Saturday, February 7, 2009

Friday Night Fish Fry

As so often happens on my way home from work last night, I decided to stop for dinner along the way. This time I choose another local mom and pop place called the Chicken Manor Family Restaurant located at 8043 Cleveland Avenue N.W. in North Canton. It's a fairly good sized place that even has a banquet room. It reminds me a lot of those "family restaurants" from the late 70's and early 80's. It still has that particular charm. I had eaten here one other time and was pleased with my meal, so I thought I'd stop in and see if anything new was on the menu.

My very cute waiter made some suggestions off the menu, but then added that they were serving a fried haddock fish dinner. This particular dinner came with three sides and dinner rolls and was modestly priced at $9.25. I'm always a sucker for a good piece of fried fish and he insisted that it was very good tonight. Having been steered wrong in the past by servers who assured me that the fish was awesome, I was wary. But, like I said before, he was cute, and based on the meal I had had there before, I decided to give it a try.

The dinner started out with standard dinner rolls. They were average.

The kitchen must have been banging on all cylinders last night because shortly after receiving my rolls, my dinner came out as well. Noting that both the corn and green beans came from a can, I opted for french fries, applesauce, and something called hot sauce for my three sides.

Now let's talk about this platter. From noon, going clock-wise, you have the hot sauce, the french fries, the applesauce, the fried haddock, and the tartar sauce. First the average things on the plate: the applesauce. Plain Jane, straight from the jar. The hot sauce was okay, a nice try to make something unique, but it lacked character of its own. It was more of a rice in a tomato-y liquid than anything else. It had a bit of cayenne in it and I could feel it at the back of my throat.

On to the good things. The french fries were just how I like them, crisp and not greasy. They were a tad darker than I would've preferred, but they were still tasty. The fish was stupendous. A nice thick cut with a very light but extra crisp coating. The fish was hot and juicy and had a lovely fresh taste to it. The coating had just the right level of seasoning in it. To complement the fish was a housemade tartar sauce with a surprise ingredient, sweet bread & butter pickles. The pairing of the sauce with the fish actually elevated the fish to a new level. Sweet, savory, juicy, creamy. It all worked very well. It's probably the best piece of fish I've had in quite a while.

When confronted with my inevitable questions at the conclusion of the meal, the server confirmed that yes, the fish was fresh not frozen and that they did make their own tartar sauce from scratch. You could really tell. The server also managed to get me to agree to take a piece of the homemade cherry pie home with me since I was too stuffed to eat anything more. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture until I was half-way through the pie, but it was a decent rendition. Homemade crust with pre-made filling. The crust was nice, the pie filling was sort of average.

Next time I go back, I'll have to get the house specialty ... fried chicken. Who knew?

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