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Fish Type: Haddock (AYCE)     Price: $12.00

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: Madison’s on King Street has always intrigued us, but whether it is the well dressed crowd or the downtown prices, we have simply never given them a shot. Furthermore, places like Madison’s don’t exactly scream Fish Fry, and we just assumed that the Friday night classic simply wasn’t even offered at the up-scale establishment. Turns out we were wrong, and they do have a Fish Fry (which we found out they are very proud of), so we took the first available Friday and paid them their due.

The AYCE haddock goes for $12, which is a reasonable price when you consider haddock is a premium fish, and you can eat as much of it as you want. They also offer a $14 6-piece lake perch which isn’t as good of a deal, but is still a good fish.

Madison’s also features several nice pre-fish options, of which our table of five chose the cheese curds. The squishy, hand-battered curds came lickity split and were really superb. While I wouldn’t put them into Old Fashioned territory, they were delicious and in the official “Bricerarchy” fell just below the spicy coated curds at the Bayou We enjoyed the curds along with our salads which were full of fresh mixed greens and made a fine surrogate for the standard coleslaw.

Our waitress was on top of things and had our food in front of us about 20 minutes after we ordered. While that isn’t alarmingly fast, the fish was nice and hot so clearly didn’t sit under any heat lamps or anything like that. We dove in right away and were greeted by the dense and meaty haddock. The fish itself was actually very good, and apparently the kind Brice really likes. While the smooth texture of the cod was respectable, it was overwhelmed by a dill-laden beer batter. While I understand what they were going for (pairing the smooth fish with a zesty batter), it was a bit much for the senses, and when you take into account the tartar had its own share of dill, it really was a bit over the top. All that said, the overall flavor was still acceptable and we had no problem taking down a full five pieces.

Brice was feeling a little giddy, or so it seemed, and beyond bellying up to the curds, he also branched out with the lake perch plate. The perch featured a similar batter to the haddock, which was good, but needed a kick. It was a little too thick for the perch to handle, and while the fish was flaky and delicate it didn’t quite hold up. It was also overwhelmed somewhat by the over-dilled tartar, which to its credit was thick and creamy, and didn’t have much visible dill, but believe me it was there...

A side of steak fries were nice and crispy, featured skin intact, and appeared to be cut in house. They somewhat balanced the potent fish with their starchiness. Unfortunately, that was all the starch there was to be seen as there was nary a slice of bread to be found.

Madison’s looks like a very classy joint so you’d really expect them to cross the ‘Ts’ and dot the ‘Is’ (as they say). Well, they got most every ‘T’, but an ‘I’ or two may have fallen by the wayside. You see, our vegetarian found a piece of string in here dish, and if that wasn’t enough, Brice found a hair in his rice pilaf. While this kind of stuff really turns me off, the affected parties were surprisingly okay with it, so I guess I can let it slide. As it is, we feel okay about recommending this Fish Fry.
119 King Street
Madison, WI 53703

(608) 229-0900