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Fish Type: Cod (AYCE)     Price: $10.00

Overall, I would barely recommend this Fish Fry.

Fish Score: Good
Potato Score: Good
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Fair
Miscellaneous Score: Excellent

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Comment: We’d be remiss if we didn’t go to at least one church-sponsored Fish Fry during Lent. Actually, maybe remiss isn’t the right term… perhaps, total losers, a bunch of chumps, or hardcore slackers, would more adequately capture how bad it would indeed be if we did miss out on the Lenten tradition. I mean, how could we call ourselves Fish Fry fans? We really couldn’t…

As far as we know St. Maria Goletti is the new kid on the block when it comes to Fish Frys, and with growing comes pains. That’s not to say that this Fish Fry was a pain, to the contrary it was quite enjoyable, but there were some kinks that made the journey less than smooth.

Luckily for us I had the foresight to arrive early, and early we were. At 5pm the line was short and we were able to quickly grab a drink at the makeshift bar, and scurry right to the front of it. We had a table after a brief wait and joined a group of six strangers whose meals were already in progress… *kink*

We slipped in quietly, and eventually one of the “waitresses” (Pat) came over and took our orders. It was kind of a kludge ordering system *kink* but we basically had choice of baked or fried cod, and baked or fried potato. She wrote them down on a huge notecard and ambled towards the kitchen to deliver them. Luckily for the folks at SMG we were here for fried fish because they were already behind on baked and really couldn’t handle any more orders for it. *kink* That fact alone basically sealed their fate for the evening… behind on AYCE baked fish at 5 = unable to ever catch up.

No sooner had our orders went in than our dining companions diners showed up. While we dined on dinner rolls (hamburger buns) *kink* and poorly congealed clam chowder *kink* they dug in to the main course. At least we had something to gnash on, and the beer was fairly cheap, so all was not lost. As I rose to go grab us another round of the celestial suds I couldn’t help but notice the line that we so readily moved to the front of now appeared stagnant and lead far out through the double doors into the church hallway. These people would not be eating for some time… especially if they wanted baked fish. Arriving early is next to godliness.

Around the time our fellow diners were a piece or two in our own platters showed up. The first three pieces of cod were fried to a crisp, and hot, but not scalding. *kink* While the fish was slightly over-fried in areas, it was still flaky and moist for the most part. It had a dark batter which was actually quite flavorful and somewhat surprisingly so as I half expected that burned in the fryer flavor. Before we finished we managed to hail down Pat for round two – receiving two more pieces about 5 minutes later. This round was similar, but a little crispier and a little less moist even. *kink*

As you might expect, the French fries were the standard Julienne-cut freezer to fryer ones they serve with the kid’s school lunches. The baked potatoes were also standard, and were reported by some of our fellow diners to be undercooked.*kink*

The good Lord loves his mayo so you know his followers are going to do everything they can to please him with their tartar and coleslaw offerings. The SMG sauce was thick and relishy, without being overbearing. It shed its light on all it touched handling the singed fish with grace. The creamy coleslaw boasted some red cabbage and other colorful items, but while it pleased the eye the palate was indifferent.

When all was said and done with the fish we helped ourselves to some homemade desserts since we were close to the serving table and the kids pushing the carts around seemed unreliable. The apple pie I chose was great, although it looked like you couldn’t go wrong with any of the cookies or cakes (some store bought, some homemade).

There really was a lot to like about this Fish Fry: the volunteer wait staff was great, the dining room was beautiful, the company was friendly, and the meal was thorough. Unfortunately, there were a few too many kinks for us to fall in love with it. Overall, we still feel okay about recommending this Fish Fry based on this visit, but St. Pete’s well-oiled machine it was not.
5313 Flad Avenue
Madison, WI 53711

(608) 271-7421