Wednesday, March 28, 2012

St. Jude and This Week's Destination

Last Friday, we traveled to St. Jude for a taste of a fish fry we had not yet experienced.

Jude's was a different vibe than some of the events we've been to this year. It was pretty laid back, not a lot of activity. It wasn't terribly busy which meant no waiting in line, and an easy job of finding a seat. We came at 6:00 and it felt like we were the tail end of the night, so this is certainly an event for those who prefer to eat earlier.

The food was okay, not our favorite, but we've been to some heavy hitters so far. The fried fish was pretty good, the baked was a tad too salty for our tastes. The sides were pretty standard, coleslaw, rolls and french fries. No baked potato, but I was happy to see mac and cheese on the menu. The deserts were good and there were plenty available. We had carrot cake, my favorite. The Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA we brought was a little strong compared to the food. (That's lemonade in the photo btw) One good feature of this event that it is all-you-can-eat buffet style, which we haven't seen too much of this year.

Overall, we met some really nice people, and had a good time. We likely will not be visiting Judes again, although it would be good for anyone who wants a laid-back, easy Friday dinner.

This Friday we'll be going to an old favorite and a classic, St. James. We hope you'll join us.


St. Jude Catholic Church
1120 Four Mile Road NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525

Arrival time: 6pm
Wait: None
Parking: Large parking lot out front, very easy and close
Cost: $8.50 Adults, $7.50 Seniors (62 and older), Kids (ages 6-12) $4.00, Family plan $23.00
Take-out: Available
Tables: Round

Thursday, March 22, 2012

This week's destination

My apologies for the late posts this week. Tomorrow evening you'll find us at St. Jude Catholic Church. We hope to see you there, on one of the last Fridays this Lenten season.

St. Jude Catholic Church
1120 Four Mile Road NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525

Time: 4:30pm – 6:300pm
Dinner Options: All you can eat dinner featuring, fried and baked fish, macaroni and cheese, french fries, coleslaw, dinner rolls, beverage, and dessert.
Price: $8.50 Adults, $7.50 Seniors (62 and older), Kids (ages 6-12) $4.00, Family plan $23.00

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

St. John Vianney: Baked Goodness

Last Friday, we hopped on 131 to check out the Fish Fry at St. John Vianney Catholic Church. It was well worth the trip to see what the church website calls "the best fish fry in town."
Now, "the best" is quite a statement, but we'll admit, it was pretty good. The first thing to notice while waiting in line was the sound coming from the SJV Village Hall, this place was filled with energy. Busy volunteers buzzed around the room serving fish, refilling cups, and keeping diners happy. Big fans were blowing fresh air into the hot room, adding to the excitement.

In no time we had fish on our plates and were sitting down. SVJ runs an efficient operation, keeping trays clean and available,utensils clearly labeled, and fish ready to serve. The most charming thing about the event was the student volunteers. Young Comets politely made themselves available for our every need, cleaning up tables, refilling refreshments, and serving ice cream (yeah, they have ice cream).

The food didn't disappoint either. SJV offers Fried Pollack and Baked Cod. The Pollack was good, crispy and firm, but the baked fish was the star. This is the best baked fish we've had this season. The seasoning was a great compliment to the Cod, and they bake it with a lemon slice on each piece. This is attention to detail that we appreciate. The fries and baked potato were equally good, and the roll was soft. The coleslaw was heavy on the horseradish, which turned me off, but others in the group really enjoyed it.

To celebrate St. Patrick's day, we brought some Guinness to accompany the meal, which surprisingly wasn't a bad pairing. All in all John Vianney is a solid fish fry, and one I'd recommend to any baked cod fans out there.

St. John Vianney
4101 Clyde Park SW
Wyoming MI 49509

Arrival time: 6pm
Wait: 10 minutes
Parking: Large parking lot out front
Cost: $8 adults, $7 seniors, $4 kids 12 and under
Take-out: Available
Tables: Long cafeteria-style
Service: Extraordinary!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This week's destination

Join us this Friday, March 16 for the St. John Vianney Athletic Boosters Friday Night Fish Fry at the SJV Village Hall. Details below.

St. John Vianney
4101 Clyde Park SW
Wyoming MI 49509

Time: 4:30pm – 7:00pm
Dinner Options:

All you can eat:
• Fried Pollack
• Baked Icelandic Cod
• Baked or French Fried Potatoes
• Cole Slaw
• Roll
• Drink
• Ice Cream for dessert.
• Mac-n-Cheese is also available.
Price: $8 adults, $7 seniors, $4 kids 12 and under

Take-out is available

All proceeds benefit the SJV Athletic Sports teams. The money generated through Friday Night Fish Fry is used to maintain the playing fields, purchase uniforms, pay all league fees and officiating fees, tournament fees and other associated costs.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Blessed Sacrament: A new favorite

After last week's experience, we needed a fish fry to restore our faith in Friday fish frys, and Blessed Sacrament blew us away!

Visiting Blessed Sacrament was a first for us, so we didn't know what to expect. It was a little confusing at first what to do, so some signage in the hallway would be helpful. After we paid, and had our meal tickets in hand, we stood in line for a short wait for food. The wait was made even more pleasant with acoustic guitar to listen to, and some fun student projects hung up on the walls.

We handed our tickets through the window to the open kitchen (which was very clean) and headed into the Family Center to pick up our condiments and beverages. Unfortunately for our non-fish-eating companion, the kitchen ran out of pasta sauce just as we stepped up. Not a bad sign if they had more people to serve than expected. The condiments were abundant, with the exception of malt vinegar, which would be a great thing to consider adding.

The food was pleasantly better than we expected, to be honest, we were raving. The Icelandic Cod was firm and flavorful. The baked fish was savory without being over seasoned. The fried fish was delicious, with a crispy brown batter that was crunchy and not overpowering. I think it was the sides that blew us away. The french fries with skins on the end were crispy outside and soft inside. The baked potato was soft and creamy. The applesauce was sweet with a hint of cinnamon. The coleslaw was delicious, some of the best I've had. I don't think I can give an accurate review of the pasta dinner, since we didn't have it as it was intended, but with salad and a breadstick, it's a great alternative to fish.

This fish fry is not all-you-can-eat, but the portions were large, and we were all satisfied at the end of the meal. With desert to top it off, and a Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA (a strong favorite of ours) to wash it down, Blessed Sacrament is a top contender for our favorite fish fry this year. If you have time to make it here before lent is over, I highly recommend it. This meal rivals almost any fish and chips dinner I've had in a restaurant. Kudos.

Blessed Sacrament Parish
2275 Diamond Avenue, NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505

Arrival time:
Wait: 10 minutes
Large parking lot right in from of entrance
Cost: adult fish $8.00; adult pasta $6.00; children’s dinner (ages 4-12) $4.00; 3 and under are free
Take-out: Available
Tables: Long cafeteria-style

Thursday, March 8, 2012

This week's destination

This Friday, March 9, you will find us at Blessed Sacrament Parish for a dinner of Icelandic Cod. See you at 6:00. More details below.

Blessed Sacrament Parish

2275 Diamond Avenue, NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505

Time: Friday evenings 4:45 - 7:00pm
Dinner Options:
Deluxe Icelandic cod dinners (baked or fried): French fries or baked potato, Cole slaw or applesauce, Fresh roll, and cold drink (coffee & ice water are always available)
Pasta dinner With a wonderful meatless tomato or butter sauce Salad and breadstick
Price: adult fish $8.00; adult pasta $6.00; children’s dinner (ages 4-12) $4.00; 3 and under are free

Take out is available
Dessert table donations will benefit our parish

Monday, March 5, 2012

West Catholic: The beer was better than the meal.

If you're fishing for a good Friday night Lenten dinner in Grand Rapids, cast your line somewhere other than West Catholic High School. As lovers of all things fish and fried, we're not normally inclined to turn our noses up at a fish and chips dinner, but this one was really a disappointment.

The wait for food was pretty short, due to their 2 line buffet system, and we were excited because this one looked good on paper. The first disappointment was finding out that West Catholic does not offer baked Lake Perch, only fried. They do offer baked potatoes or fries, homemade coleslaw, rolls, deserts, and cheese pizza for non-fish-eaters.

The baked potato was good, but the fries were a bland soggy mess. Store-bought dinner rolls are the same no matter where you go, and the coleslaw was fine. The fish itself was firm and had a good texture, but was completely ruined by a tasteless batter. All in all the entire meal was bland and unexciting. And at $9 a plate, with no seconds (this is not an all-you-can eat fish fry, not that we would have wanted any more) this was an overpriced sad excuse for a Grand Rapids fish fry. Most of the people at out table didn't even finish their dinner, and even though we had a high stack of condiment wrappers (West Catholic only offers prepackaged condiments, a wasteful practice) we were less than satisfied.

We brought Brewery Vivant Solitude Abby Style Ale to accompany the meal, so at least we had something good to enjoy. I am glad we were able to support the school, but next time I'll just write a donation check and go eat somewhere else.


West Catholic High School
1801 Bristol Ave. NW,
Grand Rapids, MI 49504 Time: 4:30-7:30 PM
The dinners include:
Lake Perch, home-made coleslaw, bread, dessert and beverage. Cheese pizza available.
Adult Meal $9; Seniors & students $7' Children $5; Children 5 and under are free.
Wait: 5-10 Minutes
Parking: Large parking lot
Take-out: Available
Tables: Long cafeteria style

Held in the cafeteria

Proceeds benefit West Catholic Athletic Boosters