Recently, I decided to stop in and visit with my aunt and uncle. I had seen them about two and a half months ago at the wedding of my cousin (their son), but didn't really have a chance to just sit down and share a spell. So it was with great enthusiasm that I sat on their couch for about three hours as we filled in each other on the goings on of myself, my family and their family. Knowing that my aunt is a faithful reader of my blog, I was pretty sure at some point that the conversation would lead to food. Sure, enough, I was right.
While we talked about many places, both from the past and the present, the one eatery they kept returning to was Bradley's Restaurant located in Sterling, OH. While I knew there had been a Bradley's in Wadsworth for many, many years, what I didn't realize until now was that the Wadsworth location wasn't the original. I had eaten at the Wadsworth location several times and I don't remember it ever being particularly memorable. However, when they told me with a certain earnestness in their eyes about the Friday fish fry at the location in Sterling, I was hooked and decided to give them a try.
Deciding that I needed to bring along my aunt and uncle to verify if today's fish was up to par, we all descended on Bradley's Restaurant located at 14004 Kauffman Avenue, Sterling OH 44276 around 11:04 AM, just shortly after they opened. Here was a shot of the front of the building:
To the left of the building was a sign advertising the daily specials for Friday:
I eagerly grabbed both cameras and walked through the door. The original Bradley's was much more low key than the Wadsworth location. In fact, it was pretty much a bar with tables. And the lighting was commensurate with the environment, which explained why I took my ancient digital camera that had a flash with me just in case. As it turns out, we sat at a table that had decent lighting and was by the front door. No flash would be required.
Here was a sign on the wall listing the luncheon specials:
The fish fry is only available on Friday and from what my aunt and uncle said, the place fills up quickly. As we had arrived four minutes after they opened, we didn't have any trouble finding a table. When we left, however, the bar was beginning to fill up quickly. When our waitress came over to take our order, it was pretty straightforward: Fish, fish, and, um, fish. After about five minutes, a basket of warm dinner rolls was brought to the table:
They were nice and soft and fresh. While I didn't manage to eat them when they were warm, I did grab one once my fried fish platter came out. Here was a shot of the interior crumb of the roll:
Served with fresh pats of butter, this was a nice accompaniment to lunch, although wholly unnecessary given all of the other starch we consumed.
Along with our basket of bread, we each received a small dish of homemade cole slaw:
This was extra rich and creamy and you could definitely tell that there was mayonnaise in the dressing base. The cabbage was there for the texture, but the dressing is what made the flavor sing. It was very tasty and quite the opposite of the cole slaw I had while visiting Limburg's Patio Grill, which while not bad, lacked overall depth of flavor.
I finished up my dish of cole slaw just in time to receive my fried fish platter:
First a close-up of the fish:
And a close-up of the fries:
I was nervous when the plate was first set down in front of me. The fillets themselves were pretty skinny and in the past that has usually meant fish jerky. However, this fish was nicely cooked and still moist. The coating on the fish was flavorful and not oily. Overall this was some pretty good fried fish, Alaskan Pollock to be exact. The French Fries were fried from frozen and while better than nearly any "fresh cut" fries I've ever had, were merely so-so. The tartar sauce and ketchup were pretty much "plain Jane", so I won't go into too much detail critiquing them. The fish was clearly the star of the plate and you definitely got a lot of it. In fact, the fish was actually all-you-can-eat. I didn't order additional fish, but my uncle ordered one extra fillet after he had finished his plateful.
Driving to Sterling, OH is not a luxury most of us could afford to do very often. However, if you find that you will be in the Seville, OH area (which happens to coincide with the intersections of I-71 and I-76), it might not be a bad side trip to make to get some delicious fried fish. I will pass along this bit of advice from my aunt and uncle to you, gentle reader: go during lunchtime. They had gone once (of the many times they have eaten here) during dinner service and the oil used to fry the fish in was "off". Perhaps someone forgot to change the oil, perhaps they went on a bad night. Who knows? All I can say is that today's fish tasted fresh and delicious.