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Fish Type: Cod (AYCE)     Price: $14.00

Overall, I would recommend this Fish Fry.

Fish Score: Excellent
Potato Score: Good
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Good
Miscellaneous Score: Good

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Comment: The East Side Club has historically been hit and miss (mostly miss unfortunately). Hit – they have one of the best views of downtown you will find anywhere. Miss – the place hasn’t been updated since the late 70s (you can practically still see that shadow of the disco ball on the ceiling). Hit – they have always had an AYCE Fish Fry. Miss – it was buffet style which is never quite as good. While we’ve had no real issues with the ESC, and we’ve taken the hits with the misses, we’ve always hoped for something more, something less buffet oriented.

Until recently Gaylord’s Catering held rank over the ESC, and rolled out Friday buffet after Friday buffet. After many-a swing and many a-miss a new caterer has taken over in the form of DeBroux’s from Oregon. We went to Brouxnellie’s (now DeBroux’s Diner) once back in the day and thought it was pretty good, so we didn’t waste much time in trying out their new endeavor in Madison or Monona (depending on which side of the fence you’re on).

Things got off to a good start as we noticed there wasn’t a buffet line to be seen anywhere near the large upstairs dining space. The new Fish Fry from DeBroux features AYCE cod, lake perch, or walleye - all fresh from the kitchen and made to order. There is also baked cod also available, buuuuuut…

The well-coordinated wait staff was taking care of business and our waitress was no exception. She had our order into the kitchen in no time and was very thoughtful throughout. The first thing to hit the table was the coleslaw/soup/salad option, and the slaw I got was really tasty. It was zesty, and fresh, yet very balanced. It was some of the juicier slaw in recent memory, but not at all in a bad way.

A basket of bread and cookies came on the heels of the slaw. The bread was very good and had a kind of cornmeal-y consistency. The pecan-cranberry cookies were good too, and although they didn’t get chomped until the end, they tempted us throughout.

There was a little lag between the apps and the entrée, but the fish was still hot when it arrived. Four fat chunks of cod came in the first round of the AYCE and looked really marvelous. The chunky chunks housed a light beer batter that was good, but not superb. The fish was flaky for the most part, but mostly hidden under the golden-fried wrapper. When it came time for more, I got three and they were even hotter than the first batch although tasted they identical.

”Lake perch” could also be found swimming around the table, and I was lucky enough to snag a bite. Unlike most lake perch these fillets were huge, and while the flavor was fine, and fish was flaky, the size had me thinking they were something other than yellow perch. Don’t get me wrong, they were still tasty, but not the tiny, curly, cuts you expect to see. Pike-perch anyone?

Some seasoned fries bolstered the bunch, but of course, I forgot to ask if more come with the AYCE. The safe assumption is that they do not, since there were a lot of other options, including: spicy waffle fries, and what is supposedly the world’s greatest baked potato.

Last, and possibly least, was the tartar sauce which tasted fine, but had a very odd look. It was home to a lot of big chunks (mostly pickle but some other stuff), and while it was tasty enough it didn’t bowl me over. If nothing else, it wasn’t overly dilly and thick enough to cling to the creamy cod.

There is not a doubt in my mind that the new Fish Fry by DeBroux is a step up from old Gaylord. The simple fact that it’s not a buffet is a definite plus, but everything tasted better and fresher. Overall, we recommend this Fish Fry, and will come back to give the walleye a whirl one day soon.
3735 Monona Drive
Madison, WI 53714

(608) 222-9131