Thursday, February 21, 2013

St Stephens the Martyr

Hello friends! Well, Lent managed to sneak up on us again this year. Admittedly it is on the early side. When Ash Wednesday falls before Valentine’s day it throws me for a bit of a loop. At least I am not like some people in my family who gave up sweets for Lent and suffered through the Holiday of Love because of it.

It is of course time for our annual exploration of Fish Fries. Last Friday was the first night for our venture. I want to share a few things with you first though.

One: I get asked all the time so here it is… Our favorite Fish Fry is St. Michael’s in Worthington. In our humble opinion it is hands down the best food for the price and the fish is the best in the city. Runner up is Our Lady of Victory in Marble Cliff with Perch for their fish.

There are other churches that do a good job and at least two that bill themselves as the best in the city. They are good but not in our opinion the best. There is only one that I would not go back to but I won’t put that in writing. If you know me in real life you are welcome to ask and I will tell you.

Two: Spring break falls right in the middle of Lent for our family this year. We are splitting it up, but there may be at least one week where we have no one in town to review. Unless we have a volunteer backup you will probably have to miss a week.

Three: We have visited most of the Catholic Churches within the beltway of Columbus. We are not giving up on them, but as with our review of the Shamrock Golf Course last year, we thought this year we might venture to some alternate locations as part of the mix.

So here is this week’s review:

As mentioned, we have visited most of the options from the city and have started to venture further afield. This week we went far out of our usual territory to the west side of Columbus at St. Stephen the Martyr at 4131 Clime Rd.

For an added challenge there were accidents on Columbus’s freeways last Friday night so we programmed our GPS unit to take side roads and crossed our fingers we would make it while the fish was still hot. It was a twilight tour of the city.

Background: St Stephen was martyred for speaking the truth about God. He was put on trial by Jewish scholars. During his trial (I paraphrase here) he looked up in the sky and said, “Look! I see god.” Everyone turned and saw nothing and they became even more enraged, hauling him out and stoning him to death on the spot. For this reason he is the patron saint of Headache sufferers and stonemasons. He also lends a hand to casket makers and horses if horses are inclined to pray to him. 

Now, St. Stephen’s, the local church, is a multi-cultural church with a mix of Hispanic and Caucasian. This added some interesting twists. The menu was presented in both Spanish and English, there was hot sauce for the fish (a first), and two lines for ordering, one English and one Spanish.

The two lines brought on confusion for us because the older woman in the English line waved us on to the Spanish line. We responded to the Spanish order inquiry with blank stares. It took us a moment or two to figure out that she assumed my dark skinned, dark haired family was Hispanic. I guess I was the odd one out.

Once we cleared that up we were able to place our order in English. They fill out a form; you pay and find a table. The servers then take your order form while you collect your drinks and dessert. Everything was quick and efficient and they were all very friendly.

We all ordered fried fish which came in small pieces and was clearly made in house. F and I had fries and slaw. Z had green beans and mac and cheese and T had a baked potato and slaw. We all agreed that the fish was tasty and liked the batter. It was very crispy and very hot. Later they came through with seconds and we tried the baked fish. We could not give that a good review. It was rather bland and the taste, one dimensional.

T said his baked potato was good but maybe a bit overdone, probably because we were there at the end. F and I thought the fries were about average, not the best but we have had a lot worse. We all thought the slaw was great, nice and creamy and tangy. And everyone tried Z’s green beans and thought they were good though it took us a bit of time to identify the flavor the used for seasoning, we think lots of onion but don’t hold us to it. Finally the mac and cheese was only average.

Drinks and dessert were included in the price and the offerings were water and canned soda to drink and three kinds of sheet cake for dessert. Only F and I had desert, as the others had given up sweets. We thought the cake itself was good, but I wasn’t sold on my frosting. It was probably store bought and I’m pretty picky about frosting.

The prices are $9.00 for adults, $8.00 for seniors and $4.50 for kids under 12. The menu is all you can eat. If you want more, just ask.

Overall, a good fish fry and while I wouldn’t travel out of my way to eat there, I would recommend it if you are in the area.

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