The Profussor is a man of many ideas. Tours are one of them. This weekend he took quite a lot of us on an eating event of five local fish fry favorites. His write up is significantly more well written than this post could ever hope to be, so check there for specifics, attendees, and facts.
First up was Gene’s in Rensselaer. Albany John and I teamed up with Rochelle and decided to have a fish fry three-way for the tour. I love fried food, but for some reason fish fry itself always seems kind of boring to me in comparison to other things available (like fried clams), so I didn’t want to stuff myself with something I wasn’t 100% in love with to begin with. (were it a lobster eating tour I would have doubled up on the orders)
Ordering at Gene’s. Their fish fry was $5.13 after tax.
Confusing condiments and a lone fish fry. They weren’t clearly labeled. Which made finding condiments hard.
Part of the Fussy Little Tour was sampling aspects of the fish fry, plus cocktail sauce, tartar sauce, and chili sauce. I couldn’t tell if they had horseradish at Gene’s so I might have handicapped the lot of us because I didn’t get it. Never been much of a fan of chili sauce.
If you’re new to the region, chili sauce served with fish fry isn’t at all hot. It’s actually sweet and ketchupy. So confusing. Any way, this was a pretty decent fish fry. Tied for second place with me.
We went across the street to Offshore Pier Market. Literally, right across the street.
Here’s the thing with fish fry. It usually looks like a sit-down restaurant, but you order at a counter and there’s very minimal table service. It’s more like fancified fast food, if that makes any sense.
DIY condiment bar.
GENE’S WAS MY FAVE FISH FRY! Made me think “Woah, I really like fish fry.” Why? Because it was deliciously salty & buttery. Yet not very greasy for something that was deep fried. Also, the breading was a crispy cornmeal variety. The combination was so, so good. This was $4.75 out the door.
The third stop was Bob & Ron’s, the Albany mainstay. Now, Albany is in my name, but… I’ve just never been all that keen on Bob & Ron’s food. Albany John took me here when we first started dating because he knew my unending love of the combination of fried + seafood, but for some reason Bob & Ron have just never really clicked with my taste buds.
Here’s a fish fry. Thinner in width, but pretty long. I think this was $4.25. I
really didn’t like wasn’t a big fan of the fish fry here. It just wasn’t very good to me… the breading tasted like unseasoned flour that wasn’t fried long enough. The inside was mushy and watery. Daniel B. said an issue others had was with the cusk fish meat being overcooked and tough, but our fish fry was just… blah. No flavor, no texture.
So sad, you know? Just for the fish to die and taste so… blandly. Such a waste. The bun had a sour back note that really lingered, too. Didn’t really help the whole sum of the sandwich. R & I didn’t even try to finish this one. WE DIDN’T TRY TO FINISH FRIED FISH! WHUT?!
The fourth stop was Ted’s in Watervliet (or Waterford? I always confuse the two). Ted’s has multiple locations. I usually hit up a Ted’s for fried clam strips. Mmm.
I broke the fish on the way to the table. Oopsie. Ted’s was my “average”/3rd place fish fry ranking. Not in a bad way, just something that captured the idea/flavors of what a fish fry is. Any improvements are just a bonus. This fish was incredibly thin, but very long.
Matt’s in Cohoes was our last stop. This is my go-to fish source for the area. It’s limited, and their hours are frustratingly short, but the stock they have is so fresh! Order at the counter, then walk in the dining room for them to bring it out for you.
Chunky, moist, perfectly fried fish. Cornmeal breading. Hearty big ole piece of firm fish. So good. Matt’s knows their stuff. I’d tie this with Gene’s for 2nd.
Seeing as how I’d only had less than two fish frys over the course of the afternoon, I also decided that a clam belly roll (~$6.25) was also necessary. So good.
LOOK AT THOSE BELLIES! They were a little on the oily side, but not overcooked. Tasty stuff. Matt’s = Clams in my book.
We finished up the tour with some Snowman ice cream. I got coffee frozen yogurt. Just tasted like really good ice cream, not “diet” tasting or anything. Tasted like lots of yummy brown sugar was involved.
Check out our cute mascot in the background, too. I think somepup will come in handy for the cider donut tour.