Fish Frydays 2011 #5: Cathedral Basilica

Posted: April 12, 2011 in Fish Frydays, STL: Central West End
Tags: , ,


Another week of Lenten Fish Frys has come and gone, and with it, another Friday morning where I was choosing where we were going. After last week’s veto, I’ve gotten a bit off of my schedule, and I also didn’t know there was another week of Lent that I wasn’t expecting…oh well…so it goes.

After a morning spent scrambling and scrambling, we ended up deciding on the Basilica in the Central West End. I’d read a review or two on the place, and based on that, I wasn’t terribly excited about going there for their fish, but my family was exciting about possibly seeing the collection of Mosaic Art.

I was also a bit curious to see how this church would do a fish fry. Normally we go to Joe Average church and get some fish, sometimes tasty, sometimes not, but this is the big dog of all the St. Louis Catholic Churches…

The dome.

When we arrived, we could figure out precisely where to head to get our fish, but a cadre of nice parishioners told us where to find it. In the school, and turn right down the steps and into the cafeteria. We arrived at our usual 5:45pm and went right into the line. I was pleased to see that we were pretty close to the head of the line and we paid for our meals ($8 for a fish plate and $5 for a spaghetti plate.) and waited patiently.

They were offering catfish, fried and baked cod, and shrimp. My wife, of course, got a spaghetti dinner as she hates fish. After paying, we waited about five minutes or so before we were ushered into the kitchen where they were cooking the fish. We handed them our ticket and I was told that it would be a few minutes before they would have my fish ready. It seems as though most of the fish they serve ends up being cooked to order. This definitely takes out any semblance of efficiency, but at least I knew my fish was going to be hot.

The cafeteria.

After waiting a few minutes to get my freshly cooked (and freshly breaded) catfish, I was then given a choice of sides. This is where we started to get a little down on the scale of things. They only had three sides: green beans, slaw, and spaghetti. I chose green beans and slaw. Any time I go to a fish fry without french fries, I’m disappointed.

So we now stake out a table and get everyone situated. I then head off to acquire utensils for my fish. When I arrive at the table I see there were none left, but a volunteer was coming back with more. I got a fork, but no knife,


and after my experience with overcooked catfish at St. James, I wanted a knife. I then set about looking for condiments. They didn’t have any lemons or lemon juice, but I did find hot sauce.  On to the beer stand…

Now that I’ve got my food, my condiments, and my fork, it’s time to get my beverage. I have to have a beer at every fish fry, it’s part of it. So, my wife asks for a soda and I head to the beer stand…again…it’s Bud, Bud Light and Bud Select in cans and they’re $2. I opted for the Budweiser.

Fried catfish.

So, I’ve sat down with my fish and it’s still piping hot. I think this might have been the first time that I received hot fish. I put hot sauce all over the first fillet and went to town eating it. Did I mention that I received two nicely sized patties for my $8 price?

Hot sauced.

Well, this fish was just spectacular. The entire time I’m eating this, I was wondering if this was better than St. Agatha’s fish…I really couldn’t decide whether it was or not, but it definitely was wonderful fish. The hot sauce they had was just a simple cayenne and vinegar sauce, but it perfectly complimented the fried catfish. The green beans and slaw were ok, but nothing to write home about. This was where I was really beginning to miss french fries though.


Hush puppies.

A big hit  at our table were their hush puppies. My wife and in-laws love hush puppies and here they were an added side dish…3 for a dollar. So we ended up with this little plate of them in the middle.

After having their fish myself, I have to say they have greatly improved since the reviews of a couple years back and this is a fish fry that everybody must hit.


  1. Danielle says:

    Hmm. I might have to try this one out. Looks pretty standard (although, that is a LOT of fish!) but I feel like eating at the basicalla is an experience in itself. Do you know if they are open on Good Friday? I’ve still got Pius on my list of places to go this season, and am tempted to spend ANOTHER week at St. Agatha’s or St. Gabe’s because I liked them so much!

    Here’s my most recent fish fryday update:

    • The 13 Blog says:

      Well, the food is in the school next to the Basilica, but while we were there, you could go in and check out the Basilica itself…which just that is worth the trip honestly! The Fish was great, as I gushed, and the sides were ok and the beer was terrible…lol.

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