This year’s Cod Squaddery begins with a small – no one riding shotgun for me – visit to Our Lady of the Pillar on North Lindbergh. OLP, as it sometimes refers to itself, is on or at least immediately adjacent to the campus of Chaminade Prep, which means there’s plenty of parking, especially if you’re willing to hoof it a little. It’s in the Parish Life Building, west of the church itself, which is on the north side of the Chaminade campus.
To judge from the chef’s jacket of one gentleman I saw, Tom Jon’s Catering is involved here. They’re very efficient, with large menus posted as you go in, and each entree has a different colored ticket. Pay at the table, get your ticket and go join the line. I arrived around 6 p.m. - there was opera at the Heagney Center on campus and wasn’t sure about the potential wait time, but the line was short and moved swiftly. The ticket price includes a dessert and water or coffee. Soda, beer and wine are available at a concession table.
Lots of folks went for the baked salmon; I stuck with the basic fried cod. (There’s shrimp, too.) The breading is very crisp, and it’s not at all greasy, although I would have been happier with thicker pieces to make for a more equitable breading-to-fish ratio. Macaroni and cheese was one of the cheesier I’ve run into. And the spaghetti – could we just call this tomatoes with spaghetti in it? Because that’s what it is. Actually, it’s better than many around town, because the tomatoes actually had been seasoned, a little green pepper, a little onion, maybe even just a hint of garlic. Lots of tomato, not much pasta. Rather wet, at least the serving I got. Other sides are green beans and slaw.
The desserts are almost certainly mass-produced, but the cake roll I had, chocolate, with a vanilla buttercream filling, turned out to be quite acceptable for this sort of thing, and I’d eat it again quite happily.
Tables bussed by young parishioners who were smiling, helpful, and asked before removing something from the table. I suspect that not many of these kids, given the neighborhood here, will end up in the hospitality industry, but things like this give young ones a chance to taste the real world before they become too jaded. Maybe they’ll grow up to be good tippers.
Our Lady of the Pillar
403 S. Lindbergh Blvd. Creve Coeur
Every Friday through April 14, 2017