Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lenten Project II: Week 1, Part 2

Having finished my first Lenten fish fry dinner for the evening at St. Mary Church in Hudson, I hopped back in my car and headed north on Route 91 to get to my second destination for the evening, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Macedonia. While I had budgeted about ninety minutes of times between the two dinners, between lingering at the first dinner and taking a phone call while I was sitting in the parking lot of the second, 6:30 PM came around much quicker than I thought it would.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church was located at 9080 Shepard Road, Macedonia, OH 44056 and can be reached at 330-468-2194 ext. 38. The church was set back a bit from the road, but fortunately a sign was placed near the street indicating the availability of tonight's fish fry. As I pulled around to the back of the church, I was greeted with an enormous parking lot. After parking and gathering my camera, I approached the rear of the church to discover fairly obvious directions:

Decisions, Decisions
This was similar to Queen of Heaven Church in Uniontown that I visited last year. I suppose this keeps the whole operation more efficient as you won't have people standing around waiting for their to-go food order. Once inside the church, I walked through a roped area to a podium where a woman greeted me warmly and asked if I was here for the dinner. When I responded that I was definitely here to get some fried fish and pierogi, she emphatically responded by praising their pierogi offering. She then handed me off to another gentleman dressed nicely in a suit who selected a half-empty table at which I could sit.

It seemed that the "restaurant" theme was prevalent in tonight's visits as Our Lady had been staffed by the youth of the church. After taking our drink orders, I got down to the business of capturing tonight's menu:

Our Lady of Guadalupe's Dinner Menu Front
Our Lady of Guadalupe's Dinner Menu Back
Once my order had been taken, I was surprised at how quickly my food arrived at the table. First up was my dinner roll for the evening:

Dinner Roll with Margarine
I didn't bother with the margarine, but I did sample the roll and found it ... okay. It wasn't pristinely fresh, but it also wasn't stale either.

Next up was the coleslaw:

While this did have a nice acidity to it, it was clear that this was run-of-the-mill food service coleslaw. Let's just say that my socks have not been knocked off at this point in the meal.

While I was waiting for the main portion of the meal to arrive, the woman seated next to me engaged me in a small bit of conversation after she heard that I had ordered the pierogi dinner. "Oh, the pierogi are very good!" When I asked if they were homemade, she got a slightly pained look on her face and replied, "No, I don't think so."

It was actually cheaper (by about $0.75) to order the pierogi dinner and add a side of fried perch than the other way around. Here was a shot of the Pierogi Dinner with French Fries:

Pierogi Dinner with French Fries
I'm not sure if the menu had a typo on it or not, but the menu said nothing of French Fries. Rest assured, it came with them. Sure enough, a not-so-close examination of the pierogi indicated machine made dumplings (more than likely Mrs. T's or something similar). While the fried onions had been salted (unlike St. Mary Church's version), the poor pierogi had been pan fried to within an inch of their lives. While I do enjoy the textural contrast of a crispy exterior to the creamy interior, these were dried out and hard to chew.

The French Fries were average. The good news was that they weren't greasy, but there were a few fries that were a bit limp.

My side of Fried Perch arrived on its own plate:

Single Piece of Fried Perch
Examining the exterior of the fish, it appeared not to be greasy, the color of the batter was good, and there wasn't an abundance of flaked off batter like I had experienced earlier in the evening. After cutting into it, I found that while it wasn't the juiciest piece of fried fish I had ever eaten, it wasn't bad and certainly a step up from St. Mary's. Here was a shot of the interior of the fillet:

Interior Shot of Fried Perch
The only problem I had with the fish was that it had a slightly fishy smell to it. Not so strong that I would refuse to eat it, but definitely noticeable. The seasoning on the fish was done well.

It was at about this point in the evening that the same gentleman in the suit who had seated me earlier came over and inquired about my copious use of the camera. I make it a policy not to lie about what I am doing when directly asked. I produced a business card, explained that I was a local food blogger and had selected Our Lady of Guadalupe out of the Akron Beacon Journal's listing because they offered both fried fish and pierogi and told him that my review would be going up Sunday morning. Satisfied with that answer, he walked away. I suspect, based on what I've written here, that he probably won't be especially pleased should he actually visit the blog.

All said and done, I took my tab to the table outside of the eating area and ponied up my $8.50. Had I ordered the fried perch dinner and added a side of pierogi, it would've been $9.25. Not a bad price, either way you slice it. The service was quick and efficient and felt a little less assemby-line-ish than my previous dinner tonight.

Here are the current rankings so far from best overall to worst overall as well as an individual grade for each of the major elements on the plate.

1. Our Lady of Guadalupe (Macedonia): Fish, B-; Pierogi, D+; French Fries, C; Coleslaw, C
2. St. Mary Church (Hudson): Fish, D+; Pierogi, C-; French Fries, B


deanna said...

I was looking forward to this review because I live within walking distance of OLG and have never been. Looks like it's not worth trying! How disappointing all these food service pierogi's! I know this is kind of far for you to travel but the Church of the Assumption in Broadview Hts. has homemade pierogi's similar to your winner last year.

Tino said...

@deanna: After last year's Lenten Project, it no longer comes as any surprise at how much fried-from-frozen fish and boiled-from-frozen pierogi are being served at these dinners.

Thanks for the suggestion of the Church of the Assumption. If I don't make it there this year, I may just decide to add it to my roster for next.

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