I've always said that there are so many restaurants, taverns, churches, fire halls and social and sportsmen's clubs that serve fish frys in Western New York that if you went to a different place every Friday night for the rest of your life you'd never cover them all.  Even though I have my favorites, I'm always up for trying different places because you never know what gem of a place you might find.

Dale Mussen photo

It was recently when I went up to Lewiston to see a co-worker perform in a play that I stopped into the Brickyard Brewing Company.  Actually it's a pair of side by side restaurants, one specializes in BBQ and the other for more traditional fare.  Each has a separate kitchen and serving staff, plus they have their own craft brewery.

I walked into the half of the restaurant that specializes in BBQ and asked for a fish fry and was told they serve them next door right thru the attached door.  And what a nice place.  Clean, modern, cozy.  Very enthusiastic staff.  Pleasant, youthful.  I was waited on quickly.  Perfect.

I wanted just a standard fish fry.  I prefer breaded, but was told their's is a beer-battered fish fry that comes with fries and cole slaw.  Great, I'll have that.  It wasn't too long of a wait until I was served and I'll say the fish was fresh, flaky, tasty with a nice coating that was almost like the breaded style I prefer.  The French fries were fresh and plentiful.

But what I think is one of the keys to a good fish fry is the cole slaw.  There are numerous cole slaw recipes...many of them use mayonnaise, some use a mix of oil and vinegar.  But this one?  I have no idea what they mix it with.  I still can't identify the taste.  The cabbage was fresh, but it was the strangest tasting cole slaw I've ever had.  It wasn't spoiled in any way.  It's somebody's secret recipe and I guess they think it's good.  Sorry, I don't.

Then there was the matter of the tartar sauce.  It had an unusual color to it and an unusual taste to go along with it.  It was about halfway thru the meal that I figured out that unusual taste was mustard.  Who mixes mustard in tartar sauce?  Again it must be somebody's secret recipe.  I didn't care for it at all.

I read at least one online review that said the Brickyard Brewing Company had the best fish fry ever.  It must be an acquired taste.

It's unusual for me not to finish my plate.  I think it's a baby boomer thing where we were always told about the starving children in Europe so we were always obliged to clean our plate.  This fish fry I didn't finish.

How would I rate it?  On a scale of 1-5, I'll generously give it a 3.  What it had going in its favor was the nice restaurant and absolutely fantastic staff.  If not for that I might have rated it a 2.

But I do plan to return sometime in the future to try their BBQ?  For sure, it really looked great.