Oswego fish fry sizzles
By Christopher Malone
Skip’s Fish Fry, located at 42 W. 2nd St. in Oswego, seems to be on an island of its own. When looking at the aptly named “The Port City” of Oswego, it’s a given that minds should think of water and fish. It’s almost Pavlovian. There is no shortage of dishes that will fill you, well, to the gills.
After spending a week up at camp and fishing the Salmon River Reservoir, eating fresh perch and pumpkinseeds daily, my cravings for fish went from necessary to insatiable. Luckily, a small fish fry was ready for my pangs.
For a couple years, Skip’s Fish Fry has called Oswego home. It’s settled in quite nicely. The small-ish restaurant offers a small yet robust menu. Aside from sides, the non-fish items are hamburgers with or without cheese, hotdogs, coneys, and chicken fingers. There’s also a kids’ menu, in case the little ones don’t enjoy seafood.
Skip’s has a smaller dining area, complete with nautical décor and a mural of the West Pierhead Lighthouse, that feels even bigger due to COVID-19 restrictions with limited seating and spaced tables. A couple tables sit on the front porch; however, it’s an advantage to enjoy that indoor seating with cooler temperatures setting in. Takeaway is always an option.
I kicked off the meal with a bottled water and a can of Fat Tire amber ale ($4 for a pint). Skip’s beer is probably the most affordable prices I’ve seen in a while. After ordering the food, the staff told me they’d bring it out when it was complete.
I ordered a Maine lobster roll with fries ($17.99), a seafood platter ($14.99), and a small order of lobster mac and cheese ($9.99). For a solo outing that promised copious leftovers, I was looking at a $60 check before tip.
Let’s begin with the lobster macaroni and cheese. The mound of this American delight was impressive and could comfortably be split among three people. Actually, this “small order” can be divided among four — you’ll just be asking for more mac. It’s good, too. It’s genuine comfort-food good.
There were chunks of lobster meat hanging out by the top, but I figured that was it. However, as I spooned out the cheesy dish, more pieces of lobster appeared. It was just like finding buried treasure. Boy, did I come out on top. There was an appropriate amount of lobster in this … well, c’mon, seriously — it’s too big to be considered a “side” dish.
I went with the seafood platter to get a taste of a few different items on the menu — haddock, shrimp, and scallops. You can get these options as their own dinners (respectively $11.99, $10.99, and $13.99). With the platter, you get a typical portion of haddock, three shrimp, and three scallops. All of these are prepared as lightly breaded and fried. Each dinner is served with fries and coleslaw.
Although the amount of food isn’t too much, it leaves a patron such as myself thinking I’m paying for market price and quality. It was simply that. The scallops were very good and were average size. The shrimp was nice and crispy and above average size. The haddock was not overly filling — it was delicious. It’s nice to enjoy seafood that isn’t overcoated and overly fried.
The sides were good, too. The pile of fries was heaping. The tartar sauce was flavorful and balanced, creamy and chunky. The finely diced coleslaw, thankfully, was not drenched in a soupy mayo.
Last but not least was the Maine lobster roll. Skip’s also has a Connecticut lobster roll as well. What’s the difference? The former is served cold with mayo, and the latter is warm and with butter. I don’t see too many places that offer the traditional approach, so the Maine lobster made the cut.
Oh, and by the way, the lobster is real and not imitation. The guarantee is on the menu and with the taste.
It’s amazing how this heaping pile of lobster meat is able to fit into a toasted New England-style hot dog bun. For those intimidated by cold lobster with mayo, don’t be. The mayonnaise is not caked on. The lobster, as stated, is delicious and the chilled crustacean stands out just as much.
In these strange days, it’s nice to have a local place prevail. I have to also note the cleanliness of the restaurant and its bathrooms, too. The staff also deserves a shout out because of their kindness, the conversations we shared, and what they added to the experience. I could hear their banter in the kitchen. Happy employees lead to, well, happy meals.
I left incredibly stuffed and with leftovers in hand. Skip’s Fish Fry hit the spot and will certainly lure me back. It succeeds and follows through with its promise of a no-nonsense fish fry. And be sure to look for it an event or neighborhood near you — Skip’s has a food truck.
Skip’s Fish Fry
42 W. 2nd St., Oswego, NY 13126
Current Temporary Hours
Sun. – Mon.: “Gone Fishing”
Tues. – Thurs. & Sat.: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Fri.: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.