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Fish Type: Cod     Price: $10.00

Overall, I would barely recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: If there is one thing you should know about Madison Fish Fry it is that if you make a claim about great Fish Fry at place X we will show up there before too long. We recently heard rumors that The Outpost Bar and Grill in Cottage Grove was an “X” and supposedly this “X” marked the spot of the Grove’s best Fish Fry. Wasting no time, I rounded up a small crew and headed to the busiest part of town on any given Friday.

Now, this particular area of Cottage Grove is a hectic little spot on Fridays, but it really can’t be attributed to The Outpost, although they do draw their fair share of folks. The main culprit is the 1855 Saloon which resides directly across the street from the tiny neighborhood bar. For some reason the 1855 is the place to be on Friday, even though their Fish Fry leaves a little something to be desired (in our opinion). Regardless, the popularity of the Saloon leads to cramped streets and little in the way of parking. Luckily for team Fish Fry, we found an open stall smack-dab in front of The Outpost; things couldn’t have started off on a better note.

The plan was for the “Fry Guy” to grab his fish at the bar while the ladies hopped across to the 1855 for some fancier foods. Well, upon hearing that the Saloon offered little more than an hour and a half wait, the whole crew decided to drop anchor at The ‘Post and see what was what. We waited at the bar for a good 20 minutes, had a beer, and noticed the “Best of Cottage Grove – Fish Fry” signs that dotted the walls. We were intrigued by the positive praise and ready to see what the hubbub was all about.

We only had a few adults and one kid in our party, but for some reason got the biggest booth/table in the place. The waitress came over pretty soon after we were seated and took our orders – two Fish Frys (one large and one small) and one salad bar for our resident herbivore. As soon as she departed we scampered to the salad bar to see what there was to see. It was filled with supper club staples which is impressive considering this ain’t no supper club. We loaded up on salad, cottage cheese and slaw and headed back to our booth/table hybrid.

The salads didn’t last long, and actually didn’t have to. Before MFF had consumed his fill, the fish hit the table and the greens were quickly cast aside in favor of heartier endeavors. And by hearty, I mean hearty. The large Fish Fry at The ‘Post will run you ten bucks and is definitely not skimpy. Usually if I hear about a 4-piece for that price, including salad bar, I assume the pieces are gonna be teeny tiny -these were not. These were full sized cod fillets and were pretty good, but not as great as I was hoping they would be at first glance. They sported a light breading which had a little spice but certainly could have used a bit more. The fish itself was fairly flaky, but wasn’t really moist. Since these were full fillets with both thick and thin sections, the lack of moisture led to thin stuff getting a little firm and chewy. Overall, it was decent and the flaky fish far outweighed the less desirable parts.

Making even the not so flaky parts of the fish more edible was the zesty tartar. The well-proportioned mayo blend was on the level and they made sure to add a second cup with the large fish portion. Extra sauce is always a good choice for a cook to make with this much fish.

Usually Madison Fish Fry is a French fry eating machine, but whenever we see potato pancakes as an option, we just can’t help ourselves. Unfortunately, The Outpost’s rendition of the Fish Fry classic is not exactly what we were hoping for. These ‘cakes didn’t appear to be made in house and while they did have a hint of onion, were nothing to crow about even with the scoop of apple sauce that tagged along.

The only bread served with the Fish Fry was apparently located on the salad bar, and must have run out because the basket was empty when we went through the line and never seemed to get refilled. Oh well, their loss.

This Fish Fry was a bit of a mixed bag. The cod was decent and served in a huge portion, while the potato pancakes should have been a step up from regular fries, but were actually just so-so. The tartar was fine and the salad bar was a nice addition, but it all just barely adds up. Basically, this might amount to the best Fish Fry in the area, but that is only because the only other places around are the Black Bear Inn and 1855, which are subpar at best. Cottage Grove just doesn’t seem to be representing on the Fish Fry front which is a bit of a shame. Sure Doubleday’s and the Oakleaf are up the road, but I would expect more than a couple/three decent Fish Frys in a town of this size. Overall, I still think the Fish Fry at The Outpost is recommendable, but juuuuuust barely.

227 S. Main Street
Cottage Grove, WI 53527

(608) 839-5205