Bailey Seafood is not for the indecisive. With a menu featuring 25 appetizers and sides, 14 types of fried fish, nine baked varieties and a slew of sandwich, dinner and combo options, the online ordering option is the way to go for both convenience and speed at this takeout-only fish joint.
On the day we visited, the line to order was out the door. The operation is a well-oiled machine, getting customers in and out in a neverending stream, but the separate line for online orders definitely helped us get in and out with our food while it was still steaming. Especially if you have as large an order as we did, plan ahead and take advantage of the high-tech option.
I’ll say this about Bailey’s fish: It came out hot and crispy, despite our ordering roughly half the menu. What can I say, we like fish.
The unexpected fan favorite were fried corn nuggets ($4.99), fresh sweet corn battered and fried up crispy. The little guys were crunchy and that perfect blend of salty and sweet, a great side for massive quantities of sea fare. Baked salmon ($6.49 per piece) was also a treat, coming out pink and flaky despite a 20-minute car ride back to the West Side. Beware the bones in the fried whole catfish ($4.99 per piece), a mild white fish that was also tender under the plain batter.
If you’re used to the beer-battered fish fry found at most area restaurants, know that Bailey Seafood utilizes a more traditional batter with a larger crumb and less shattering crunch than your standard Friday spot. It’s not better or worse for it, just a bit different. Speaking of different, don’t be afraid of unusual fish options like butterfish (a steal at $1.49) or smelts ($6.99). The prices here are low enough that a little adventure won’t break the bank, and where else can you try upward of 10 varieties of seafood for less than a Grant?
Another bargain was the bucket of crawfish ($7), a large portion of mudbugs with enough cajun seasoning to make our eyes water. Granted, there’s not much meat in these little buggers, but the flavor is worth the work. Fried okra ($4.99) is hand-breaded, crunchy and tangy with none of the slime that can characterize the Southern standard.
Go ahead and skip the soft shell crab ($3.99), which is a bit on the pricey side for a single pincher. Fried scallops ($8.49) also are a bit on the expensive side, but these delicate little ocean pillows are worth the extra change.
Bailey Seafood also offers a choice of popcorn, medium, large and jumbo shrimp as well as shrimp skewers. While we only tried the popcorn option ($4.49), those in the display case looked great.
The side of slaw that comes with all dinners was a paradigm of mayonnaise-based goodness, but even the less cabbage-inclined in our group loved the super fish sandwich ($5.99) which comes with slaw and fries right on the bun. Don’t skip this one; it alone was worth the drive.
Bailey Seafood offers a tremendous variety of fish at a decent price. Is it the best fish fry in Buffalo? No. But the one-stop shop offers something for everyone, and for that, it’s worth a stop.