WHERE: St. John Bosco Catholic Church, 12934 Marine Ave.

WHEN: Fridays during Lent, 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

HOW MUCH: Dinners $10 – 10.50, include entrée, side, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage From the faux reviews on the parish website (which declares this fish fry has been voted “overwhelmingly the best choice as fish fry in the area” by the esteemed Parish Fish Fry Weekly) to the leprechaun-bedecked teenager driving a golf cart shuttle through the parking lot, the St. John Bosco Catholic Church fish fry in Creve Coeur promises diners a rolling good time.

THE ‘REEL’ DEAL: Entrée choices are the standard fare, with your choice of Icelandic cod or Gulf Coast shrimp. The shrimp is pleasing—it’s a relief to find it lacked the typical bonus flavor of freezer bite that can sometimes be found in Midwest shrimp dishes. The shrimp batter—which was made in-house—is crisp and well-flavored. The cod breading is thin and lacked the flavor that the shrimp contained. One point in the cod’s favor was that the pieces actually resembled a fish filet shape, a welcome departure from the amorphous beerbattered fish nuggets that find their way onto fish & chip platters at any common brewpub. Either way, after a dip in some malt vinegar, everything tastes as it should.

Two sides, including fries and spaghetti, are included, as well as coleslaw and apple sauce. Desserts, described as ‘outrageous’ on the website, are the full church spread with slices of homemade cakes, pies and other treats. There’s just something about a healthy array of homemade desserts—we wanted to grab one of everything! We highly recommend the pineapple upside-down cake, if you’re fortunate enough to have it as a menu choice when you attend.

The fish fry is all hands on deck, and there seems to be no shortage of volunteers in this parish. There was no wait at the door when we arrived, the lines moved quickly and there was a good-humored priest making his rounds between raffle announcements to make sure everyone was enjoying their meals. Hosted by the St. John Bosco Men’s Club, the event is cash-or-check only. Kids’ meals and XL meals are available, and both the cod and shrimp are available for bulk orders by the pound. St. John Bosco also offers takeout meals. We probably wouldn’t go so far as to echo the Midwest Culinary Monthly’s assessment that this fish fry “deserves a place in heaven as surely as its namesake did,” but we can say that it’s a fun, upbeat and filling event if you happen to be in the Creve Coeur area.

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