Saturday, March 24, 2012

Seton Parish- Zombies come to Pickerington

Seton Parish, 600 Hill Road, Pickerington, OH

We’re still under-manned in the tasting and talent department, but nonetheless we venture on in search of fishy treats to eat.

If you’ll recall last week, Bob, the singing buckeye, suggested that we try Seton Parish in Pickerington. He really enjoyed their set-up and their baked fish. Always a group that follows life’s streams of conscious, we decided to give it a try.

We headed out to brave the traffic. It seems at times as if all of Columbus’ work force lives in Newark. The commute was made doubly slow with a passing thunderstorm.

The Seton Parish offers a Fish Fry after Stations of the Cross at 5:30pm. What are Stations of the Cross? You can read about it here….http://www.cptryon.org/prayer/child/stations/index.html. The actual fish fry is open from 6-8pm, but seniors can get in early at 5:30 pm. Not sure what seniors do who want to eat early AND worship.

We were frightened when we saw the fire department pull up in front of us. Turns out they were there for dinner, too. We were encouraged thinking that they would certainly know a good local meal.
There is a sign on the street, but no door signage. You can follow the stream of people entering the fellowship hall. They have a take away window if you want to eat at home and maybe catch the basketball game.

Getting your food is quick and easy. The cash till is efficient, with four or five people taking your order and your money. The line moves quickly as long as they keep the fish coming. We got there during a rush and they were a little backed up.

The overall atmosphere is not only institutional, but penal. Gun metal grey paint accents the white walls and storm-cloud grey floors. Long tables seat 6-8 each. The masonry walls reflect every single sound, creating a conversation-damping din. The room when we were there was filled with partially deaf seniors shouting at each other from 18 inches apart.

The place is clean enough, but could use some semblance of life or color or hope. Who knows? Maybe that comes after Easter.

The fish was the high-point of the event. Atlantic Pollock hand battered and fried nice and hot. The batter was light and crunchy. Zee liked it because it was not too salty. It did complement the fish quite nicely.

Another high-point was the Mac n Cheese which had a nice tang to it. Someone took the time to spice it up a little which was a nice touch.

The remainder of the meal was as soul-robbing as the surroundings we ate it in. The green beans, already not a family favorite, looked unappetizing, with bits of tomato or other red substance mixed in. The applesauce was Motts’. I was initially dismayed by the miniscule quantity of coleslaw as they served a mere dollop in a medicine cup. However, I don’t think you one could eat more. Well shredded, the dressing seemed to be thinned tartar sauce and had a medicinal quality.

The tartar sauce, itself, was also odd tasting and seemed to be mixed with butter. I thought it tasted like McDonalds, but Zee though McDonald’s sauce tasted better.

No fries were offered. Indeed, no potato product of any kind. Your starches were Mac ‘n cheese or Rice.

The meal was $8.00 for adults and $6.00 for kids. They do offer the option of baked fish or, for a dollar more, salmon. Those are the only options. Water, Lemonade or coffee/tea is included, as is dessert. Soda can be had for a $1.00 donation.

From the dreary d├ęcor to the soulless food, we came away largely underwhelmed. Zee, thought last week’s site at Holy Spirit was worlds better in terms of life and interest. I’d have to agree.

At Seton Parish, perhaps the zombies have arrived and they’re feeding before the apocalypse. Unless you’ve nowhere else to go for fish on a Friday night, I’d give this a miss. If you do go, have your Zombie defenses ready. How do you kill a zombie? See this link for helpful hints.…http://http://www.cptryon.org/prayer/child/stations/index.html

Our regular crew is back for the last week of Lent next week. Not sure where we will be, but we are always open for suggestions. Feel free to leave a comment…

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fraternal Fish Fry- Holy Spirit Parish, 4217 E. Main Street

K of C White Hall. 4217 E. Main, Holy Spirit Parish.

Deb and Fe are off this week on a Mother/Son spring break trip. They’re missing the next two crucial weeks of Lenten Fridays. Why crucial? I really don’t know. They may bless us with some Lenten traditions from Italy, but that will come later. In the meantime, we are low on taste buds and writing talent, but we press ahead with our reviews and explorations.

An interscholastic, school dance on the East side gave us an excuse to make a, to-date, rare foray to this side of town. First on the list from the Columbus Catholic Diocese Website-East section was Holy Spirit Church.

If you know where Holy Spirit Church is, DON’T go there. This Fry is at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 4217 E. Main Street. If you’re driving, watch for it carefully, because you may just miss it; tucked in amid mini-marts and tire stores. There is not a lot of signage, apart from a banner on the side of a building. Park alongside the building or across the street. There’s sign on the back door directing you to the cashier.

It was a lovely night for a drive. Sunroof open. Pop music priming the interscholastic school dancer for her dance. We found the neighborhood is not the friendliest. Driving down a side street, a dapper young man of about 10 flipped me off for no apparent reason.

The people inside, though were quite friendly. Pay at the back door and walk toward the front. They serve generous portions and the staff are chatty. The French fry guy was eating a bowl of something in between serving customers, which I’m pretty sure is some sort of health code violation, but he was wearing gloves, and the fries just came out of the fryer so I wasn’t too worried.

Prices are VERY reasonable. $6.00 for adults. Since I don’t have kids under 12, I didn’t catch the kid price. Sorry. But this is an All-U-Can eat affair!

First the fish, which is why we all do this. They cook up perch that seems to be hand battered, cooked in small batches so each piece is hot. I really liked the breading which was savoury and added to the flakes of fish that fell off like coins from a roll. Z didn’t so much like the fish as much and thought the batter was a little too salty.

The fries were standard and good with ketchup.

For the first time in three weeks we had some good coleslaw. Made like grandma’s which means minced so fine you wouldn’t need your dentures if you were so afflicted. Nicely dressed with a spicy kick at the end.

The Mac 'n' Cheese was deemed average, by our expert.

They did have a selection of homemade desserts including gluten-free which we've not noticed at other locations.

Drinks included in the price include the usual fountain soda’s, lemonade and water. However, this is a Knights of Columbus Hall, which means they have a bar. I asked them how I could get a beer and the soda man asked his 13 year-old to walk me back to the bar. “You know where it is, don’t you, Caroline?” We’ve established that the health code is skirted, apparently the liquor laws are a little more lax in private clubs, too. Like last week, you could have your choice of libation at the full bar, but at club prices which is a bonus! A bottle of Yeungling set me back just $2.00.

The set-up of this place is exactly what you’d think of when you think about a fraternal hall. Paneled walls, plaques noting past presidents and charitable events. Two long tables, run the length of the place with the fish at the front and money exchange at the back. We all ate family style. Everyone seemed to know everyone. We were pegged as strangers, but everyone was welcoming.

Bob was the guy 6 spots down. He was crooning to his entourage, making harmony with the din. As we were exiting he called me over and we chatted on just about everything you could imagine in about 10 minutes. Turns out he was an amateur barbershop quartet singer. He asked me where I sang, I told him “In the shower”. He invited me to join his singing group the Singing Buckeye’s Chorus and gave me his card. www.singingbuckeyes.org. They meet on Tuesdays at 7 and give free voice lessons to those interested. They also run a summer camp for kids.

Zee was rather enthralled by the conversation. Afterward she asked, “Are you really going to sing with him?”

“No, I think I’m too shy to do that.”

“Well, you sure are a good actor then. I thought you were going to join up.”

So, that’s the K of C Fish Fry in Reynoldsburg. Good fish at cheap prices and a full bar with a friendly atmosphere. I’d recommend some Friday this year.

Bob did recommend the Fish Fry at Seton Parish in Pickerington. That’s where you’ll find us next week. Until then…

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

FOORREE!! Trying our Luck at the Shamrock Golf Club Fish Fry!!!

Our intrepid family of Fish Fry reviewers has been diligently attempting to visit all of the Catholic Fish Fries in Central Ohio. Lately we have been venturing farther afield from our north central home. Admittedly our pickings are getting slimmer and slimmer as we try to make it through rush hour to the Fish Fries outside the outerbelt.

Last week we thought we would head toward Delaware and see what they had to offer, but we were sidetracked by an interesting new option: a Fish Fry at a Golf Course! Thom discovered this on his way to work. The Shamrock Golf Club offers up an all you can eat Fish Fry on Friday nights during Lent.

Many of you who read this may know that Shamrock Golf Course is the home of “Chix with Stix”, the only golf tournament that I play every year. This made it odd for me to walk in and not be surrounded by lots of women wearing pink and looking like they were more interested in the drink cart than their clubs. The clubhouse seemed oddly quiet last Friday night.

There were only a few tables with patrons when we arrived just after 5:00 though the place did fill up over the course of our dinner. One of the big bonus’s of getting our dinner here quickly became apparent: Full Bar!

The server took our order and then we headed up to the buffet. The offerings were salad, coleslaw, mixed vegetables, waffle fries, macaroni and cheese, hush puppies, fried fish, fried shrimp and cupcakes and brownies for dessert.

I am struggling now because I don’t intend to be mean when I write these reviews, but I honestly have to say that this was the worst coleslaw any of us had ever had. You would be much better off skipping it and trying a salad.

As for the other offerings the waffle fries were hot and salty and so very tasty The shrimp was as well. Z gave a “thumbs up” to the hush puppies. I’ve never met one I liked so I would be the worst judge.

The fish could have been good and was nice and hot but the breading was too heavy and was too salty as well. It made it difficult to eat much of it. Perhaps that’s what they intended so you would eat less. The macaroni and cheese and the veggies were not hot and average tasting at best.

Now, if you are a golfer, there may be another plus side. They are running specials so that you can golf before you eat and with the weather we are having that might be enough to overlook the average food. All you can golf for the 9 hole price after 3 pm.

Also, if you are there with your kids there is a big pool table for them to play while you are finishing your dinner. It looked like they had a video game as well, but it wasn’t functioning. There were a couple of big screen TVs, each tuned to the Golf Channel.

This was a pricier option after you factor in tips and drinks. Our tab for 4 was nearly $60 all up.

I would not recommend going out of your way to get your Fish Fry fix here, but if you are in the area or have a hankering for a round of golf, you could get a filling meal here. Just stay away from the slaw.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Week #2-The Church of the Resurrection- New Albany

We have had such an unusual winter here in Central Ohio. We’ve had so little snow and so much warm weather and rain. This last Friday was no exception and as we arrived at the Church of the Resurrection in New Albany the sky opened up and poured rain.

Because we misread the Columbus Dioceses website we arrived at 5:00pm, a half hour early. The staff were a bit perplexed, but were lovely and welcomed us in to dining room to wait. The lesson learned would be to double check all the information when you read the website. The early arrival did let us get settled into the dining room and listen to the rocking sound system as well as listen in on the pre-meal pep talk and prayer by the head cook.

The Church of the Resurrection’s Fish Fry is held in their very lovely Ministry Center. For $9.50 for Adults, ($8.50 for Seniors, $5.50 for kids ( 4-10) free for the under 3’s) they serve an all you can eat buffet that includes lemonade, ice tea and coffee. Beer and wine can be had for a $2.00 donation and desserts were a buck.

Where other Fish fries are in the echoey walls of a gym or basement the Ministry Center is airy, well-lit and comfortable. They have great dinner music that ads to the setting and there is a great sense of community.

Thanks to a Square and an Ipad, they were the first Fish Fry that we have attended that took credit cards. Gotta love the new technology that allows you to do it on your phone.

The all you can eat part does have a bit of a catch. You can only go through the line once, so be sure to load up your plate the first time. I’m sure that is easier for them, but it makes one worry about waste.

They also offer many options that we haven’t seen before. There was the standard fried fish and they also offered baked. Potatoes were either baked or French fried. Standard sides included coleslaw, green beans, mac and cheese, apple sauce. They also had grilled cheese sandwiches on their standard menu but as part of their weekly special they offered tuna melts. The other weekly special offerings could be vegetable lasagna or pasta marinara. Check the specials board at the entrance. These are served on a rotating basis.

The other fairly unique item they offer is a rotating list of soups. This week they had tomato and broccoli/cheddar but they have clam chowder and potato soup in their rotation.

The fish here was good. Not the best we’ve had, but good. The cook joked with the woman in front of us, that it was genuine Ohio cod. She accepted this blissfully. He told me it was pollack from Alaska.

They keep the fish coming in small batches which help in keeping it hot. I wish I could say as much for the other dishes we tried. The coleslaw was flavorless or at least just tasted like cabbage with hint of dressing. The fries were warm at best and not crisp. The soups were warm, but bland and right out of the can. Thom and Fe tried the grilled cheese and were unimpressed with it as well. Sadly, my dessert looked delicious, but was full of ice crystals too.

Our overall feeling as we left was, to quote Z, “Meh.”

If you are looking for a fish fry, and are in the New Albany area, you will like the ambience and I promise you will leave full, but you will most likely leave unfulfilled.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2012 Week #1- Our Lady of Perpetual Help

The beginning of Lent. Easter is a movable date on the calendar. It is determined by the first Sunday that falls on or after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox. The beginning of Lent starts forty days before on Ash Wednesday.

Thankfully for those of us that love Fish Fries, the Catholic Church decided that one of the things that should be abstained from during Lent was meat. We have discussed in earlier blogs why they didn’t consider fish meat.

What you may not know is that the most popular area of the country for Fish Fries is Wisconsin. They are often held both Friday and Wednesday and are not just held in Catholic Church parish halls, but also in many restaurants.

We don’t have quite so many options in Central Ohio but the intrepid Mak family went out again this past Friday, the first of Lent, in search of a new Fish Fry to review.

We headed south on 315 to Grove City, the home of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. We made it there by 5:15,quite a feat as anyone who has traveled south on 315 at that time of day may be able to tell you. There was already a line to the door in the school cafeteria.

The Knights of Columbus offer an all-you-can-eat Fish Fry with both fried and baked fish options. They also offer a fish sandwich or cheese pizza. The Fish dinner is $8.00 and comes with two side dish options. Dinners also include a beverage either canned soda, ice tea or lemon aid.

The dinner price for Seniors ( 60+) is $6.00 and kids 12 and under are $3.00. Unlike some fish fries we have visited in the past there is no Family price but I think the fish being all-you-can-eat makes up for that, especially with two teenagers at my house.

Each of us chose fried fish and were given two fish triangles. The two adults chose baked potatoes and cole slaw as our side dishes, Fe chose potato salad and green beans, Z chose macaroni and cheese and green beans. If you are still hungry after you eat your first two fish they come around offering seconds.

I’m not usually a fan of triangle shaped fish but this was surprisingly good and very importantly hot. The baked potatoes were wrapped in foil and a nice size and the slaw was delicious. The kids both said the green beans were very good as well. Fe said the potato salad was ok and the macaroni and cheese was good if you like the “Kraft” style.

We were a bit surprised to find that they didn’t serve French fries, something we would recommend for any fish fry. I also thought it was a bit odd that they served the butter, sour cream and tartar sauce in vats with ladles for you to top your potato and fish. Buttering a potato with a ladle is a challenge, and it was kind of messy. I would have rather had individual servings or maybe bowls on the tables.

Dinner is served in the school cafeteria. Seating for most of us was bench style which means wriggling yourself onto those folding lunch tables you remember from childhood. They did have more conventional seating, but most all of this was marked for “Seniors Only."
Since they were very busy we had to wedge ourselves into a spot for at a kid sized table and were fortunate to sit next to the Principal of the school and her family. Her husband was a source of all kinds of information and we learned that the Knights of Columbus of this Parish do all kinds of things for the local church with their fund raising including scholarships for kids from O.L.O.P.H. to go to Bishop Reedy High School.

An added bonus was the running a 50/50 raffle. Thom won and the pot nearly paid for dinner. We thought about going down the hall to the Bingo night to see if we could keep up the winning but in the end we passed.

If you are in the Grove City area on Friday evenings during Lent, we would recommend stopping in to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. And if you are looking for something to do after dinner, check out the Bingo down the hall.

Next week: New Albany.