When I moved to Louisville many many moons ago, as we were shifting our things into a new place, my dad and I decided to look for lunch. Strolling down Lexington Road, we saw The Fishery, a cozy looking little place straight out of Mayberry. I don't remember much about what we ate, but I do remember the Fishery as bustling, and the fish as good. It was the first place I ate in Louisville, the beginning of a love affair that would add inches to my thighs and excitement to my weekends.
Years later I revisited the Fishery on advice from a reader. I will be the first to admit that I am too indulgent in the realm of the deep fried, the crunchy, the fat soaked and salty, so fried seafood is one of my favorites. We ate dinner there on a Thursday night and were a little surprised at the price. Perhaps we have been spoiled by the likes of The Fish House, but it seemed a little too expensive for the atmosphere and the portion size. There were little old men at several tables reading the paper, and we ordered from a counter and got the food ourselves. The tables were equipped with big squirt jugs of tartar, and it took about twenty minutes for us to get our food.
I really want to give the Fishery its due; the crab cakes were meaty and strung through liberally with sweet crab shred. They were a bit burned on the outside, as were the fried oysters, which lacked the delicate flavor so prized in shellfish, even fried. Maybe it was just an off night for the Fishery, but the onion rings were a tad too greasy and tasted as though they'd been shaken into the deep fryer right from the deep freeze. The fried scallops were a bright point in an otherwise mediocre meal, that pearly white flesh inside a crust of cornmeal was exactly what the doctor ordered. The ladies manning the counter were friendly, and I didn't leave unhappy with the experience, only a little let down from the rave reviews I'd heard. This is fried fish, you can't really church it up without getting kooky. It is hard to get wrong and relatively cheap to make, universally pleasant. I think the Fishery is perhaps taking itself a tad too seriously, or I simply chose to eat there on an off night. Either way, I'd like to go back for the scallops and crab cakes.
Photos: Elizabeth Orrick