One of the things I miss most about living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is the Friday fish fry. In Milwaukee, it’s not just a tradition during Lent, it’s a year-long celebration of fried fish. For whatever reason, here in the Twin Cities, we have some great year-round fish and chips menu items, and some nice Friday specials, but for the most part it’s a tradition during the 40 days before Easter. Well it’s Lent, and it’s fish fry season, and here are some of my favorites:
Red Stag Supperclub (Minneapolis): The smelt fries ($9) do it for me here: crispy, fishy, bites of deliciousness with a sweet onion tartar sauce. But you can do cod, walleye, or perch every Friday at the Stag.
Henry’s Cafe (Maple Grove): Henry’s is normally just a breakfast and lunch place, but during Lent they’re open until 8 p.m. on Fridays, serving an all-you-can-eat beer-battered pollack special. I wrote about this for MNMO in 2011—it’s a small place, run by Henry himself, but the fish is flaky and delicious. I highly recommend it.
Gluek’s (Minneapolis): Get a boot of beer, and an all-you-can-eat beer-battered cod situation for just $14. I like how Gluek’s serves the fish with hush puppies and French fries, because that’s the volume of fried items I deserve while abstaining from meat to prove what a good Catholic I am.
Anchor Fish & Chips (Northeast Minneapolis): I’m not sure if you want to brave the crowds on Friday nights, but if you can transfer your fish desires to a different day of the week, Anchor is one of my top choices in the Twin Cities for fried fish. Wild Alaskan cod with beautiful hand-cut chips for $11. Why haven’t they opened a second location yet?
Half Time Rec’s Paddy Shack (St. Paul): I adore this fish and chips dish: three pieces of cod, hand-dipped, and beer-battered. $13 is a bargain for the huge serving of fish: firm, crispy batter that somehow isn’t grossly oily. Delicious fish.
The Little Oven (St. Paul): The staff is SO incredibly nice at The Little Oven, and man, they serve incredibly large portions. They have a huge menu of lenten specials, but the hand-dipped beer battered cod is what you want. $12 for a three-piece dinner (it’s enough) but you can get an extra piece for a buck, or go all-you-can-eat for $15. Comes with soup or salad, potato choice, vegetable, and popovers!
Groveland Tap (St. Paul): Every Friday you can get an all-you-can-eat fish fry for less than $12. Sister restaurant The Freehouse batters their cod and chips in their number 1 beer—it’s quite good, too.
Red Cow (Multiple locations): $12.50 for beer-battered fish along with Red Cow’s great fries, upgrade to all-you-can-eat for $15.50.
Brau Brothers Brewing Tap Room (Marshall, MN): Tip from @njschwarz: All-you-can eat fish fry: it’s cod battered in Brau Brothers Beer. Hand-cut fries, drink some little Ring Neck Nut Braun Ale, and enjoy for just $11.
Guardian Angels Church (Oakdale): March 10, 24, April 7: Tip from @fleetsara: Fried or baked fish with red potatoes, mac & cheese, green beans—made by the church men’s club, trained by the chef from Lake Elmo Inn. $13, kids 5 and under are free.
BONUS SANDWICH SELECTIONS:
Eastside (Minneapolis): Lunch only, McDonald’s-inspired filet-o-fish sandwich: it’s walleye with American cheese and shredded iceberg lettuce, and it’s excellent.
Be’Wiched Deli (Minneapolis): The tuna confit sandwich is still my go-to: perfectly rare tuna served with a black olive spread and preserved lemon. Acidic, umami, mmmmmm.