Tuesday, April 19, 2011

St. Joan of Arc Offers Hot Eats, Cool Treats

Around this time in the season, my fish fry visits start to become more and more monotonous. Six weeks of feasting on run-of-the-mill spaghetti and drinking cheap Natural Light will do that to a person. Especially as the weather warms up, and we’d all, admittedly, rather be drinking on a patio somewhere. That said, I was a little worn for the weary heading into the fish fry at St. Joan of Arc in South City on Friday. Luckily, the fry surpassed my (albeit low) expectations.

Early in the season, a faithful reader posted photos from a FEAST Magazine article on the Facebook page featuring the St. Joan of Arc fry. I had visited St. Joan of Arc years back and posted a positive review. However, with the addition of an ice cream sundae bar and a few outside the box sides, I thought it may be worth adding to the weekly reader poll. Apparently others agreed because the fry beat out competitors by nearly 15 votes.

Hearing good things from fellow fish fry reviewers, I anticipated a long wait. But when I arrived around 6:15 p.m. there was no wait and still plenty of hot food on the line. I ordered the fried cod, Irish potatoes and parmesan broccoli. Yes, I justified eating fried fish by ordering a side of broccoli.

All of the food was hot and tasty, especially the potatoes and homemade tartar sauce. The baked fish and mac’n’cheese received positive reviews as well. As in most cases, the highlight of my meal was the dessert - an ice cream sundae bar. A mere buck and a half buys you a generous serving of vanilla ice cream and all the toppings you could want. It may not be Ted Drews, but any fish fry with a sundae bar deserves a nod in my book.

Now if only parishes would start adding patio seating, we’d really be in business.

Overall Rating: 9 out of 10 fish patties

Photos from top to bottom:
Overly excited about my fish sandwich
Typical plate at St. Joan of Arc
MMMMM…ice cream

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Steer Clear of the Yellow Stuff

A good fry requires a fine balance of tasty fare, good value, efficient service and friendly atmosphere. St. Justin Martyr in Sunset Hills delivered on three out of four of the criteria, but came up short in one key area: the food.

While the fish, both fried and baked, was above average, the sides seriously lacked. The spaghetti was just mediocre, and the mac’n’cheese was almost inedible – cold and bland.

I will say the meal was a great value, with $8 buying a healthy serving of fish, three sides, a dessert and drink. But since “Dot’s Slaw” is the only side worth eating, I’d advise ordering up a triple serving of slaw. What’s that? Not a slaw fan? Sorry. I heard the cheese pizza is good.

Overall Rating: 7 out of 10 fish patties.

Monday, April 4, 2011

St James Serves Up Overwhelming Portions and Underwhelming Taste

As a casual fish fry diner, St. James in Dogtown might do the job. The fry offers huge portions at a decent value ($8), friendly parishioners keep the line moving quickly and there are plenty of dessert options. However, as the Fish Fry Master, I found the experience to be a little lack luster…even by fish fry standards.

The fried cod was a little bland and cookie-cutter. Literally, every piece of cod was the exact same size and square shape – a sure sign of frozen, pressed fish. The baked cod was mushy and under-cooked, and the green beans were cold. On the upside, the fried catfish received rave reviews and the red pasta was pretty tasty, so perhaps my mistake was in my choices.

I think the menu could benefit from a little creativity, and the fish needs a little TLC. However, if you’re in the neighborhood (and you don’t spend six weeks a year scrutinizing fish fries) it may feel like a good bang for your buck.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 10 fish patties.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Do As The Irish Do

The clear winner this week is St. James the Greater Catholic Church in Dogtown. Now let me preface this trip by saying I know absolutely nothing about this fish fry. As the Fish Fry Master, I often times receive tips on what certain fries serve, what their niche is or at least what kind of booze selection they offer. But when it comes to St. James, I’m going in blind. Well, at least that was the case before I read this less than stellar review this morning on The 13 blog - http://the13blog.wordpress.com. All I have to say is, God help us.

I hope to arrive around 6:15 p.m. tonight. Care to join in my plight?

St. James the Greater Catholic Church
1360 Tamm Avenue
St. Louis, Mo 63139