Burger Friday has given up hamburgers for Lent, and is diving headlong into the Friday fish-fry ritual (find previous suggestions here, here and here). Burgers return next week, but in the meantime, here are five final suggestions:
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).