Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Eadie's Two Locations

Sometimes it pays to take a chance.

I happened to be driving down Wise Avenue today in North Canton for a completely unrelated reason when I first noticed Eadie's Fish House. Slightly intrigued and making a mental note to maybe return one day, I noticed that right next to Eadie's Fish House was a little drive-up place that advertised beer batter fish and onion rings also sporting the name Eadie's. I'm ALWAYS a sucker for a good beer batter fish and unfortunately, so few places really deliver a good one. With what seems like a split-second decision, I pulled into the parking lot and decided to give this little roadside stand a try.

Here is the building from the front of the road:

I walked up to the front and started looking over the posted menu:

I knew what I wanted; fish and onion rings, just like their sign advertised. But, as I looked over the menu several times, I was having a hard time seeing it listed. When I finally asked the woman running the order window, she said that they didn't serve the fish here. They only served it at the main restaurant next door. Well, crap! I was kind of in the mood for that and now I had to decide what I wanted to do. At that moment I wasn't really in the mood for an entire sit-down meal. So instead, I just decided to get a small sampling of the food here. I ended up ordering a BBQ pulled chicken sandwich, a small order of fries, and a small chocolate malted shake. I was a little nervous about the BBQ pulled chicken sandwich because I was concerned that they might use one of those over-the-top sweetened BBQ sauces. I needed have worried about the sweetness.

After about 10 minutes, my food finally came up. First, the chocolate malted shake:

This wasn't bad. It had just a slight hint of malt to it. Personally I would've preferred a more intense chocolate and malt flavor. The texture was super thick, causing me to basically leave it for a while and then drink it when it was more melted, lest I suffer the headache induced by sucking on the straw too hard.

Next up, the fries:

When I went to pick up my order, I asked the young man behind the counter whether the fries were fried from fresh or frozen. He gave me this almost ghastly look and said, "Oh, frozen. We just wouldn't have enough time to make them fresh." Sigh. Apparently they didn't have enough time to cook them from frozen, either, because these were greasy, flaccid and seriously undercooked. Honestly, who wants to eat undercooked fries? I ate about three of these before giving up.

Finally, a shot of my BBQ pulled chicken sandwich, both wrapped and unwrapped:

Visually, this was just unappealing. The bun was smashed and the filling that peaked out of the sides looked ominously similar to what it might appear like later on were I to see it again (I'm trying to be delicate here). But, being a brave little culinary soldier, I tasted it. My worry about the BBQ sauce being too sweet was mollified; it wasn't. However, missing from this sandwich was any kind of really stand-out flavor. And unfortunately, the filling was so wet that the inside of the bun had essentially turned to mush. This definitely required a toasted bun to stand up to the filling. Three bites of this and I decided that something was seriously amiss at this little roadside stand.

On the side of the building is an advertisement for 24 different flavors of soft serve that they offer here.

Upon checking out the website for the company advertised on this banner, I came to discover that this "system" for offering so many flavors is nothing more than artificially flavored syrups that are added to a standard frozen custard base, whizzed up, and served in the vessel of your choosing. I was seriously unimpressed with my experience at this roadside stand.

Having only eaten three bites of my sandwich, three lousy, limp fries, and about 1/4 of my shake, I decided to see if the mother restaurant located right next door might redeem my shaken faith. I wasn't in the mood for a sit-down dinner before, but I quickly decided to change my tune. And since the beer batter fish and onion rings were only served there, I figured, what the hell. It couldn't get any worse, right?

I didn't manage to get a photograph of the sign or the building known as Eadie's Fish House as it had started to rain and I didn't particularly want to get wet. After walking in and getting seated, I started to peruse the menu. I began to see items on the menu that made me believe that I should've just chosen this place first. Proprietary beer battered cod, special beer battered onion rings, smoked chicken wings with lots of interesting sauces, the list goes on. They did have fries on the menu as well, and in fact, most of the dinners came with them by default. Worried that these would be the same awful fries that were being served by it's sibling namesake, I decided to pay the extra $1 and get the onion rings instead.

I ordered the two piece beer batter cod and onion rings. Here is what came out:

Hallelujah! Homemade, homemade, homemade! You could tell just by looking at these that they had never seen a freezer in their lives. The fish is kind of buried under the MOUND of onion rings they give you.

Once I ate a few rings and repositioned the rest, I was able to get a better shot of the fish:

While ketchup is on the table when you sit down, when you order the fish and onion rings, the following two condiments show up with your meal:

On the left is a chipotle horseradish mayonnaise for the onion rings and on the right is a homemade tartar sauce with sweet pickles. Before even tasting a single thing I could see a 100% transformation from what I had been served just 30 minutes prior. But the proof, as they say, is in the tasting.

For the most part, the meal lived up to my expectation. Both condiments brought to the table were excellent and definitely complimented the food with whom they were meant to be paired. Normally I would eat my onion rings with ketchup, but the chipotle horseradish mayonnaise was a nice foil for the onion rings. And the tartar sauce added a nice bit of acid and sweetness to the fried cod.

The crust on the onion rings was wonderful. Light, crispy, flavorful. I loved everything about the onion rings except one thing: the rings were too thin. They just weren't meaty enough to allow the sweetness of the onion flavor to compliment the oiliness of the outside of the crust. That's not to say that the onion rings were greasy. But there will always be some inherent grease remaining in any fried product. The batter on the fish was wonderful and crunchy, but unfortunately, even my nice thicker pieces of cod were just a tad bit overcooked and kind of dry. The excellent tartar sauce helped to mitigate the dryness factor, but things being what they are, this could've been a slam dunk if they had managed to keep the fish moist.

Oh, yes, the cole slaw. Almost forgot about that. It was nice, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Across from my table was a sign that read the following:

Something about the irony of the sign just caused me to chuckle. Can you spot it, too?

I will definitely be going back to Eadie's Fish House; Eadie's the sit-down restaurant. The drive-up stand next to Eadie's that actually advertises the fish and onion rings on it's banner? Um, not so much.

After I finished my meal at Eadie's proper, I returned to my car with my leftovers only to discover that I had left the 3/4 of my malted shake in the cupholder. It was now the perfect consistency to drink. It had melted just enough that it was still cold but was finally drinkable without having to resort to a vacuum cleaner to get the liquid up the straw. And while I agreed with my earlier assessment that this was not a great malt, it at least gave me a sweet way to finish my fried fish meal.

Eadies Fish House on Urbanspoon  Eadies Original PDQ on Urbanspoon


Kathy said...

On the subject of onion rings, the best I've ever had are from Hoggy's in Valley View. Seriously some damn good onion rings. I used to go there occasionally with my Grandma and the first time we saw a plate of those beauties being carried by our table to another, we looked at each other and said, "I'm getting those!" She had them every time after that.

Hoggy's is very good for BBQ too btw.

Tino said...

It's so rare to find a restaurant that knows how to fry well. A crisp coating that isn't greasy and houses a nicely sized onion ring is a rare feat.

I'll have to try Hoggy's the next time I am in Valley View. I know there is also a Hoggy's in Columbus (Polaris, I believe), too. They opened up there just as I moved back to Akron, so I never had a chance to try them.

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