Tri-State Fish Fry Tour: Does Nativity School's haddock deserve songs of praise?

CINCINNATI - Each week throughout Lent we join contributor Paige Malott as she and her friends track their adventures in their Fish Fry passports. Along the way Paige will rate the offerings on a scale of one to five.

Back to school

Our week three Friday Fish Fry was one everyone had been anticipating since last year: Nativity School in Pleasant Ridge. With two terrific reviews from fellow #FFFCincy members and coveted Instagrams of the meals, we knew something special was in store.
  • Do you tweet? Use the hashtag #FFFCincy to follow the Tri-State Fish Fry Tour! 

Located just one block from Montgomery Road and Losantiville Avenue, a major intersection in the neighborhood, some of our group decided to take the METRO*Plus bus to the fry instead of battling rush hour traffic.

We met up at Government Square after work and enjoyed a leisurely and scenic ride along the new route, which features limited stops for a faster journey. The best part: We were dropped off just steps from the front door of Nativity School.

Once inside, we were welcomed with some of the shortest queues in the history of fish fries. We walked right up to order and pay, and had a brief 10-minute wait to get our food. The beer and dessert lines were non-existent. What did end up being gigantic were the portions, the taste, and the value of the meal. There were also enormous round tables that comfortably fit our group of thirteen.

Claiming to have the best hand-breaded haddock in town, Nativity lives up to the hype. Perfectly crisp, evenly seasoned, and stuffed with moist, fluffy fish, the sandwich had me considering getting one more for the road.

Be sure to jazz it up at the condiment table: fresh lemon and generous tartar sauce complimented the taste. Each of the side dishes looked outstanding, so of course, we had to try them all. Praises shall be sung to the mac n’ cheese, a homemade recipe baked full of cheddar goodness and topped with crunchy bread crumbs. The green beans also tasted "from scratch," like they had been simmering in the slow cooker all day. The sweet potato fries were a welcome change from regular fries, as was the coleslaw recipe, which had a tangy sauce garnished with horseradish.

Let’s not forget about the beer

Nativity serves up $3.00 local brews from MadTree Brewing, located around the corner off of Ridge Road. All three canned beverages were a hit around our table: Happy Amber; Lift (a kolsch ale) and Spry (a seasonal pale ale).

Beer, especially craft beer, plays a significant role in how #FFFCincy selects which fish fries to visit. Churches who partner with local businesses care about supporting their community and care about what their guests are eating. Most of the high quality fish fries we have visited also served craft beer.

Over at the dessert table, Nativity eighth graders were hosting a bake sale to raise money for a trip to Chicago. Among the goods were snicker doodle cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and March Madness-themed cupcakes.

I bypassed these traditional sweets for the bourbon pecan pie bar. I wasn’t the only one who fell head-over-heels for this treat; it sold out faster than some of my friends could get their meals.

  • TIP: At Nativity, be sure to snag your desserts before queuing for your entrée.

An added delight to the evening was a Nativity parishioner who serenaded guests with his accordion. The quirky entertainment added to this fish fry’s charm, earning Nativity School 5 out of 5 in our Fish Fry Passport.

  • Nativity School: 5936 Ridge Ave, Cincinnati
  • (513) 458-6767
  • Fish Fry: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. every Friday through Lent
  • Cash only

With so many tasty options, check back every Thursday as I give the fin-side scoop on the seven Tri-State fish fries that got us hooked. What's your can't-miss Tri-State fish fry? 

In considering which venues to visit, the Fish Fry finders look for the following information from a church or organization:

  • Detailed menu with types of fish, list of side dishes and beverages
  • Specialty dishes or themes that make a venue unique
  • Dessert: are there multiple sweets to choose from, like at a bake sale, or is just one item offered?
  • Is beer or wine available?
  • Location
  • Hours

Connect with WCPO Contributor Paige E. Malott on Twitter: @Paigetastic01

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