Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mary Mother of the Church: No Fish For You

This week's review is going to be short and sweet. Reason being, because I didn't actually get to eat dinner at Mary Mother of the Church. While the South County parish expanded their menu and hours this season, they weren't anticipating the crowd and had sold out of fish by 6 p.m.

Since half of the blog party had already arrived, and Aunt Kathy spent all day baking a plethora of delicious desserts, I chose instead to hit-up the drive thru, pick-up a fillet-o-fish and head to Mary Mother to follow through with the review.

From what I could gather, the parishioners were friendly and the dinning area was spacious. The food received good reviews (from those who ate), and the beer was cheap. Highlight of the night: Aunt Kathy's banana cake, chocolate inside outside cake and her famous hot milk cake.

Judging on desserts alone, I give this fry a 10 out of 10 fish patties. However, basing my review on the fact that I didn't actually get to sample the fish, I have to be a little more judicious.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 10 fish patties

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque: Worth the Drive

After a huge upset in the voting process last week, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque came out on top. So I, being a democrat and dedicated to the no-meat cause, reluctantly drove the more than 20 minutes out of the way to test out the fish fry that all the “Oakvillians” rave about. And luckily, it lived up to my high expectations.

SMMA’s menu is diverse and almost everything I tasted was top notch. Word of advice, go for the “cod chunks” instead of the cod patty (patty was formerly frozen and a little bland). The spaghetti was good (for meatless spaghetti) and the chilled green bean salad was to die for. Dessert was tasty (as all dessert is), but be sure to pick it up with your meal, otherwise they may run out by the time you finish your meal.

In general, the parishioners were very friendly and welcoming. That is, unless one dared to make a trip to the bar. A few of my friends (who are in their mid twenties) were heavily hassled by a couple rude bartenders who were convinced they were underage kids trying to scam beer from a fish fry. Obviously, the bartenders didn’t know they were messing with friends of the fish fry master.

Overall, it was an above average fry…just don’t forget to bring your ID.

Overall rating: 8.5 out of 10 fish patties

Photos from top:
Me and some of my devoted followers
A small fraction of the Goedeker's and Paradowski's

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Illinois Bureau: Are Pork Grinds Fair Game?

After unsuccessfully trying to locate a fish fry associated with St. Jerome in Troy, we settled on the VFW Post 976. At first this would seem to be a bold move, however we were relatively pleased with the results.

The Illinois smoking ban has done wonders to clean-up little places like this! Wait time was pretty rough and it took around 30 minutes to carry-out. Afterwards we discovered that there was a handy "call-ahead" option.

Choices were plentiful and included "upscale" baked options. Sides featured onion rings and fried mushrooms. More shocking were the bags of home-made pork rinds available for 3 bucks, although I'm not sure if you can eat pigskin during Lent!

Prices were average, and the fish ended up being really good. We suspect that they use some kind of a cajun fish batter. Throw out the wait and this place is worth a stop! That is, if you are anywhere near Troy.

Overall 7 out of 10 lobster tails!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Great People, Good Food, Drink Menu Needs Work

Last week we visited St. Mary Magdalen on Kingshighway in South City. Fish was hot, atmosphere was welcoming and desserts were delicious. But there was one thing missing, and it was no small oversight – the BEER!

As fish frys have evolved into my Friday ritual, I’ve come to rely on a cold one (or three) to wash down the deep-fried goodness. Its absence was tough to swallow, and admittedly, took at least two patties off my final rating. Luckily, Cotters was close by to quench our thirst.

Outside of the lack of adult beverages, the combination of fast and friendly service, diverse menu and unique atmosphere make Magdalen’s an above average fry. The jack salmon and shrimp were hot and hand-breaded. The spaghetti was sub-par, but the slaw, hush puppies and homemade lemon cake made up for it.

One of the most unique features about Magdalen’s fish fry is that they create a new theme every week. Last Friday was Italian night, and a parishioner went from table to table offering homemade Italian desserts. My advice: head to Magdalen’s on Friday, March 19 when they will be selling green beer.

Overall Rating: 7.5 out of 10 fish patties

Monday, March 8, 2010

Illinois Bureau: Edwardsville Knights of Columbus

The Illinois Bureau is going to take the "better late than never" approach to our fist fish fry review -- we have had our hands full with a new addition to the team, Madeline Kathleen Durst. While she can not yet eat fish, I am sure that she will provide her opinion in one way or another.

For the first sunday of Lent, we visited an old faithful standby, the Edwardsville K of C. This was mostly because we were due to have a baby at any moment! At any rate, the K of C delivered with great service, cold beer and good food all at affordable prices. The kids menu was even sampled by our under 5 division. This place always passes the test, and is one of the only places in IL with table service. We completely recomend either the catfish or cod, but the shrimp is also good.

Captain D says: 9 out of 10 fish sticks!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

St. Gabe’s Lives Up To Its Reputation

For those of you who are new to the blog, there is a reason I’m referred to as the “fish fry master.” While yes, the term may be self-appointed, most would agree that more than three years of attending parish fish fries justifies the title. And in all my time reviewing fried fish, I have yet to come across a fry as awesome as St. Gabriel’s in South City.

The parishioners at St. Gabe’s have the fish fry down to an art form – friendly service, tasty food and plenty of canned Busch to go around.

The menu is extensive, offering various types of hand-breaded and baked fish. Sides include red and garlic butter pasta, mac & cheese, slaw, fries, green beans, applesauce and bread. Dinners are $8 and served with a drink and dessert. Everything was delicious and hot, and portions were generous.

While the line was long, it moved fast and friendly staff came through to pass out free beer. This gesture alone is enough to keep me coming back. I was accompanied by a sizeable crowd of fellow fish-lovers, and we were able to find two full tables next to each other. They had a big screen TV set-up showing the Olympics, which was an obvious upgrade from the average run-of-the-mill fry.

If you’re in the neighborhood, give St. Gabe’s a try. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.*

Overall rating: 10 out of 10 fish patties!

Photos from top:
Dan pretends Renee is a tasty fish sandwich
Justin bonds with my nephew Dominic
Typical plate at St. Gabe's fish fry

* I don’t actually make guarantees on this blog.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Next Stop: My Hood

The votes are in, and no, I didn't rig it. This week we're heading to St. Gabs, which just so happens to be within walking distance to my house. I've heard around town that this is fry is top notch. I've also heard that they pass out free beer when the line gets too long. Here's hoping!

Fry goes to 7 p.m., and I plan to arrive around 6 p.m.

Be there, or be square.

St. Gabriel the Archangel
6303 Nottingham Avenue
St. Louis MO, 63109

Monday, February 22, 2010

Polish Parish Offers Friendly Fry

The verdict is in - the Poles know how to fry up a decent fish. The fry at St. Agatha's in Soulard was a festive kick off to the 2010 Lenten season. Atmosphere was great (kitschy, even by fish fry standards, but great), food was above average and the beer cooler was fully stocked with exotic malt liquors containing 8% alcohol.

Upon arrival, we expected to wait in line, but it would appear no one actually knows about this diamond in the ruff. In fact, soon after sitting down, a patron alerted the staff of our blog party and the parishioners brought over free homemade bread and Polish beer in appreciation for us bringing in, what turned out to be, about 50% of the revenue for the night. Note to any other frys we visit this season: free food and beer weigh heavily on my critique of your operation.

Aside from the bribery, the food was pretty decent by fish fry standards, and portions were more than generous. Fish seemed to be fresh, not frozen or straight from the Van de Kamp's box. The potato salad, fries and bread were especially tasty. And the dessert was good (as dessert usually is), despite only having one option available. The meal was a steal at $6 for dinner, dessert and tea/coffee.

My only recommendation would be to offer a couple different fish options. With fish frys becoming more progressive, diners are accustomed to a shrimp or fish taco here and there. Also, offer free water. Even if it's in an old pitcher from the church basement tap, we can't tell the difference.

Overall Rating: 8.5 out of 10 fish patties

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Szczęśliwy Czas Smażonego mięsa Ryby!

Well friends, we're back!

Back for a third season of mediocre, and sometimes over-priced, fish and all the Goedeker commentary you can stomach. For the next seven Fridays we'll travel throughout the city in search of the best fish St. Louis Catholics can fry up. As always, it's sure to be a trying couple months. But we'll get through it together, with a little help from a few Bud Lights and a lot of ketchup.

We're kicking-off the 2010 season with a truly unique fry, unknown to many aficionados. As many of you know, Justin is half Polish. To show my appreciation for my man friend, and fully embrace his culture, we're heading to St. Agatha's in Soulard for the Polish American Fish Fry.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, February 19 @ 6:15 p.m.
St. Agatha Polish Roman Catholic Church
3239 South 9th Street (at Utah)
St. Louis, Mo 63118
(314) 772-1603