I'm a big believer in partaking of the local specialties - why else would you travel? And so, I've sampled bone marrow salad in London, obscene amounts of foie gras and tarte flambee in Alsace, champagne in Napa, and now fried perch in Ohio. Sandusky, Ohio, to be more specific - in full view of Cedar Point.
On the last Saturday of my visit to Norwalk, Nick, Louisa, Hunter (their border terrier, with whom I am desperately in love) and I piled into the car to drive out to Sandusky for some fried perch and a sail on Lake Erie.
We pulled up in front of the New Sandusky Fish Company (heartily endorsed by Nick and Lou, as well as by the always-reliable Roadfood.com). While Louisa and Hunter saved us a table outside, Nick and I went inside to order two perch dinners and a sandwich, all with extra tartar sauce. The restaurant is take-out only, and oddly resembles the office suite of a small-town paper goods distributor. That aesthetic consideration aside, the place is awesome. There's basically nothing on the menu but different preparations of fish from the lake, along with fried accompaniments (french fries and onion rings among them). Extra tartar sauce will set you back 25 cents for a small, 50 cents for a large.
We toted our Styrofoam boxes out to the picnic table, where Hunter danced around our feet, hoping desperately for dropped pieces of fish. My sandwich was loaded with light, flaky strips of fried perch. The fish was fresh as could be, mild and tender, and the crunch of the crust against the soft bun brought back memories of my beloved chicken finger subs, the meal that kept me going through years of terrible prep school cafeteria food.
Nick and Louisa got the perch dinner, which came with coleslaw and french fries. The slaw was decent, the fries excellent - crispy, piping hot, and judiciously salted.
We never did make it out of the dock that afternoon, due to a spider infestation followed by a broken bilge pump - but the drive to Sandusky was more than worth it. Plus, I got to hold this on my lap all the way home: