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Fish Type: Walleye     Price: $14.00

Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.

Fish Score: Fair
Potato Score: Excellent
Tartar Score: Excellent
Bread Score: Poor
Miscellaneous Score: Good

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Comment: Weddings are the start of a journey. They offer us hope, a fresh chapter, and optimism for the future. In this way weddings are a lot like Fish Frys. Every Friday we have the opportunity to write a new page, take that next step, and grow our knowledge. When it came time for Gabe’s wedding we put our idyllic notions of prenuptial Fish Frys on hold figuring that rehearsal dinners and our favorite Wisconsin tradition often didn’t mix. We were wrong... sort of.

It turned out that the rehearsal plans were pretty informal, simply involving a reservation at the Downtown Great Dane’s lovely outdoor patio. What’s more, in their desire to keep it simple, the gracious couple allowed us to order whatever we wanted off the regular menu rather than limiting our options to a few selected dishes. And guess what the “regular” menu consists of on Friday? That’s right, Fish Fry! On Friday the Dane’s everyday fish-n-chips is usurped by a full-fledged Fish Fry which has a few different options, among them a common cod and couple different preparations of walleye. I thought it over briefly, but settled on the “Walleye Fry”.

Initially I had my worries that our large group would lead to soggy fish since coordinating that many entrees can be difficult (a fate we have previously succumb to at the Dane). Thankfully we were spared, and the two walleye fillets were freshly fried and clearly didn’t sit under any heat lamps. They were nice and hot, and LOOKED fantastic. Their appearance was bolstered by what appeared to be a heavily-seasoned batter and the fact that you get two small fillets in lieu of one massive one. The walleye was high quality, featuring a flaky texture and mild flavor. Unfortunately, the thick batter just didn’t deliver. While the creamy coating looked spicy it came off bland and held in grease like a wet rag. The resulting fish was totally edible, but underwhelming to say the least.

While we divorced ourselves from the fish we had no problem entering into a long-term relationship with the Dane’s Pub Fries. The super spuds were thick and perfectly cooked. They kept things interesting with a little season salt here and there, and took a lot of the focus of the woeful walleye. The tartar was also marrying material as the thick sauce housed a real zip to go along with the other miscellaneous stuff in it.

We didn’t enter into any sort of binding contract with the coleslaw and it’s a good thing we didn’t. While we didn’t end up loathing the creamy concoction, our lifestyle simply wasn’t compatible with it. When it comes to slaw we need a spark - something to keep us interested, and any initial attraction quickly wore off.

If there is one thing that can end a marriage it is when your spouse pays more attention to your buddies that they do to you. For some reason the Walleye Fry was forced to endure this exact shoddy treatment. While its pan-fried pal comes complete with a dinner roll, the deep-fried dish gets the shaft and receives no bread whatsoever. It is a real kick in the junk, and pretty much the straw that breaks the camel’s back when it comes to the Walleye Fry. At this point we filed papers.

While Gabe’s marriage is sure to endure all that life can dish out, the same cannot be said of the Dane’s Fish Fry. While the good times (the fries and the tartar) were very good, the bad times (no bread with the fish and too much batter on the fish) were too much to bear. Overall, we don’t recommend the Fish Fry at the Dane even when served on their scrumptious outdoor patio. On the other hand, Gabe and his lovely bride easily garner the MFF seal of approval and we have nothing but the best wishes for our friends as they trek into uncharted waters.
123 E. Doty Street
Madison, WI 53703

(608) 284-0000