You might not expect to get a good fish fry from a pizza shop, and you certainly wouldn’t expect to get a great fish fry from one, either—or would you?
When we decided to review some fish fries this Lenten season, the first place that came to mind was Gino’s Pizza Place. Why? Because when their fish fry is good, it’s quite good. You not only get a giant slab of Icelandic beer-battered Haddock, you also get 4 breaded shrimp, a small bucket of coleslaw, steak fries, a wedge or two of lemon, and the equivalent of a 6-inch garlic and cheese sub (if such a delicious sub existed on any menu).
The only problem with Gino’s fish fry is the unpredictability. It’s a $10 gamble that can either net a delicious meal for two, or a collection of utter disappointment served in a 12-inch pizza box. In our experience, Gino’s fish fry is best at the beginning of the season. And by “beginning,” we really mean beginning. By the second week of Lent, you might be too late. What begins as the best fish fry in Western New York seems to quickly taper off to a greasy chunk of salty breaded meat served with some even saltier McCain crinkle cut fries. The shrimp may go from being battered to being breaded, or it may be missing altogether.
Tonight’s serving proved to be a perfect example of Gino’s at its best: completely edible, yet random. The fish was expertly fried, but rather than steak fries, we were given shoestring fries. Not a big deal, but not what we expected. The coleslaw was flavored just how we like it: sweet, a little tart, and wet but not too juicy (there’s gotta be a few puns in there). The problem? They chopped the cabbage into pieces so small you’d think they chewed the coleslaw for you. On the other hand, the battered shrimp was remarkably tasty, and the garlic bread was loaded with 14 sticks of butter and 1/2 pound of mozzarella cheese (and that’s not something we’re complaining about).
All in all, Gino’s didn’t disappoint, and kicked off our season on a positive note, with what turns out to be a pretty great fish fry. Next stop? We haven’t decided. Feel free to tweet some ideas to us: @GoodAndSneaky.