Friday, May 2, 2014

Canoga Please: Sid's Seafood - Gone But Not Forgotten

Canoga Please! We drove all the way from Northridge last week to have our anniversary dinner (42 years and counting!) at one of our favorite restaurants, Sid’s Seafood House, only to be shocked and appalled, and frankly, a little disgusted, that it was closed! Our favorite menu item was always the cheese toast - where can we find a recipe for it so we can try it at home?  --Anne D., Northridge, California
Actor Henry Jones reportedly was
one of Sid's many regulars. File photo.

Dear Anne,

Former local business leader Sid’s Seafood House, on Roscoe just east of Topanga, in the bustling Roscopanga business district had, as its name implies, been serving up delicious seafood and other delights (including its famous garlic cheese toast) along with a romantic, maritime ambience for some 87 years. Famous for entertaining visiting dignitaries from all across the San Fernando Valley as well as Hollywood bigwigs from both sides of the camera, Sid’s closed in 2010. Legend has it that character actor Henry Jones (perhaps best known as the creepy handyman in the film version of “The Bad Seed”) was such a devoteĆ© of Sid’s cooking that he had his own regular booth (#17, behind the Dig Your Own Clams sandbox).

We reached out to Sid Fishmann, the aptly named restauranteur who sold the business in the late 1970s to the folks who owned it until it closed four years ago. Sid, now 76 and enjoying retirement in tony Granada Hills, was glad to pass on his recipe and offer his congratulations to the happy couple:

Sid Fishmann’s Famous Garlic Cheese Toast

24 loaves Southern California Wholesale Frozen Food & Restaurant Supply frozen garlic bread (32 if preparing on a weekend)
6 cups Southern California Wholesale Frozen Food & Restaurant Supply bulk pre-shredded mozzarella (8 c. if preparing on a weekend)
6 cups Southern California Wholesale Frozen Food & Restaurant Supply grated parmesan-flavored cheesefood blend (7-1/2 c. if preparing on a weekend)
1 cup Institutional Farms economy dried parsley

• Preheat oven according to carton directions. 
• Pry pre-split loaves apart and place 8 halves on each 24x36” cookie sheet.
• Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the loaves, then repeat with the parmesan blend.
• Add sprinkling of dried parsley (if time permits).
• Place one tray in oven and bake according to carton directions, place five remaining trays in walk-in cooler and use as needed.  
• Slice after baking. 

Serves 60-70, 100-120 if it’s a weekend. 
Note: Bread can be extended by slicing into smaller portions if there’s an unexpected rush.

Shuttered since 2010, Sid's Seafood House had long been a place the San Fernando
Valley elite as well as the hoi polloi both came to satisfy their fish tooth.  Staff photo.
Canoga Please!  Please settle a bet: I say it was William Schallert who played the father-in-law on the TV show “Phyllis,” my wife insists it was Conrad Bain. Who’s right? There’s a lobster dinner at Sid’s Seafood House riding on your answer.  --Bob K., Hackney Street

Character actor Henry Jones. File photo.

Dear Bob,

I hate to have to tell you this, but you’re both wrong. It was veteran character actor Henry Jones who played the irascible Judge Jonathan Dexter in the CBS sitcom that starred non-Betty White national treasure Cloris Leachman as the recently-widowed Phyllis Lindstrom. The program, which ran from 1975 to 1977 was a spinoff of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” and went through a slight format change that had the persnickety titular character switching careers mid-series. Henry Jones was around for both. It looks like you and your wife may be going “dutch treat.”  Enjoy your dinner!

--Burton Cantara

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