Enthusiasts have one more opportunity to get in on this year's fish-fry action at the Minneapolis location of the Blue Door Pub. The fish is beer-battered cod (served in the all-a-person-could-possibly-consume style), with a choice of a single side dish: French fries, Tater Tots, onion rings or deep-fried green beans. It’s served all day, and the cost is $11. And, no, this final iteration of Friday Fish Fry 2015 is not available at the Blue Door's St. Paul location.
At friendly, supper club-ish Gulden’s Roadhouse in Maplewood, owners Mike and Brenda Gengler host a year-round Friday fish fry, and it’s a doozy. The fish is hand-breaded Alaskan pollock, and it’s an all-you-can-eat situation. From there, the Genglers pile on the sides: a choice of potato (baked, mashed, hash browns or waffle fries) and either a cup of soup or unlimited trips to the salad bar. Cost: $13.95, and it runs all day, every Friday.
Consider the fish and chips at the lively Town Hall Brewery. The kitchen prepares beer-battered cod (using brewer Michael Hoops’ German-style lager) and tosses in a mountain of crisp fries. Cost is $12, and, no, we're not talking all-you-can-eat. Wash it down with Hoops’ nicely crisp IPA.
At the Little Oven, which pledges (accurately, in my opinion) “biggest portions, smallest prices,” this is the last week for its Friday fish fry special. There are options, so listen up: Three pieces of beer-battered cod go for $10.99, five pieces runs $12.50 and the all-you-can-eat option is $13.50. All are served with a soup or salad, vegetables, a choice of potato (fries, mashed, baked, hash browns) and a freshly baked popover. It’s served all day Friday, starting at 11 a.m.
I've mentioned this option in a previous post, but it bears repeating: My favorite Friday fish fry, non-all-you-can-eat version, can be found at Sapor Cafe and Bar. I love sitting in the restaurant's cozy bar, watching barkeep Toph Heubach go through his paces, bask in the welcoming warmth of co-owner Julie Steenerson's hospitality and then dig into whatever expertly prepared delicacy chef/co-owner Tanya Siebenaler has up her sleeve, fish-fry wise (that's Siebenaler, left, and Steenerson, right, pictured above in a Star Tribune file photo). This week's plan is Baja-style fish tacos: housemade flour tortillas stuffed with fried catfish (dipped in a batter built with a lager from Fair State Brewing Co-op) and finished with cabbage, salsa and lime mayonnaise. Dinner only, starting at 5 p.m. Cost? $17.
A final note: It's not exactly a Lenten season fish fry (although it does fall, in part, on a Friday), but it needs to be noted that the 53rd-annual (fifty-third!) Brooklyn Park Lions Club smelt fry -- billed as the world's largest -- is scheduled for April 22, 23 and 24. The menu includes all-you-can-eat breaded-and-fried smelt, served with tartar sauce and cocktail sauce. Sides, too: coleslaw, pork and beans, a dinner roll and a beverage. Beer and ice cream are available at an additional cost. The smelt fry runs from 5 to 8 p.m. each night at the Brooklyn Park Armory, which is part of the Brooklyn Park Community Activity Center. Tickets are $12 adults ($10 in advance), and kids ages 12 get in for $5 (advance tickets are available at the Brooklyn Park Community Activity Center and Godfather's Pizza in Brooklyn Park).
If you haven't tried the fish and chips at the Freehouse, you should. The kitchen dunks cod in a batter made with its house-brewed golden ale, serving the deep-fried results with thick-cut fries, a wonderfully lumpy tartar sauce and a side of mashed peas laced with mint. Huge portions, $17.
At its 29 Twin Cities locations, Culver’s, the Wisconsin-based fast-fooder, batters and fries North Atlantic cod, serving it with a warm dinner roll, a lightly-dressed coleslaw, a generous handful of crinkle fries and a tartar sauce flecked with olives, capers and sweet relish. A single piece of cod is $7.85, two pieces run $10.75 and three are $12.69.
The fish and chips at the Gold Nugget Tavern & Grille include beer-battered haddock (with malted tartar sauce), served with hand-cut fries and a side of coleslaw. Cost: $14.95. Another draw: The bar’s tap beer list, which includes craft brews from two nearby breweries, Badger Hill and Lucid.
Birchwood Cafe chef Marshall Paulsen is sort-of embracing fish fry mania, but on his own creative terms. This week he’s offering (gluten-free) fried halibut and monkfish, served with the kitchen’s (superb) organic French fries and a kimchi/Key lime tartar sauce, pickled cucumbers and apple-cumin coleslaw. Sounds great, right? It’s available for $15 after 5 p.m. As for dessert, don’t miss the kitchen's signature Key lime pie.
How about a 3 a.m. fish fry? (remember, Friday commences at 12:01 a.m.). Every day – not just Friday -- the we-never-close Nicollet Diner serves four pieces of battered and fried cod (or sometimes Alaskan whitefish) with fries and house-made tartar sauce, all for $11.99.
Glockenspiel offers a Friday fish fry year-round, but the restaurant goes into overdrive during Lent, with all-you-can consume portion of beer-battered cod (plus a single serving of fries and coleslaw) for $12.95 (from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), and $14.95 (from 3 to 9 p.m.). Here’s another Lenten bonus: The restaurant accepts reservations for fish fry-eating parties of four or more at dinner.
For its year-round Friday fish fry, the Groveland Tap taps swai. “It’s similar to catfish,” said kitchen manager Steve Johnson. “Everyone has cod, or pollock, so it’s nice to do something different.” The beer batter-fried fish (Johnson relies upon Grain Belt Premium) is an all-you-can-eat situation, and the fries and coleslaw are not, “but if someone wants more of either one, I am happy to make that happen,” he said with a laugh. Cost is $11.25, and it’s served all day, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Johnson’s tip: Show up at lunch. “People sometimes have to wait an hour, an hour and a half for dinner,” he said. “Lunch is the best bet for getting in without having to wait.” As for beer pairings, Johnson suggests going light, something along the lines of the Freehouse No. 1, a crisp, golden Kolsch produced at the Tap’s sister restaurant.
At Stella’s Fish Cafe, the formula is simple: fried Alaskan cod, golden fries, coleslaw and tartar sauce, an all-you-can-eat situation priced at $14.95.
For its all-you-can-eat Friday fish fry, the Machine Shed offers three Atlantic cod choices: rolled in bread crumbs and fried, beer-battered and fried, or broiled. Side dishes include vegetables and a choice of potato (baked, sweet, mashed, garlic mashed, French fries or sweet potato fries), served from 3 p.m. until the kitchen closes for the night. Cost: $12.99.
All day, every Friday, year round, for $11.95, fun-loving Harry’s Cafe offers up four pieces of Alaskan pollock, serving it pan-fried, deep-fried or broiled, and pairing it with a choice of mashed potatoes, baked potatoes or fries. Tartar sauce, too.
Each Friday evening at Sapor Cafe and Bar, chef Tanya Siebenaler offers a different take on the classic fish fry formula, with one exception: it’s not an all-you-can-eat situation. Last week, Siebenaler was consumed with catfish, remoulade and potato salad. This week, she’s channeling St. Patrick’s Day with beer-battered cod and hand-cut fries served with malt vinegar tartar sauce ($18). Pair it up with a pint or two of Fair State Brewing Cooperative’s oat-ey brown malt stout, brewed in northeast Minneapolis.
On Friday after 6 p.m., Cafe Maude embraces the season with a fish fry, minus the all-you-can-eat pile-on, and cooks the heck out of it. The fish is tempura-battered cod, served with sauce gribiche, a tartar-like sauce made with hard-cooked eggs, capers, pickles and dill. The russets skip the fryer and instead go the twice-blanched-then-baked route before getting a dusting of seasoning. Oh, and there’s a cabbage-carrot coleslaw, dressed with aioli. Cost: $16.50.
True to its northern Wisconsin roots, Red Stag Supperclub puts out a doozy of a Friday fish fry, and people, there are options: single ($12) and double ($17) servings of cod, and single ($13) and double ($18) servings of walleye, all paired with potato chips, coleslaw and a divine sweet-onion tartar sauce. Don’t miss a drop of the house-made smoked ketchup when you splurge on a cone of the kitchen’s famous smelt fries ($8).
At the new North Loop iteration of Red Cow, fish-fryers can opt for a straight-up single serving ($12) or indulge in the all-you-can-eat ($15) version. It's a familiar formula: beer-batted white fish, house-cut fries.
One of the Twin Cities' great fish fries is served all day (11 a.m. to 10 p.m.) at historic Gluek’s Restaurant & Bar. Get this: Cajun-style catfish, red beans and rice, hush puppies and coleslaw, for $13.95. The kitchen's beer-battered walleye, served with a mountain of crisp fries, slaw and caper-dill tartar sauce ($10.95, a single serving), is another option.