Every major city has a list of restaurants with that one specialty dish that earns each one a certain amount of notoriety. For example, in New Orleans, it's Drago's for char-broiled oysters, K-Paul's for jambalaya and blackened red fish, and Mother's for baked ham. New York has it's list, as does New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, etc. Well, little Fall River has its list, too. In the pages of Corky Row, you'll find what I consider the best place for a clam dish, the best place for chouriço appetizer, the best place for shrimp, liver, and more. And in Cinderella - you have what I suggest is the best place for cod fish cakes.
Everyone makes cod fish cakes. I used to make them, too. Hydrate the cod fish, boil some potatoes, chop parsley and onion, add salt and pepper, mash it all together (maybe with an egg or two), flour them, deep fry them, salt them again — and eat them!. It's a simple dish and generally they're all pretty good as long as they're fresh and hot. But what most people don't know, and what the Cinderella restaurant has discovered, is that you can really make these little salty guys very special and unique with an accompanying sauce. It's funny, but most places don't serve a sauce with these, and if they do, it's the standard vinaigrette than accompanies your basic Portuguese fish and chips. At Cinderella, the cod fish cakes themselves were very good — served super hot with a salty and crispy outside, and a creamy savory inside. The sauce is fairly straight-forward made of mayo, parsley and some other herbs. But together, they form a perfect example of Gestalt theory (sum is greater than its parts). It was an awesome surprise. For a moment I tried to figure out if there was any feta or other cheese in the sauce, but ultimately, I just wanted to eat this critters and was too impatient to analyze them.
Another funny thing is that in other reviews of Cinderella's that I've read, the big deal -the big dish- was the Portuguese steak with Whiskey and Coffee. OK, that sounds interesting and different - and I did fall for it, but I have to say that the Whiskey and Coffee sauce was my least favorite thing about the dish. Served on a large round plate, you get three very tender and very tasty fillets of delicious beef steak. It was really good. The fries -as they must be- were crispy and what I expect from a Fall River restaurant. The rice, surprisingly for a Portuguese restaurant, actually had flavor. So, yeah, it was good, but, to me, the news is the cod fish cakes - hands down. I also got to sample the Mozambique chicken. In other places, Mozambique chicken means tough and stringy chicken "tenders" with a bright orange sauce containing too much turmeric and way too much lemon. But here, the sauce had a nice balance of sweet, tangy, sour, spicy yumminess. And the chicken was cut into bite size pieces, and sautéed just until tender, like a good Chinese stir fry.
Cinderella has been around since 1983. I have to admit I don't remember it dating back that far, but I'll take their word for it. I went to grade school across the street at John J. Doran through the second grade and we live two blocks up the street on Mulberry. Located on the bottom of Columbia Street, Cinderella is a new little place, great for couples especially. I don't know if he's the owner, but there's this great little old guy that goes around pouring Port wine out of a travel size wine barrel whilst singing songs from ... I'm not sure where he got those tunes, but he was fun.
85 Columbia Street
Fall River MA