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Fish Type: Cod     Price: $9.00

Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: Don’t blame me, but the Branch Street Retreat has changed things up, again… this time, not for the better unfortunately. As recently as the spring of 2011 the BSR was running on all cylinders, offering a bunch of choices during the lunch hour to suit any and all tastes. Today there were two measly options (and one of them was a sandwich to boot). WTF, BSR?

The only remaining real “Fish Fry” option for lunch is a $9 3-piece cod, so logically, that is what I went for. The freshwater options, which I craved and which abounded mere months ago, were now absent, save for walleye which is now lamentably hooked between two slabs of bread – fish sandwich does not equal Fish Fry. It was a Cow and a Cod for me.

To the Retreat’s credit the fish came unbelievably fast, although I think it was because the lunch cook was on his way out the door and wanted to do it as quickly as he could. It literally hit the bar no more than three minutes after I put in my order, freshly fried and screaming hot. I gave the fish a second to cool by shuffling the cups of tartar and slaw around, then had at it.

The first bites of cod were actually pretty decent, as initially the fish was flaky and the batter crispy. Things quickly devolved from this instant high however, as the thick beer batter stored some grease which took over the fish. The pervasive oil eventually totally penetrated the batter shell and led to the last piece being a spongy mess (despite my ever-diligent turning). The last few bites of fish didn’t even get eaten, and it’s wasn’t because I wasn’t hungry…

In the cooks haste to exit his French fries were overlooked and undercooked. The resultant spuds were a little raw, and a bit of a letdown. They were perked up slightly by a blast of ketchup and the occasional dip into the mayo-laden tartar. The supposedly homemade sauce was thick as the dickens, but could actually have used a pinch more relish, in my opinion.

Also needing improvement was the homemade slaw which was just not appetizing in any way. The mix was bland and dry and, and like the last bites of soggy fish, remained on the plate when the check was paid. There was also no bread, which was expected, but is still no less of a disappointment.

Well, it looks like the BSR’s endeavor into the deep end of the fryer failed. It seems to me they bit off more than they could chew, assuming that “if they built it, they would come”. “They” clearly didn’t come, causing the Retreat to do the only thing they could, and rein it in. It’s too bad, because I thought they were on the right track, but if the patronage doesn’t justify the Fry, it doesn’t - you gotta do what you gotta do. Overall, we don’t feel comfortable recommending the beer battered cod Fish Fry at the Branch Street Retreat at this time, and without the freshwater options on the table we’re not sure when we’ll be back. Dinner maybe?
2644 Branch Street
Middleton, WI 53562

(608) 836-7750