Fish Type: Cod Price: $10.00
Overall, I would recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Excellent|
Potato Score: Fair
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Good
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: So, we realize this is Madison Fish Fry and all, but once in a while we arent in Madison on Friday, and well be damned if thatll stop us from getting our fish. And we figure, since were eating the fish anyway we might as well do a proper review you know, just to see how things stack up across the state We happened to be in the La Crosse area and since weve had Houghtons Fine Food-Cocktails on our list for what seems like forever we figured we should finally check them off.
To be fair, we arrived at Houghtons kinda late (8:30 to be exact). Whats more, we were a little rundown from a rousing game of hockey over in La Crescent, but still in the mood for fish (too bad no one else seemed to be). The place was practically empty save for a smattering a stragglers in the bar and dining room. Needless to say, we had no trouble acquiring a table and ordering up the Friday special.
The $10 2-piece cod comes fully loaded, and we got after it immediately. Houghtons salad bar was a little depleted by this point in the evening, but was still fairly fresh. It featured the supper club standard iceberg lettuce, basic dressings, a few bound salads, dinner rolls, a couple soups, and (luckily) some pickled herring. While we didnt try the soup, we perused the rest of the selection, with the coleslaw being creamy, but runny, the potato salad being what youd expect, and the dinner roll hovering around the mean. Reinhart? Sysco? I wouldnt be surprised at all
Our freshly fried fish showed up about 15 minutes after it was ordered and was nice and hot. While there were only two pieces present, what they lacked in quantity they more than made up for in girth. These were not your average cuts of cod. Each of the pristine white and flaky fillets had to be pushing 6oz., very little of which was batter. The coating, in his case, was a light beer batter with a pleasant flavor that complemented the fish rather than overwhelming it. While a little grease was in the neighborhood it didnt soak the batter, or ruin the high quality fish.
With limited potato options (baked, twice-baked or French fries) we settled on the fries which were very blah. Sure, there were plenty of them, but the Julienne-cut Janes were nothing to write home about. We also got a glimpse of the twice-baked which was more like some sort of whipped/mashed dealie than the traditional twice-baked potato youd expect. No one at the table was impressed.
If anything about the meal was memorable it was Houghtons take on the tartar, but while the sauce stuck in our minds, it also stuck in our craw. This stuff was unique, to say the least. Simply put, it had lots of weird little speckles and an unknown flavor or two that were interesting but not traditional by any stretch. It tasted fine, and had an acceptable consistency so well let the oddities slide, but were still a bit put off by the whole thing.
The more Fish Frys we eat outside the Madison area the more we realize how good we actually have it around these parts. While Houghtons wasnt bad, it was a bit of a letdown considering wed heard it was one of the best in the La Crosse area. Overall, we still feel fine about recommending this Fish Fry, the cod was great, and it was a complete meal, but it didnt quite live up to the expectations wed placed on it. Maybe thats our fault? Or maybe, just maybe, were actually spoiled Madison? Wed tend to lean towards the latter.
1002 Jackson St
La Crosse, WI 54601