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At Fishtales Hideaway, an island of satisfying seafood

At Fishtales Hideaway, an island of satisfying seafood

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Rack of tacos at Fishtales Hideaway

Fish tacos at Fishtales Hideaway in Batavia, served with feta cheese and boom-boom sauce, a spicy mayonnaise. 

Ryan Fannin was a server at Fishtales Hideaway in Batavia when I met him, cheerily hustling platters of oysters and crab legs to waiting diners in the cozy wood-paneled dining room.

The second time he served us was much like the first: well-appointed plates of seafood presented with casual aplomb. There was no sign that in the intervening months, he had become the owner, taking over from his father, who retired after a cancer diagnosis.

This is not a plea for sympathy, only a statement of fact: I couldn’t tell. After being thrown into the role, Fannin and his crew are offering an outpost of civilized seafood, against all odds, at the heart of landlocked Genesee County.

Next generation owner at Fishtales Hideaway

Ryan Fannin has taken over as owner of Fishtales Hideaway after his father became ill.

On a corner in a residential neighborhood, the restaurant’s rooms are stately. A brick-paved patio offers alfresco dining in clement weather.

Fish fries aren’t rare in the 585, but if you want a more steady supply than Fridays, Lent, or “until we run out,” put Fishtales on your list. Its version ($13) is available daily. So while it might lack suspense, it’s got all the fish you need, a plate-spanning slab of cod in a puffy-crisp beer batter jacket.

Cod fish fry at Fishtales Hideaway

The cod fish fry at Fishtales Hideaway comes with the choice of two sides.

Here you pick your sides, so instead of just fries, there’s sweet potato fries, Cajun fries, baked potato and mashed to consider, and that’s just the spuds. Herbed rice, seasonal vegetable (grilled zucchini and summer squash), coleslaw, side salad and applesauce are the other choices.

Or get that cod broiled ($13), in garlic butter, Parmesan-crusted, Cajun, or pay another $1 for a creamy spinach Florentine topcoat.

Seafood on the patio at Fishtales Hideaway

Clockwise from left, fish fry, calamari, fish tacos, linguini in clam sauce and oysters on the patio at Fishtales Hideaway. 

There’s plenty more fish in this particular sea, including fresh oysters ($2.50 each) from Duxbury Bay, Mass., on this particular evening. Shucked to order, they’re served on ice with mignonette, cocktail sauce and lemon wedges. Ask when you sit down, because Fannin does have customers wipe out his oyster supply, so you’re better safe than sorry.

Oysters on ice at Fishtales Hideaway

Oysters with mignonette at Fishtales Hideaway. 

Every meal includes dishes that are worthy of being in a review. That came early this night, with the arrival of the fried calamari.

Regular readers know fried calamari has got its tentacles into me, for sure. Still, the Fishtales version was a dandy, rings and plenty of my favorite squid arms turned out in an adorably crinkled golden-brown jacket, light, not greasy. Kalamata olives and yellow pickled pepper rings were floured and fried along with the seafood, precipitating a game of nugget roulette atop lettuce and shaved radish.

Classic calamari done right at Fishtales Hideaway

Calamari, with battered pepper rings and olives in addition to squid, at Fishtales Hideaway in Batavia.

Sesame yellowfin tuna salad ($15) would get my nod for a calorie-conscious meal, starring a straightforward seared tuna steak, crusted on the grill, but rare at heart. Bedecked in a salty-sweet glaze and sesame seeds, sliced over a salad foundation of lettuce, cabbage and cucumber.

Po’boy sandwiches ($12) offer your fish fried or blackened, moderately aglow from a coat of pepper-forward spices seared into its surface. Served on a griddled bun with American cheese, romaine lettuce and boom-boom sauce, which is much like sriracha mayonnaise, it was a fine handful of fish.

Fish tacos ($13) were another minor-key hit. Three lettuce-lined grilled flour tortillas arrived bearing wedges of fried fish topped with coleslaw, squiggles of that boom-boom sauce and feta nuggets, with sliced radishes and lemon wedges. I would have stopped there, happy, as a civilian eater, but duty called.

Fish tacos at Fishtales Hideaway

Fish tacos with feta cheese and boom-boom sauce at Fishtales Hideaway.

The grilled salmon with raspberry chipotle glaze ($18), with grilled squash, was excellent. Both the fish and the veg are often overcooked to unpleasantness, but not this time.

I did have some quibbles with the Steak Oscar ($29). Not a beef, per se, as the grilled ribeye was well seasoned and cooked properly. The promised lump crab showed up in strings, some overcooked to a golden brown. 

My order was surf (king crab leg) and turf (ribeye), which I have never ordered in a restaurant, mostly because "turf" always reminds me of the Rodney Dangerfield line about looking for the marks the jockey left. 

Linguini in clam sauce and shrimp at Fishtales Hideaway

Linguini in clam sauce with shrimp at Fishtales Hideaway.

At Fishtales, surf and turf ($38) finally made sense, since slices of medium-rare ribeye, as well as lozenges of crab, have this in common: they're best bathed in melted butter.

If you're feeling bibulous, Fishtales has a full bar, outfitted in old-school wood, like so much else in the place.

Fish fries are all well and good, but raw oysters and such dainties are harder to come by this far from saltwater. Round these parts, I’d head to Fishtales Hideaway if I was feeling shellfish.

Next generation owner Ryan Fannin talks about his philosophy of keeping ingredients simple and sustainable and creating a relaxed atmosphere on the patio at Fishtales Hideaway in Batavia.

RESTAURANT REVIEW

Fishtales Hideaway

107 Evans St., Batavia (585-219-4736, fishtaleshideaway.com)

Hours: 1 to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 1 to 9 p.m. Friday; 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday.

Prices: starters, $7-$13. Salads, $4-$15. Entrees, $13-$39.

Atmosphere: amiable hum

Parking: street

Wheelchair accessible:

Gluten-free: many choices

Send restaurant tips to agalarneau@buffnews.com and follow @BuffaloFood on Instagram and Twitter.

The Buffalo News: Food & Drink

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