October 4, 2006

Mohr Fish

Longrain, when I finally found it, was closed for Labor Day. So was Benzin, which is a Sailor's Thai outpost with new Thai and shiny cars, and so was Billy Kwong. Marque was dark, and so were Bird Cow Fish and Spice I Am. I was having a hard time finding dinner, though I'd finally found why the Surry Hills are called the Surry Hills. It was getting late. I had visions of writing a weblog entry about a serious waffle. (In the original waffle, Linda and I walked from 42nd street to the Met one Sunday afternoon, looking for a coffee shop for breakfast and never finding the right place)

Fortunately, I stumbled on Mohr Fish, for which I hadn't been looking. It has a very small lunch counter and three or four small tables. In back of the counter, it has a Garland and a deep fryer, two guys who know what to do, and a reach-in with terrific, tasty fish.

On the plastic board behind the counter, where you expect a list of burgers and subs, they have prawn dumplings and barramundi, flathead and barbecued trout. List of fish, have a seat, off we go. Yumm!

Prawn and fish dumplings, with lots of ginger and shallot,a bit of little chile, and terrific prawn chunks, firm and sweet and neither minced nor overcooked. Grilled barramundi, finished in in an intelligent vegetable sauce and lying atop some excellent mashed potatoes. Dinner. Hooray.

Why do small eating places all have to be the same? Wouldn't it pay to differentiate? I mean, how many lousy pizza places does Watertown need? Wouldn't you trade one of your local sub shops or burger joints for a place like Mohr Fish: good fish, cash on the barrel, two cooks and a counter-woman? If markets are conversations, why doesn't anyone seem to be asking if we'd like Mohr Fish? There's an interesting analogy to the software world, I think. There, too, we have lots of one thing and too little of all the others.