May 21, 2010 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
Roscoe mustered up all his begging skills while I ate the subject of this week’s Challenge, a meal from Moby Dick.
Growing up, my mom would turn to Moby Dick when she wanted to add some variety (and maybe a little more nutrition) to our usual fast-food diet of burgers and fries. But as an adult, I’m not sure how much healthier Moby Dick is than places like McDonald’s. Most of the items on the fish restaurant’s menu are battered and deep-fried, save the baked fish and some of the side items, such as coleslaw.
But Moby Dick fries everything, from the okra to the onion rings, to near-perfect crunchy bliss.
Because I had Roscoe in tow, I had to use the Moby Dick drive-thru to order one of the handful of value meals the restaurant offers (not an easy task when a terrier mix is crawling across your lap). The meals, all of which are less than $10, consist of some variation of fried cod fillets, side dishes and bread. Fried shrimp and clams are also available.
I selected the First Mate Meal that includes a piece of fish, fries and a hushpuppy. The meal comes with the option of two slices of white or rye bread so you can assemble your own sandwich if you like. Unfortunately, I dislike both of their bread options. I picked white, but planned to use my own wheat bread when I got home. My meal only came to $5.88, so I was willing to substitute the bread to get such a good deal.
One of the best parts of the Moby Dick experience is unwrapping your meal.
The brown paper bag in which orders are delivered has to be carried flat to accommodate the basket that’s inside. To keep everything inside, employees staple the bag, which forces diners to rip open their order like a present on Christmas.
The contents were a great gift to the senses.
The breading that covered the cod was crunchy and golden brown. And the large filet (a very generous portion) was so flaky on the inside that it fell apart when I tried to put it on my bread. The fish was delivered on a bed of french fries that were as crisp and hot as the fish.
For such perfect textures, I was disappointed in the lack of unique flavors in the meal. The fish and fries tasted good, but neither had any pizzazz. They were just plain. And the fries and the fish needed a few good shakes of salt, which I attempt to abstain from adding to restaurant food.
But Roscoe had no problem with the dish.
From the time I tore through the brown bag, he paced around my chair in anticipation of his share of my dinner. He whimpered and yipped while I assembled my sandwich. But things got ugly when I began to enjoy one of my favorite parts of the meal, the hushpuppy — a deep-fried ball of batter that is crunchy on the outside and doughy and dense on the inside. I got one hearty bite of the hushpuppy before my own puppy went on a loud barking rant that only ended when he got a piece.
Thank goodness Moby Dick’s prices fall well under $10. Next time, I can afford to order extra hushpuppies.
- Moby Dick, 3802 Dixie Highway, Louisville, KY (click here for other locations)
- First Mate Meal without the drink (includes cod filet, fries, hushpuppy and two slices of bread): $5.88