You already know what a fanatic I am on good, tasty, fish dinners and what better time of the year to enjoy them than during the Lenten season. It's as if the fish hibernate for ten months and then suddenly come flooding out. We have fish fries here in every bay, cove and channel of the lakes.
I've been writing a Lenten Fish Fry column for years and have included as many spots around the lakes as space will allow. This year, though, it's a bit different. What I've zeroed in on are four spots I've never covered before, plus two others that offer a unique variety. I've eaten fish from all.
Some of these places run out of fish early during Lent, so maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to call first to make sure they're still serving. I've provided the phone numbers of each establishment.
Dano's Lakeside Pub (234-678-9769) – What was formerly Howie's, is now Dano's Lakeside Pub. By boat it's on the southwestern shores of Turkeyfoot Lake. By car it's located at 4856 Coleman Drive in New Franklin. Dano's features AYCE (All You Can Eat) Friday Lenten specials of delicious Fried Cod or shrimp with sides of French fries and Cole slaw. Dano's outstanding cod are thick chunks, lightly breaded, deep fried to a golden brown and served with fries and slaw. His fried shrimp is just as tasty. At the Lenten special prices, there's no takeout on these two items.
LaLa's (234-571-4757) – What was formerly Anthe's on Manchester Road near Route 619, is now LaLa's. LaLa's is owned by Lisa Geiger. Their Friday Lenten special is beer battered cod, French fries and Cole slaw. They also feature pretzel crusted Salmon topped with Dijon bechamel, red-skinned potatoes, fried Brussels-sprouts and a salad at the regular menu price.
Pick's at PLX (330-794-5157) – This spot on the water is bit different from the rest. Located at 530 Portage Lakes Drive in Coventry Township, Pick's at PLX serves excellent fish at two levels – upstairs and downstairs. The upstairs is known as Table 530, and serves a surprise fish every Friday, plus sides of French fries and Cole slaw. The downstairs serves fried perch, fries and Cole slaw.
The Ramp (234-678-7745) – Located at 3719 S. Main Street next to Sandy Beach Marina, The Ramp is a new eatery. Among its many delicious dishes are pan-seared, sesame crusted, Ahi Tuna and two sides, pan-seared Salmon with teriyaki-brown sugar and ginger glaze, served with seasonal vegetables, and three pieces of lightly breaded lake perch, French fries and Cole slaw.
Ido Bar & Grille (330-773-1724) – The Ido is located on the east side of South Main Street just north of Waterloo Road. I included the Ido for those of you who, like me, enjoy a good piece of Halibut. Beside other fish items on their menu, this place serves some of the best Halibut I have ever eaten. I know, because I often go there - just for the Halibut.
Wil's Pub & Grille (330-753-5743) – If you recall, I've included Wil's a few years ago because of his excellent fried cod, flounder, perch and home made New York cherry cheese cake. He still serves his great fish but I'm including him this year because he's also one of the few in the mid-west who makes a most delicious bowl of New England clam chowder. Folks, trust me when I tell you it's hard to find good clam chowder west of the Appalachians like the kind that's available in the New England states. I know because I've tried. Not every cook has the expertise to make it from scratch like Wil has. And he makes it using fresh clams. With just one spoonful you'll think you're sitting at an ocean side restaurant near the sea-dunes of Cape Cod inhaling salty fresh air while enjoying your chowder.
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