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By James Hufnagel

Curiosity got the better of me, so, on Friday the 13th, I dragged my girlfriend Joan across Niagara Falls State Park to the Top of the Falls Restaurant (and Gift Shop) so we could share with each other the Delaware North fish fry experience.

We parked across the street from the Turtle and walked for 15 minutes so as to avoid having to pay Albany to park.

Upon entering the Top of the Falls, the first thing that strikes you is that you have to walk right through the bar which isn't exactly conducive to a family-oriented atmosphere. The late afternoon sun was blasting through the windows on the second floor and it was warm in the restaurant, anyway, so we opted to sit above the windows near the service counter. The chefs put out the dishes to waitresses immediately next to the dining area. I observed one cook drinking a beverage at the grill, a violation of the state health code. The tacky tables, chairs and booths, and the tile floor combine to create poor acoustics, amplifying the loud chatter from patrons. In fact, the place had the feel of a cafeteria. Loud, obnoxious, techno-pop music blared out of ceiling speakers through our entire dinner. CNN was on a big-screen TV in case you got bored with your date or looking at the falls outside.

The view of the Canadian falls from our table was mostly obscured by a column. Then it was further obscured by the trolley that discharged passengers at the front of the restaurant and souvenir store, which is on the ground floor.

The $14.95 fish fry was nothing to write home about. The texture of the fish clearly indicated that it had been frozen. It was soggy and fell apart easily and the batter coating readily fell off the fish. The French fries were encrusted with salt and Joan's Merlot came in a white wine glass. Our waitress was actually very friendly and attentive and in general it appeared that the young staff was working very hard and seemed to enjoy their jobs. They were the sole highlight of an otherwise dismal dining experience.



Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com July 17 , 2012