#FFFCincy Rating:
1 of 5 fishies

Well, it was bound to happen. After three years of fish fries, I'm handing out my first 1 out of 5 fishies rating. Surprisingly, it was awarded to a fry I had been looking forward to trying since last season: St. Catherine of Siena in Fort Thomas.

We were drawn to the church with their "Fish Frys of the World" theme, where each week featured an international Lenten dish. Since it was St. Patrick's weekend, Irish food was on the menu: salmon croquettes and Izzy's potato pancakes.

Arriving at the church, it was pretty obvious St. Catherine does not have many non-parishoners visiting their fish fries. There was minimal signage directing guests which door to go in; we were wandering around the adjoining school when the fry was in the church. Once we found the correct door, we encountered our next challenge: standing in line.

Two queues wrapped around half of the cafeteria: one for getting your menu card and paying, the other for receiving your food.  This process was dreadfully slow and took about 25 minutes to get through. While we were queuing, I encountered a lack of manners from a few parishioners. I won't go into detail, but at other fish fries we have always been greeted warmly as newcomers and unfamiliar faces. Sadly, a handful of people made our first impression of St. Catherine to be the Fort Thomas stereotype of "hilltop Cake Eaters."

Once we finally entered the food line, which resembled a school cafeteria, one of the servers took our order slip and completely ignored what had been marked. We walked down the line while each food station asked us what we wanted. What was the point of standing in the first long line to fill out a menu?

As the food was dished out, I noticed something peculiar about the salmon croquette: it was a flat triangle. Traditionally a round fried ball that resembles a hush puppy, St. Catherine's salmon croquettes looked more like a squished hash brown. I could barely taste the fish and what I did taste was disgusting. Izzy's potato pancake was cold and chewy; nothing like the delicious golden side dish from the restaurant. Even worse: the mac n' cheese was a warmed up Stouffers dish. Was anything here homemade or did folks just make a run to the Newport Kroger beforehand?

What remained on my plate was the coleslaw, a chocolate chip cookie, and two hush puppies. These were decent; not fabulous, but certainly a lot better than the rest of the meal. Some of our #FFFCincy members opted for the fried cod dinners, which fared better than my croquettes. Considering the portion sizes for a $7 meal, particularly the "croquettes", and then charging an additional $2 for a tablespoon-sized scoop of Stouffers mac n' cheese; this is the first fish fry I've left hungry and feeling like I didn't get my dollar's worth.

The weekly special: Izzy's potato pancake, coleslaw, salmon "croquette", Stouffers mac n' cheese, hush puppies, wine chalice and cookie

Fried cod on rye with applesauce, Stouffers mac n'cheese, and hush puppies

Much needed after queuing for food, we ventured to the alcohol booth, which was serving Guinness, Budweiser, and Corona as well as miniature chalices of wine. While offering a more diverse selection of booze compared to other fish fries, it still wasn't enough to pull St. Catherine's out of the triangular culinary hole.

Wine chalice with lid

With long wait times, small portion sizes, inedible specialty meals, and a general unfriendliness to newcomers, you can cross St. Catherine of Siena off your must-try fish fry list.

St. Catherine of Siena
1803 N. Fort Thomas Ave., Fort Thomas, KY  41075
Fish fry through Lent: 4:00pm-7:00pm

Beer and wine available.
Cash only.

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