If you can feast on a first-rate fish fry for $12 or so, why pay twice that? It would be easy to say you’re paying for the atmosphere. Trade the buzz of fluorescent lights for the glow of candles. Replace the brown tray underneath your plate with a white tablecloth.
But that’s not the whole story. At Henry’s, they fancy the fish up, too. The breading adds flavor and heft, offering a satisfying crunch seldom found in church basements or club cafeterias. Chef/owner Paul Jagielski starts with stale French bread, grinds it up and seasons it with cayenne, thyme, paprika, garlic salt and pepper.
Diners have a choice of Lake Erie perch, walleye or shrimp. Can’t decide? They’ll combine all three for you. Finally, there are the sides. The coleslaw is made from scratch. The fries, of course, are freshly cut from Idaho potatoes and topped with sea salt from France. Even the tarter and cocktail sauces are Jagielski concoctions.
Still, wander back into his kitchen some Friday during Lent, and it won’t be his own fish you’ll catch Jagielski eating. It’ll be perch his friends bring him from what he calls “the best fish fry around.” The United Polish Club in Elyria, where Jagielski is still a member. “Do I make a good fish fry? Absolutely,” he says. “But theirs is what I grew up on.” 36840 Detroit Road, Avon, (440) 934-6636; Fridays during Lent or all year as an appetizer, 4:30 to 11 p.m.; $21 for perch, $24 for walleye or combo
Henry’s at the Barn