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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
A FINE KETTLE
The 20 ounce ice cold Molson Canadian beer was great here. But that's about the only thing that hit the mark on our one and only visit.
I did some homework on the internet prior to traveling to Niagara Falls and this place looked promising. It specialized in fresh seafood, was off the beaten tourist path and had been there for quite some time.
It really was so far away from the tourist center that it took some doing to find. Upon entering the place, another good sign. It was packed and with locals. Lots of older people were eating there which signaled to me that the prices must be good, too.
Our party of four adults (and two three year olds) eagerly went about scouring the menu and it looked good. It was pretty ambitious with lots of choices. Sadly, however, it turns out that this was one of the worst dining experiences we've had in recent memory.
I noticed something on the menu that I've never seen at a restaurant before - quahog clams (pronounced KWO-hog). This particular clam starts out life as a little neck. Good for raw or steaming. When it grows a little bigger the same clam is known as a cherrystone. Again, good for eating raw or steaming. When it grows to a very large size, it is known as a quahog. I don't mind quahogs steamed but most people would used them in chowders chopped up. So I ordered 6 of them. When they arrived at the table it was obvious that they were not quahogs. I know because we used to dig our own down in Florida. Most of them were little necks and a couple were cherrystones. As soon as I took the lid off the plate a nasty, foul odor came out meaning that one or more of them was plain and simply bad. The sniff test revealed that two had gone south.
The other diners ordered some breaded cheese sticks and fried calamari for their starters. We heard a horrendous crash behind us and seconds later the waitress appeared with the calamari but without the cheese sticks. She explained that she had dropped them on the floor en route to the table. The calamari was awful. It was way overcooked and rubbery. With calamari you either have to flash fry it or simmer it for a long time. Anything between the two and it's rubbery. The cheese sticks finally came and they were okay.
For my main course I got a fried seafood platter. It consisted of a skewer of fried shrimp, a skewer of fried scallops and a fresh fish filet. The shrimp were overcooked and a bit tough. The scallops were pretty good. The fish was fair at best. I ordered "mushy peas" instead of the veggies that came with it. The server came to the table with my plate and explained that she brought the vegetables instead of the mushy peas and asked whether I would rather have the mushy peas? I didn't press it just wanting to end the meal and get out of the place. My wife ordered fried shrimp and said her meal was okay. Our daughter ordered a combination of snow crab legs and fried, jumbo shrimp. The menu bragged how they only used the finest quality crab legs. Folks, these legs were the skinniest, dumpiest I've ever seen. Our daughter said they tasted okay but they were extremely tiny and the meat, what little of it there was, was difficult to pry out. The "fried" shrimp came out grilled. They were bitter and not edible. Our son-in-law got fish and chips and didn't even eat much of it due to the poor taste.
We rarely do negative reviews but we're also honest and this place just didn't measure up. I don't know why so many people packed the establishment. Maybe we just happened to have a bad experience but I don't think so. The quality of just about everything we had lacked. And for being off the beaten path the prices were more like you'd find in the tourist zone.
They have a web site here.
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