Just because we’re into the being “the new North” doesn’t mean we don’t have a deep love of some throwback institutions like a rockin’ Lenten fish fry—and don’t you dare say ironic, we’re legit-ly into them. And to get you into them, too, Liz B. is our Fish Fry Finder for this season. #blessed! She’s going to help you explore some of the delicious fish + sides + desserts + maybe even beer options that the Twin Cities has to offer.

Here we go folks, the real deal, church basement fish fry. Step right down to the garden level multipurpose room and buy your ticket. Take your ticket to the somewhat intimidatingly long line and scope out the scene. The room is mostly packed at 6:10 PM since this is prime fish fry time.

As you reach the front of the line, buckle up because you’re about to go for a ride. Kind of like Disneyland but with Jesus instead of Mickey. You’ll exchange your ticket for a new, different ticket. This new ticket identifies what fish plate you select: fried, baked, or taco. At the ticket table there are saran-wrapped examples of the plates. Oh, there’s a separate ticket for mac and cheese, grab one if you are feeling dangerous. Take your ticket to the kitchen window where the action really heats up. Some confusion may occur here but hold tight, fish fry warrior. The prize is nigh. If you went for fish taco, they’ll ask if you want one or two. Two, duh. Five? Nah, probably not. Grab your plate, or one that looks like what you want, and scramble over to the sauce table. Hot and mild salsa, pico, coleslaw, and tartar sauce are in full supply. Grab a dinner roll on your way to the dessert table! Hope you like Oreos and grocery store chocolate chip cookies. Finally, drinks! The bar is managed by an all-ages volunteer team who hands out all varieties of fruit Crush, diet and regular Coke, milk, and beer – Grain Belt or Michelob Golden Light. All for whatever your generous heart wishes to donate. Wow!

Go squeeze in at the end of a table with a few empty chairs and dig in. The fried fish is pollack and it is pretty darn good. Crispy, large portion. The sides with the fried plate are ample: red potatoes boiled and quartered (plain, simple), steamed mixed veggies (undercooked but snappy if you’re into that), yellow rice. Same sides for the baked, I think. No one in our group got baked. Heh. The stars of the show are the tacos. The fish in the taco is fried tilapia, and is snazzy with some pico and shredded cabbage. Hope you took advantage of the mild or hot salsa, because they definitely need the assist. Those tacos unfortunately don’t automatically come with any sides though. Load up on the coleslaw and Oreos, I guess. Skip the mac and cheese though, it has a mealy texture.

Technically I’m unsure if this is a true AYCE. We received mixed signals on this matter. I’d recommend coming at 6:45, there appeared to be plenty of food and no line left, plus ample open seating.

Check out the American Legion next door after you’ve finished. There’s a $10.95 pitcher of Coors Light with your name on it, and a rad cover band that might play White Rabbit if you’re groovy enough.

Scorecard:   Taste: 6.5   Atmosphere: 5   Religiosity: 6.9

March 9th and March 23rd, 5 PM to 7:00-7:30ish
$10 for a plate of fried, baked, or fish tacos plus sides and cookies.
St. Gabriel, 6 Interlachen Rd, Hopkins, MN 55343 http://stgabrielhopkins.org/worship/lent

Also consider:
Nativity of Our Lord 1900 Wellesley Ave, STPL
Holy Cross at Kolbe Hall, 1621 University Ave. NE, MPLS