A very large fish fry at Vizzy's located at 967 Kenmore Ave., Kenmore, NY
As Catholics celebrate the season of Lent, many people escape the last grasp of cold winter weather by squeezing into their neighborhood restaurant or pub on Friday nights to indulge in a tasty fish fry. Here at the Western New York Catholic, we have spent the past two Lenten seasons visiting many of the more popular and loved restaurants to taste their fish frys, and we’ve enjoyed the experience. This year, we’re back to check out one more establishment – Vizzi’s in Kenmore.
Known for having one of the best pub burgers in Western New York, Vizzi’s offers patrons a gigantic half-pound of beef and a mountain of French fries for less than $10, a meal that most people will struggle to finish unless they’re participating in one of those “Man vs. Food” type reality shows.
As it turns out, Vizzi’s also has a pretty solid fish fry, but unlike many other similar restaurants, Vizzi’s offers their fish fry every day, instead of just Friday, throughout the year. Don’t worry; the Vizzi’s fish fry is still popular on Fridays, so much so that they use a fryer normally reserved for chicken wings to make more fish. Not offering chicken wings on a Friday in Buffalo? That’s commitment to the dish.
The wife and I entered Vizzi’s on a recent Friday evening, and the small restaurant was already beginning to fill up by 5:30 p.m. Although most of the four- and six-person tables were already taken, our hostess was able to find an open two-seat table for us immediately. The patrons behind us were not as lucky, as Vizzi’s will stay relatively busy throughout a Friday night … and this was before Lent. If you end up at Vizzi’s late Friday night, you’ll be treated to a blues band performance as well.
Bring cash with you if you come to Vizzi’s, as they do not accept credit cards. An ATM is available inside the restaurant, and several flatscreen televisions are strategically placed throughout the room so virtually every patron will be able to see whatever the TV is tuned to – usually sports.
The friendly wait staff is quick and attentive as you sit down. We already have a pretty good idea of what we want, so we quickly order the fish fry ($9.95) and a grilled cheese sandwich ($6.95) that we’ll split between us. The fish fry comes with a choice of soup or salad for starters and a side of cole slaw, French fries or potato salad. There are other seafood dishes on the menu, such as broiled haddock, baked Italian haddock and stuffed backed fish, each a few dollars more than the standard fish fry.
The meal opens with a small salad with tomatoes, red onions, green peppers and a choice of dressing – in this case, ranch – along with bread and butter. The salad was perfectly fine, but let’s face it – nobody comes to Vizzi’s for the salad. Our meals are served shortly after the salad is finished, and we’re looking at a fried haddock just over a foot long. The fish is thin and crispy, seasoned with panko breadcrumbs. It tastes fresh and is just light enough that one can finish the entire fish without feeling like the last few bites are a chore.
We choose French fries as our sides, and the fries here are almost slightly underrated compared to the often-praised burgers, but they are a perfect complement to that dish, and to the fish fry as well. Vizzi’s is certainly not stingy with their fries, and they often come to patrons pouring over the main course on their plate. The hand-cut fries are a little soft but extremely tasty, and you’ll probably find yourself munching on them long after you finished everything else.
As for the grilled cheese, it was nearly perfect for me … thin and crispy. Those looking for more adventurous choices with their grilled cheeses should look elsewhere though, as the Vizzi’s sandwich compares well to other diners for taste, but perhaps not price. It’s a few dollars more than other similar-sized sandwiches.
Regardless, Vizzi’s offers a tasty and inexpensive night out for patrons in the Northtowns, whether you’re abstaining from meat on Fridays or not.
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