Fish Type: Cod Price: $11.00
Overall, I would highly recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Excellent|
Potato Score: Excellent
Tartar Score: Excellent
Bread Score: Excellent
Miscellaneous Score: Excellent
Comment: It’s official. We love the Hooterville Inn.
The HI is the kind of small town bar that just screams Fish Fry. While the bar isn’t necessarily nice, nor is it spacious, it has that certain “it” factor. When you’re talking Friday Fish, “it” can mean different things to different people. It can be a smell. It can be a certain flavor of people. It can be dedicated wait staff who knows what the Friday Fish Fry is all about. Hooterville has all these its, and then some.
I got my fair share of it since I showed up really early, intent on slugging down a bunch of beer before my fish. In all honesty, I was waiting for Jer who was out in the swamp sharing his love of regional amphibians with likeminded locals which gave me a couple hours to watch the operation and take in just what makes it so great. Here’s what I learned…
Hooterville has a head fry cook, and she has it. With but a few waitresses and one kitchen helper she pumps out plate after plate of pristinely fried fish simply by sticking to a routine. It‘s really all about timing and since the clock in her head is never off her fish is never over or under-fried. Blend her keen intuition with some of the world’s best beer batter, and you start to see what it is all about.
It was after nine when Jer finally got out of the swamp, but since the good folks in Blue Mounds knew what our scenario was they made sure to keep fryers hot for us. We wound up being the last non-employee fish order of the night, but even so, our fish was fried with the same care and attention as all those before it.
After watching so many orders go from the batter, to the fryer, to the tables I was more than ready to dig into my own plate the second it arrived. Our 3-piece dinners were glistening with a sheen of oil, and steaming hot. The batter on the cod was somewhat dark, but has a fantastic flavor. It was rich and smoky, and turns the plain cod into anything but. While a thick beer batter can mask the flavor of the fish the Hooterville batter is light and flaky since each and every piece goes through a routine - grab it, dunk it, let ‘er sit, let ‘er drip, then let ‘er rip. It is poetry in motion to witness, and even more satisfying to eat.
The cooks mastery doesn’t end with the fish either. I watched pile after pile of hash browns meet the grill, only to be flipped at the exact right time, and slathered with cheddar only when appropriate. Like mine, every batch appeared to be almost perfect, especially when complimented by a hearty dose of lightly grilled onion.
Any good beer battered cod should be accompanied by a thick and creamy tartar and you know the experts at Hooterville are well aware of that fact. Like everything else, the homebrew was almost perfect and even though the fish didn’t need it, it still took it to the next level when applied. Protip: the normal tartar just sits on the counter in a big squeeze bottle, but if you want a fresh, cold one ask for a to-go cup from the kitchen helper - it’s the way to go.
Continuing the theme of amazing amazingness was the piece of real rye I chose over white. It was soft and fresh, and really perked up the coleslaw (which was the only failing in the Fry). While the slaw was creamy, and appeared to be homemade, it wasn’t zesty and would have fallen flat if not for the rye.
It means different things to different people, but if you’ve been to Blue Mounds for Fish Fry you know exactly what it is. Overall, we highly, highly recommend this Fish Fry and think it serves as a shining example of everything Friday night in Wisconsin stands for - tasty food, friendly folks, and dedication to a craft. This is clearly one of the best Fish Frys in the Madison area, and we’ll likely be making the trek to Blue Mounds more frequently from here on out. We loved every minute and every morsel of this Fish Fry which is really what it’s all about.
10992 Division Street
Blue Mounds, WI 53517