At one time back in the early years of this millennium, there was a Facebook group of over 1000 people whose primary purpose was to encourage Off Da Chain Seafood & Mo finally to open for business. It was a long wait, but in April, 2018, over a dozen years after Windell Davis found an available old convenience store at the edge of downtown Aiken and painted its name on the side, he finally did open up.
In the first couple weeks of business, you hardly could get in the door because of crowds eager to try the curiously named fish house. It still can get busy at lunch hour, but today’s customers are less about curiosity than about eating some very good seafood … and mo’.
The menu is a broad one, and exactly what seafood is available varies with the market. Possibilities includes bream, whiting, perch, flounder, mullet, croaker, porgy, tilapia, crab legs, scallops, oysters, and shrimp.
My go-to dish is fried flounder — thick, moist fillets hugged by a thin batter with nutty richness and vivid spice. It doesn’t get much better than this.
On the side, there’s chewy, cheesy mac ‘n’ cheese with black-pepper punch; and frequently there are fried green tomatoes. These are terrific tomatoes — a best dish: just barely tart, with slight tooth resistance, encased in crisp, sandy batter. Hush puppies are ok — more about chew than flavor. Other available side dishes include grits, fried okra, corn nuggets, collard greens, onion rings, and an array of seasoned fries. A warm, freshly-griddled corn cake accompanies all dinners.
The dessert cooler holds interesting sweets, including pineapple/coconut pie, bean pie, and peach cobbler — all of which you want to have heated before they’re served. Portions are modest-size but big on flavor.
Menu listings for fish-frowners include include pork chops — fried or smothered, roast chicken, and ribs.