Fish Fry: Immaculate Conception Parish
Jake Oresick, fish fry guy, is a native ‘Burgher and published poet (check it!). Jake is fish frying it up and letting us know what is good.
Fish fry season is the best thing about Catholicism — just ahead of gratuitous Latin and sexual hangups. This Lenten season, I’ve braved icy roads, punctilious church ladies, and a pending Lipitor shortage in search of battered cod. But it’s not just about fish: pierogies, haluski, and coleslaw are often in the mix. Sometimes there’s pizza! It’s a nine-dollar culinary free-for-all, because, in contrast to the rest of Catholicism, there are no rules. It’s like Caligula had a delicious potluck . . . and no one was murdered.
On Ash Wednesday, I visited Immaculate Conception Parish (hereinafter “IC”) in historic downtown Washington (not Washington, DC, but “The Real Washington”). It was only a short wait to be served, even at lunchtime on opening day, but the atmosphere was festive. Indeed, IC attracted a “who’s who” of Washington — marked by politicians, judges, prominent attorneys, and business leaders — and deals were going down. The scene was a delectable hybrid of the G8 summit and my cousin’s First Confirmation luncheon.
A good fish fry is like an M. Night Shyamalan movie: expect to be surprised. This week’s ghost was the New England clam chowder: a hot salty plot twist with generous chunks of clam and potato. Absolutely get the clam chowder. The fish sandwich was good and filling, and the macaroni and cheese was rull creamy. I also had the fried shrimp, which were individually plump, though not a generous helping.
Then I had pierogies.
Then I slept until right now.
Where: 119 W. Chestnut Street, Washington, PA 15301
When: Fridays of Lent, including Good Friday
Times: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Menu: baked or fried fish dinner, $7.25; shrimp dinner, $9; fish sandwich, $5.50; pierogies, $3.25; cabbage and noodles, $3.25; pizza, $3.50. Also, salads, french fries, and macaroni and cheese.