I’ll be at the Minnesota Monthly Food and Wine Show all weekend enjoying fine, fine wines and elite treats—come! But when I’m done I will turn my full attention to Fish Fry Season, which we’re in the middle of. (Fish Fry season kicks off because of Lent; Easter Sunday this year is April 8, and my guesstimate is that Fish Fry season ends sometime between Easter and the Minnesota Fishing Opener, May 12.)
I can’t reliably get my act together to get to the pop-up church ones (though St. Albert’s is the one to beat), so I prefer restaurant options. My current top three? They’re all new:
The Oceanaire recently moved from their run-down old digs in the Hyatt to prime real estate on the corner of 6th street and Nicollet Mall, and on my visits so far it’s been the fish and chips (and the fresh oysters) that stand out as most craveable. Cod crisp as can be, so fresh you can practically hear the ocean slapping the side of the table, and only five bucks during happy hour. 50 S. 6th St., Mpls., 612-333-2277; theoceanaire.com
Is walleye your favorite? Then get yourself to the new walleye king of Northeast, Eli’s East, where they’re serving a tempura-battered walleye that’s supremely delicate, and downright yummy. Tip: The burgers are pretty fantastic too, and the chicken coq au vin might be the best $12 chicken stew in the state. Actually, I’m sort of loving this little unpretentious supper club. Check it out! 815 East Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-331-0031; elisfoodandcocktails.com
The Anchor Fish & Chips
And the Anchor, the king, the queen, and the full royal court of the local fish and chips scene. Pacific, sustainable cod fillets as long as opera gloves, crisp as potato chips, British as all get out. If you haven’t had the fish and chips here, you are not a true fish and chips lover. And: Do you know I went a couple weeks ago and got in—no wait? I can’t guarantee it will happen again to anyone else, but it happened to me, so I’m here to say it in public, cross my heart and hope to die, it happened. And it was good. 302 13th Ave. Northeast, Mpls., 612-676-1300; theanchorfishandchips.com
What, your fish fry desire is not yet sated? Rick Nelson has a good round-up—including this surprise: he’s really liking Cafeteria, which does all-you-can-eat.
Finally, Kathie Jenkins at the Pioneer Press put together a great map of East Metro fish-fries, for those in a completist mood.
Eat up! Next thing you know it will be the fishing opener, which, dare I remind you, brings open water and sunscreen season. Yippee!