting to know this Capital District Specialty.
At Gene's Fish Fry, we were put off by the weird sauces (maybe we should have customized them), but we liked sitting outside, and the fish was tender and moist:
Off Shore Pier has a great deal of nautical decor, the fish fry is similarly tender and tasty, and the sauces were very conventional, in comparison to Gene's:
At Bob and Ron's Fish Fry, we appreciated the offering of malt vinegar and hot sauce as alternatives to the usual sauces, but the fish was underseasoned and a little watery. Also, someone came out to ask us directly how the food was before we even had a chance to taste it, which was somewhat poor form.
Ted's Fish Fry was the only one of the five to offer to sell us a t-shirt. It was clearly a neighborhood joint, as illustrated by the ladies who, after eating their meal happily, informed us that Harbor House in Clifton Park has the best fish fry (which implies they must have gone to Ted's for the sake of convenience). The staff are super friendly, the fish was good, the cocktail sauce had a delicious bite, but the chili sauce was too sweet.
At Matt's Fish Fry, the lacy curtains made us feel a little like like we were at Grandma's house, and the huge planks of haddock were a little on the dry side:
In the end, Off Shore won the overall rating competition, but it was very very close. If I went back to one of these places, it would probably not be for fish fry, but probably something else from the menu. As non-natives, perhaps it isn't surprising that neither of us fell in love with this local specialty enough to go out of our way for it, and in fact none of these places are convenient to either work or home. The tour was a fun time, though, and we got to try something new that we would never have known to try with the Prof. Fussy's fearless leadership.