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Fish Type: Cod     Price: $10.00

Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: Let’s just start by saying I love Jim’s Meats. It’s really a great little place, and features some pretty smoking deals from time to time. The staff is among the friendliest you are ever going to find, and the owners genuinely seem to appreciate your business. Their raw meat selection is impressive and I’ve had the privilege to sample several different items from their display cases. Bacon? Booyah! Sausage? Sure thing! Brats? Bee’s knees! Fish Fry? Forget about it… No, literally, skip the fish…

For being a meat market/deli Jim’s has a fairly expansive carry-out menu, which includes a daily Fish Fry. Whenever I hear a Fish Fry is served every day I take note since that usually means something. That something is often pre-battered fish, standard Sysco sides, and an underwhelming meal. Unfortunately, that is exactly what Jimmy delivered.

I opted for the $9.99 4-piece dinner over the much cheaper 2-piece basket since I was pretty hungry and wanted to give Jim’s every opportunity to prove themselves (no bread or slaw comes with the basket and those are part of my ranking system). I love the smell of a butcher shop and blissfully waited the five or so minutes while the fish was frying. I adored the aroma so much that almost pained me to leave once the food was actually ready, but leave I did since I wanted to get the fish home as hot as possible… I made it in under four minutes.

The big Styrofoam container contained a bevy of fried delights, including the four pre-battered cod fillets. The pieces were decent sized, but had the typical freezer-2-fryer flavor – if you’ve ever had this kind of fish you know exactly what I’m talking about. While it isn’t horrible per se, it’s certainly not flaky and lush, and doesn’t come close to a freshly battered fillet. The fish was enveloped by a thick, crisp crust, which had minimal flavor and made the cod mushy rather than flaky. While it was marginally acceptable, it was far from the ideal, and the kind of fish you end up tasting all day long. *burp*

The fish split its side of the foil lined foam container with a handful of Jim’s “regular” fries (waffle and wedges were also available). The fries were crispy and delicious, and out of a similar bag as the fish, so I’m presuming it was Sysco all around. Still, not bad.

The two small Solo cups of tartar were also likely of the Sysco sort and a little too dilly for my liking. While the sauce was thick and creamy, the relish dominated the flavor, and didn’t bolster the fish the way it needed to.

A piece of what appeared to be Italian bread rode atop the fry pile and was a little stale on the edges. The slaw showed improvement with its creamy substrate and subtle horseradish aftertaste. I’d like to try the slaw again, the bread, not so much.

This is a tough call because I really love the place itself, but Jim’s Fish Fry is just nothing special. Overall, I can’t recommend this Fish Fry, and will definitely not be coming back for it any time soon. I will however come back any time I’m in need of brats or double-smoked bacon. Jim really knows those meats. The Fish Fry? Not so much.
1436 Northport Drive
Madison, WI 53704

(608) 244-8600