113 S. Main St.
Elizabeth Illinois 61028United States
Down the road from historic Galena, you'll find this charming bistro in a little old white church, with soul-satisfying dinners and heavenly desserts.
The Holy Mackerel is a pleasing little bistro in a former church: serene with appetizing food, excellent service and interesting decor. Entrees are upscale and inventive. Garlic sauteed giant prawns, served with a light, delicate curry saffron sauce and creamy rice pilaf ($25.95), are delicious, and huge -- 4 inches long apiece. Beef tenderloin and lobster ($26.95) brochettes are hot, tender, medium-rare pieces of beef alternating with lobster tails, still attached to their shells, served with drawn butter and lemon. Sides include bright crisp-tender broccoli and herbed macaroni and white cheese, baked in its own ceramic bowl. Predinner, you'll have a choice of soup or salad -- both worthwhile. The split pea and ham soup is much more delicate than the typical version, with layered flavors of veggies and ham -- and not too heavy on the peas. Salads are filled with fresh baby lettuce, tomato, radishes and red onion, and come with a couple of toasted bagel chips. Dressing choices include cranberry: fresh, fruity and not too sweet. Our only disappointment: the mackerel cakes appetizer ($11.95). They're OK, and we appreciated the good-quality seafood in them, but they're somewhat bland, served with plain mayo and lemon. A true highlight of the Holy Mackerel is dessert, made by Denise, wife of chef Dan Kretschmer. Choices include a half-dozen different fruit pies, turtle cheesecake and raspberry cheesecake, but the to-die-for delicacy is cranberry-white chocolate pecan bread pudding with bourbon sauce. It's served hot, studded with raisins and piled high with whipped cream. The bourbon sauce is perfectly heated and well-flavored, but not too alcoholic tasting -- seriously, we may never eat dessert again. The decor was casual and eclectic: weathervanes, an antique bicycle and a neon sculpture above what used to the altar. Three stained-glass windows brighten the walls, and romantic guitar music adds to the ambience. Note: They are open Thursday-Sunday all year long.