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Fish Type: Cod     Price: $12.00

Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: Moe’s Tavern & Grill on State used to be Zander’s and was nothing less that awful. The Z-man’s Fish Fry was a poor representation at best, and was actually bad enough to make us fear the fish at their replacement restaurant. It was a sticky situation for sure, but we knew one day we would end up at Moe’s simply because of our need to know. Today turned out to be that day.

It was nice out and since Moe’s has a patio we decided to go that route. The waitress came right over and ran right off to get us a couple mugs of Duff (yes, we tried the Duff - not bad really). The lunchtime Fish Fry at Moe’s is the same one you’ll find at dinner and shares the full $12 price tag. Before the fish we were treated to a surprisingly fresh salad mix, which was elegantly complimented by a pleasant balsamic vinaigrette dressing. It was a very nice, albeit untraditional, start to the meal. Well played, Moe.

The fish came in a wax paper lined dish about 10 minutes after we exhausted the salads, and was scalding hot. The slightly larger than average duo was joined by a heap of fries, some remoulade (which sat in for the tartar), and a soup-cup full of coleslaw. Immediately I noticed some grease oozing out of one of the pieces so without missing a beat I flipped ‘em both to avoid the dreaded Soggy Batter Syndrome. SBS has taken many-a good Fish Fry in our time, but if we all work together we CAN prevent it. It just requires diligence and a conscious effort to Turn as you taste. Say it with me people Turn as you taste, Turn as you taste. Together, we will beat this thing...

Eventually the oozing subsided and I got the fish in hand. The cod was flaky and hand battered – which alone is a huge step up from Zanders. While the batter looked like it was going to be peppery and spicy, it didn’t really deliver. While the flaky fish looked like it was coated with Kentucky Fried Chicken’s breading, it lacked any of the Colonel’s signature pep. By and large, it was acceptable but looked like it should have been much, much better.

The French fries also kept up appearances, but unlike the fish, delivered on their promise. The spuds gave the impression they were cut in house, but as Jer said, they “didn’t eat like it.” They just had a frozen taste, which wasn’t bad at all, but just didn’t taste like they were fresh. They still tasted yummy and were good enough for me, unlike the treasonous tartar.

Never have I heard of substituting a Remoulade for tartar, but Moe’s has apparently gone there. The surrogate sauce was spicy and simply dominated the fish when used. It had some serious heat, which really shouldn’t be necessary and is actually undesirable when I want to taste the flavor of my fish. Let’s agree to skip the gimmicks and get back to the thick and creamy standard, shall we?

The last link in the chain was Moe’s so-so slaw. While the mix was fresh and looked great, it didn’t have the zip you like in a good slaw. What’s more, the chain had a missing link as Moe’s doesn’t serve bread with their fish, preventing the loop from fully closing.

After sampling the Fish Fry at Moe’s I think it’s safe to say that it would be right at home on The Simpsons dinner table. While it looked like it had potential, the tastes were bland, and it certainly didn’t justify the $12. Overall, we can’t recommend the Fish Fry at Moe’s Tavern & Grill, and will probably just head to The Fryin’ Dutchman next time.
118 State Street
Madison, WI 53703

(608) 280-9999