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[Twin Cities] Fish Fry!

rp1760 Feb 9, 2009 03:40 PM

We're not quite to Lent, but that hasn't stopped the South St. Paul VFW from firing up their Friday night Fish Fry! I went through the to-go line last Friday. Their fish is sooooo good! And I love the homemade slaw. And the homemade, slightly on the sweet side, tarter sauce. Note the to-go box has enough fish for about 2 1/2 meals. It's good cold, or just reheat for 8 minutes at 400 on a cookie sheet. Do not microwave!!! I'm going back Friday with a group of friends - will add the hoemade baked beans and the, yes, homemade mac and cheese to my plate. Those folks work hard, starting Thursday and going through Friday night, and they turn out a great Fry. This one goes through Good Friday.

Any other Fish Fry's in/near the Twin Cities to recommend?

  1. g
    GutGrease Aug 16, 2010 11:31 AM

    Growing up in Milwaukee, I understood that Friday = all you can eat fried fish. Every restaurant and bar there served fried fish and sides as it's special for the evening. It is the same as a typical fish and chips menu item, except on Fridays it was the special and you could often choose between perch, cod, pollack, and then either baked or fried.

    1. f
      foreverhungry Aug 16, 2010 09:10 AM

      Pardon this seemingly ignorant question, but what exactly is the difference between a "fish fry" (as per MN and WI), and "fish and chips" (other than the potato product that is served alongside the fish)? It seems that some restaurants simply call it "fish and chips", but if the same thing is served in a church or KofC or VFW around lent, it's called a fish fry?

      The reason I ask is that the version of "fish fry" that I grew up with (obviously not in the midwest) was of young fish (or 'fry') that were simply deep-fried whole: 2 - 4 inches, including head, tail, and everything in between. Served on today's newspaper. I think they were usually perchlings, but just about any small lake-fish would do.

      Given that some folks on this thread have noted that their "fish fry" has used cod or pollock, it just seems that this is essentially the same as a fish and chips (perhaps minus the vinegar). Am I missing something? Or does it just come down to "marketing"?

      8 Replies
      1. re: foreverhungry
        John E. Aug 16, 2010 09:42 AM

        You seem to understand that there really isn't a difference between 'fish and chips' and 'fish fry' with the possible exception of the 'chips'. In the case of a fish fry, it has nothing to do with young fish that are correctly labeled 'fry' at a certain point in their development. The only fish fry that might resembe what you are talking about would be a smelt fry, but that is never referred to as fish fry but as a smelt fry. The phrase "fish fry" as used in these parts means fried fish but not always with 'chips' or french fries as they are usually referred here. Many times the fish fry's only sides are potato salad and baked beans and sometimes, but not always, potato chips. The 'fish fry' can mean a church supper during Lent, a restaurant's offering, usually on Fridays at any time of year and at other gatherings such as at people's homes when they have caught suffinient quantities of walleye, perch, etc. to have a 'fish fry'.

        1. re: foreverhungry
          Davydd Aug 16, 2010 10:39 AM

          Fry means the method not the description of the fish. As John E mentioned I think in all the Great Lakes area you are referring to smelt not young, small fish. Smelt runs are in the spring and are caught by netting in the streams flowing into the Great Lakes. Fish frys are often event driven all you can eat dinners where massive amounts of fish are deep fried. They are not usually set menu items or described that way. Usually the fish is pretty much all that is served along with sides at a fish fry event.

          1. re: Davydd
            f
            foreverhungry Aug 16, 2010 10:57 AM

            Right, well I understand the difference between the midwestern version of a fish fry and what you here call a smelt fry. The version I'm used to is in Europe, where they net young fish (fry), usually perch, rather than use the species referred to in the Great Lakes area as 'smelt'.

            The question I'm asking is, what's the difference between a fish fry, and fish & chips? Why is the same thing called different names, depending on if it's held in a church or VFW on a Friday during Lent, or if it's served up at Brit's on a Saturday afternoon? Why is a fish fry given such significance, given that it's really any kind of fish that's battered and deep fried and served with a seemingly endless array of possible sides. Does the Burger King Big Fish Sandwich or the McD's Filet-O-Fish count as a fish fry (let's say you ditch the bun), given that it's some random piece of fish that's fried, served with tartar, and some random side? Not trying to be snide, but just trying to understand why the round-the-world ubiquitous fried fish is given such apparent reverential treatment here and called a "fish fry". Given the examples given in this thread, it would seem that the entirety of Red Lobster's menu would constitute a fish fry.

            1. re: foreverhungry
              a
              alpa chino Aug 16, 2010 11:20 AM

              You're right, the items on the menu are exactly the same as Fish n chips. But a fish fry connotes an event, like a friday night fish fry. A fish fry is usually not always on the menu everyday, usually just on Fridays. Obviously stemming from its Lenten catholic roots.

              Like a wisconsin fish boil. Or new orleans crab boil. (which I would love to find one around here, btw).

              1. re: foreverhungry
                Foureyes137 Aug 16, 2010 11:20 AM

                Fish & chips is a menu item. A fish fry is an event (that serves fish & chips).

                Fish & Chips = Fish & Chips

                Wisconsin Fish Fry = Usually lenten. Usually all-you-can-eat (but not always) fish, fries, rye bread, some type of salad (usually bad cole slaw) presented in a hall, supper club or Catholic church basement. In Wisconsin, you order the fish fry AT the fish fry or you can actually order chicken...but it is still a fish fry. Not sure if chicken is on the menu at Red Lobster. I tend to think they have some variant of the dreaded "chicken caesar".

                One could say any restaurant that happens to serve all of these items can, thus, serve a fish fry...but only if that person had never been to a fish-fry and understood it has about as much to do with the food as it doesn't.

                1. re: Foureyes137
                  The Dairy Queen Aug 16, 2010 11:24 AM

                  That's how I think of it, too, Foureyes137. I've never been to a WI F.F., but it sounds very similar to a MN F.F. except for the chicken part! I don't recall ever having seen chicken at any of the F.F. I've been to. Fried fish vs. baked fish, yes, but always fish.

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: Foureyes137
                    k
                    KTFoley Aug 16, 2010 11:58 AM

                    "Fish & chips is a menu item. A fish fry is an event (that serves fish & chips)."

                    Perfect.

                    1. re: Foureyes137
                      f
                      foreverhungry Aug 16, 2010 12:15 PM

                      Excellent! Thanks to both alpa chino and Foureyes137. As you may have guessed, I've never been to a fish fry, so the fact that it's about the event (or as much to do with food as it doesn't, as Foureyes put it) is something I never experienced.

                      Thank you both for your patience in explaining what must seem like an obvious concept to someone that's never experienced a fish fry (but has eaten lots of fried fish).

              2. a
                alpa chino Aug 14, 2010 10:17 AM

                I was in the mood for a friday fish fry and I tried the Red Stagg Supper club, per the recommendations on this thread. The cod I ordered was spectacular. I ordered fries instead of chips and they were probably the best french fries I ever had in my life. They were fresh cut fries, slightly well-done, with parmesan, chives, and bits of sauteed onions--incredible. The cod was fried just right, crisp and not too greasy. The tartar sauce was authentic and flavorful. The coleslaw was authentic too, with celery and onion, but not exactly my taste because it had a stinging bite to it. But if the friday fish fry is any indication of the food at this place, they are good. Thumbs up all-around.

                2 Replies
                1. re: alpa chino
                  f
                  faith Aug 14, 2010 11:09 PM

                  anyone ever tried the trout version of red stag fish fry?

                  1. re: faith
                    e
                    Enso Aug 16, 2010 06:33 AM

                    I went there with a friend. I believe we ordered one trout and one cod, to be able to compare. Both meals were big thumbs down for both of us. It was nothing like alpa's experience. Coulda been an off-night, but it was so bad I wouldn't give them a 2nd chance.

                2. a
                  alpa chino Apr 29, 2009 02:49 AM

                  great thread. It looks like the best fish frys are at the VFW or foreign legion. I hope the fish isn't tilapia. If the fish is cod, pollack, or walleye---that's great. I've seen signs around brooklyn park for a smelt fry. I've never had smelt fry--wonder if it's as good as cod.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: alpa chino
                    Foureyes137 Apr 29, 2009 06:10 AM

                    Much much different than cod.

                    Smelt is about 100th the size and freshwater (think freshwater anchovies in terms of size and shape). I love smelt however and I think Red Stag does a good job with theirs, though I am not a big cornmeal fan.

                  2. AnneInMpls Mar 3, 2009 01:49 PM

                    I drove past the Polish American Club on Arcade Ave. today, and noticed their big sign advertising a Friday Fish Fry. Has anyone tried this one? Stephanie March implies that they have Polish beer...

                    http://home.comcast.net/~us278300/ind...

                    Anne

                    1. k
                      KTFoley Mar 2, 2009 02:03 PM

                      After years of good intentions but no Lenten fish, I went with some friends to St. Albert the Great last Friday. Despite the snow emergency the church hall filled quickly -- with better weather the two serving lines are probably a must.

                      St. Albert's dinner featured Alaskan pollack, baked or fried. The fried pollack has a coating that includes nuts. Because they put large batches in the serving pan, it doesn't all stay crisp but it was still served warm & tasty. Sides include potatoes (mashed, fried or hashed cakes), cole slaw, pasta w/ meatless sauce, beverages, dessert.

                      The dessert table is a reason to go early, so as not to miss the homemade offerings.

                      The potatoes are a bit weak. The mashed potatoes are instant, albeit doctored up quite creatively. The oven-baked fries don't last well in a serving pan, and the hashed cakes are the retail version of McDonald's breakfast potatoes.

                      The parish seems to be thriving at this event, from the full age span of enthusiastic volunteers to the sociable priest and the welcoming hosts. There's bingo next week, not to mention accordion music.

                      -----
                      St Albert the Great Church
                      2836 33rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: KTFoley
                        t
                        TDS1 Mar 3, 2009 09:13 AM

                        Trying to decide between trying the VFW Richfield or the Knights of Columbus Bloomington. Anyone been to either one and have a preference? Sounds like VFW uses pollack. KoC wasn't sure, but thought theirs was cod (which I would in general prefer). Any advice?

                      2. m
                        mnsnow Feb 27, 2009 12:47 PM

                        There was a nice roundup of Friday Fish Frys by Stephanie March at MSP magazine.

                        http://blogs.mspmag.com/foodiefile/20...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mnsnow
                          d
                          dave43 Feb 27, 2009 01:24 PM

                          I might be a good Catholic tonight and go have fried Smelt at Tian Jin. It will be hard to pass up all the delicious looking halibut dishes I have yet to try though.

                        2. m
                          MayrMN Feb 27, 2009 12:25 PM

                          Ok-So my DH doesn't want to go to a church, VFW or KofC, so besides the Red Stagg mentioned below, anyone know if any fish frys?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: MayrMN
                            The Dairy Queen Feb 27, 2009 12:30 PM

                            Here's a thread from the past two years on Fish Frys. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3733... I haven't been to any this year, so, I can't really provide current info. I used to like Groveland Tap's AYCE Friday Fish Fry quite a bit, but they went and ruined their menu a couple of months ago and everything feels weird and unfamiliar , which is exactly the opposite of what I look for in a neighborhood bar. I don't know if their fish fry is still any good.

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                              The Dairy Queen Feb 27, 2009 12:50 PM

                              I'm going to point out that from last year's post, Matty B's is closed, and Awadas or Georges or whatever it is/was on Plato had some kind of changeover, too.

                              ~TDQ

                          2. s
                            sporkgirl Feb 19, 2009 09:31 AM

                            Just heard that St. Albert the Great (E. 29th St. at 32nd Ave S in Mpls) is serving baked and fried pollack (as well as veggie spaghetti) on Fridays, with the BINGO in March. Kids under 5 eat free, adults $10.

                            1. s
                              ssioff Feb 14, 2009 07:45 AM

                              Went to the South St. Paul VFW for the fish fry last night - $10 AYCE. The fish is pollack, lightly breaded and was awesome. The slaw is good and not swimming in dressing. The mac and cheese is too mushy, but tasty. They said last night they went through 1,100 pounds of fish. Wow! Tim Pawlenty even made an appearance.

                              1. s
                                sarah.j.morrison Feb 12, 2009 06:14 PM

                                girvan grille at edinburgh USA in brooklyn park has a $10 tilapia fish fry on friday nights. it's unlimited during lent.

                                1. j
                                  jillskaar Feb 11, 2009 04:21 PM

                                  Tinucci is excellent. They have an extensive buffet on Friday's at their resturant in Cottage Grove with several different salads, veggies, etc. They also have a smaller resturant in Woodbury. I strongly recommend it.

                                  1. MplsM ary Feb 11, 2009 12:15 PM

                                    Here's a report from last year regarding Friday fish fries: http://www.secretsofthecity.com/magazine/blogs/breaking-bread/2008/03/friday-fish-fries-guest-blog Seems The Rake is now Secrets of the City which is silly and confusing. Then again I never 'got' the title of The Rake, either. But I digress...

                                    The Catholic Spirit calendar only has the KofC Bloomington fish fry listed but Lent won't start until the 25th of February so I guess that's not too surprising. http://thecatholicspirit.com/index.ph...

                                    1. l
                                      liney714 Feb 11, 2009 09:21 AM

                                      The B-Dale Club( 2100 north dale st roseville mn 55113 651-489-5386) has a great fish fry. not all you can eat but really large portions. They bread their own fish so its crispy and great. Also they have shrimp

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: liney714
                                        s
                                        shoo bee doo Mar 1, 2009 08:46 AM

                                        I went here Friday night with a friend and the fish was delicious. You can get a 2nd plate for $1.00 more than the original plate price of $6.00, which was more than enough fish for me. It wasn't crowded, which was nice, and it wasn't noisy.

                                        The fish is Canadian pollack, which tasted fresh-caught.

                                        All that oil though made me feel a bit queasy the next day, But isn't that what fish fries are for?

                                        Two weeks ago I did go to the VFW on Concord. I didn't think that fish was as good as the B'Dale Club. A lot of noise and people there. And I even got there before Tim Pawlenty did.

                                        That one made me feel a bit queasy the next day also.

                                        It's fun to try these though. I might try the one in Hudson next week.

                                      2. Davydd Feb 11, 2009 07:24 AM

                                        The Excelsior American Legion is starting up their Lent fish fries on Friday nights. I suspect it is pretty common for American Legions and VFWs.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: Davydd
                                          Davydd Feb 28, 2009 11:34 AM

                                          We went to the American Legion post last night for the all you can eat fish fry. They start you off with a plate of fish with baked potato, cole slaw, sour cream, and tartar sauce and then follow up with people bringing around piping hot fried fish until you had enough. I actually had enough with the initial plate but took a couple of extra pieces on follow up just so I could say I did an all you can eat. Here is the plate.

                                           
                                          1. re: Davydd
                                            Foureyes137 Feb 28, 2009 12:55 PM

                                            Hot diggity, that looks like a proper Sconi fish fry (just needs some rye bread)!

                                            I can't tell, is that Perch? It looks like Perch or maybe Gilly.

                                            1. re: Foureyes137
                                              Davydd Feb 28, 2009 01:19 PM

                                              Definitely not perch and not walleye. I didn't even ask.

                                              1. re: Foureyes137
                                                The Dairy Queen Mar 1, 2009 03:17 AM

                                                What davydd describes is how all of the church fish fries (that I've been to) in the Twin Cities work. Most have rye bread, too. The primary variation is whether they also serve beer, and what kinds of raffles they have going on, and what kinds of desserts they have available. But the basics: plate of fish with baked potato, cole slaw, sour cream, butter, and tartar sauce, some kind of bread, with someone bringing more fish, is pretty much the same at all the churches. Some offer baked fish, too.

                                                ~TDQ

                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                  Foureyes137 Mar 1, 2009 07:30 AM

                                                  I do not enter churches, so this would have helped me little to not at all.

                                                  When we're in Milwaukee we go to Clifford's. (We've been to Serb Hall and several supper clubs, not as good). So it is good to see a solid Wisco fish fry served in a place where I would eat it, hence my comment. Now, I just know to bring my own rye.

                                              2. re: Davydd
                                                cheeseguysgirl Mar 1, 2009 05:25 AM

                                                Where is that American Legion located?

                                            2. s
                                              sporkgirl Feb 10, 2009 09:17 AM

                                              Can you count Red Stag's Friday Fish Fry menu?
                                              http://www.redstagsupperclub.com/file...

                                              I know it's not the true 'Scani experience, you need a lawn chair and good can of Point for that...

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: sporkgirl
                                                b
                                                BigE Feb 11, 2009 06:18 AM

                                                I had Red Stag's fish fry a few months back and it was outstanding. Certainly not the VFW/local church experience, but I'd highly recommend it for a slightly nicer Friday fish fry experience.

                                              2. g
                                                GutGrease Feb 10, 2009 09:00 AM

                                                I just passed the VFW on Concord and saw the fish fry sign. I assume that's the one you're talking about. I'll have to give it a try. Unfortunately, the Twin Cities doesn't do Friday night fish fries in the same volume as my hometown of Milwaukee. There are some places out there though!

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