Good ol' down home fish is what The Fish Shack is all about. This restaurant is aptly named, for from the outside it has all the characteristics of a crudely built, shanty-like building.
But crossing from out to in, the dining room is very welcoming. It is clean, pleasant and has a fun, fishing décor. Fish nets, plastic fish and signs mark the deep blue walls; I especially enjoyed one of the signs, "Men and fish are alike--they both get into trouble when they open their mouths."
The menu is basic--what one would expect of local/Southern cuisine here--dinners of Catfish, Shrimp, Frog Legs, Scallops, Coconut Shrimp, Fried Clams and Calamari (along with non-fish selections, Chicken Strips and Chicken Fried Steak) are priced from $7.99 to $9.99 and include an all-you-can-eat supply of fixin's: hushpuppies, sweet pickles, coleslaw, and brown beans. There's no denying all are homemade--even the pickles are prepared with a specially designed pickling recipe.
Sandwiches (Fish, Chicken, The Works and Chicken Fry), Kids' Meals (Guppy, Little Chick, Little Shrimp) and Combos are the selections. (After five, non-fried fish options are available.)
It's rather like White Fish Market meets Fish Daddys.
My friend and I wanted to sample a bit of it all (as usual) and so we both selected a Pick Three Combo Dinner ($10.99). I ordered Coconut Shrimp, Scallops and Calamari; my friend chose the Frog Legs, Catfish and Fried Clams. With our order placed, we continued to nibble on the fixin's.
The Brown Beans were simply prepared, slow-cooked to produce a thick, rich brown gravy. The cabbage in the Cole Slaw was crisp and in a thick, creamy sauce. The Hushpuppies were just that--bite-sized, small enough to pop in your mouth. The sweet pickles were in brine with some of the pickling spices and onions, just like grandma makes.
Soon our fried fish arrived in baskets, with a good portion of French Fries scattered about. The dishware is classic Melamine, just like the tables set by Grandma, even more securing the home feel at The Fish Shack.
The Coconut Shrimp came with a creamy pineapple dip--it was good, but clouded the shrimp taste. The shrimp batter was good, but just a bit too heavy for the size of the shrimp. The fried Scallops were small, meaty and fresh. They were accompanied by a respectable cocktail sauce. The Calamari came in same-sized rings, the batter a little more spicy than that which covered the other fish. All three were basic, yet well-prepared and fresh.
My friend's Catfish was probably the favorite at the table--filets with a cornmeal breading cooked to a flaky texture that only a few shots of Louisiana Hot Sauce could make better!
Frog Legs were a new item for both of us--we always heard they tasted like chicken, but my friend and I concluded that the flesh of the legs had the stringiness of chicken and the sponginess of fish. Fitting description for an edible amphibian. Known as an exotic dish, even a delicacy in France and China, the type of frog usually used is the Edible Frog. Good thing. There was no mistaking that these were legs of a creature that had used them well at one time.
The Fried Clams were a second favorite--small, breaded and rich in taste.
While all the fish was fried, the batters seemed to differ slightly in breading texture and spices. The French Fries had crispiness, almost flakiness to them. All food in the baskets came to our table hot, right out of the frying pan.
Although The Fish Shack might be out of the comfort driving zone of some, in a mere 20 miles from mid-town Tulsa, a great fish dinner awaits.
The Fish Shack
12223 S. Highway 51, Coweta
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