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Fish Type: Bluegill     Price: $10.00

Overall, I would recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: In all honesty I'm not a huge fan of the "pop-up" concept. Sure, it's nice to get food at a place that doesn't always have it, but what if I really like the food and then I can't get it again since it's the pop-up has popped-down? It's a real conundrum since the places that do these pop-ups tend to have really good grub, but it's so inconsistent (to the point where it might not ever even happen again) that going there can be a bit unsatisfying. The pop-ups that Banzo has done prove the point.

For starters, Banzo obviously doesn't even need to do pop-ups (the falafel business is booming these days) so the fact that they have branched out a couple times is kind of a godsend. When they do pop their fish of choice is bluegill and diners are treated to either a 3-piece for $9 or a 4-piece for $10. I of course, went for the 4-piece (which is still on the small side all things considered) and paired it with a OBBC Commuter. Banzo knows how to fry but that doesn't mean they do it quickly. We showed up just after five and the TINY dining room was overflowing not 20 minutes later, right around the time we got our orders. The fish was definitely the advertised bluegill which was coated it a flavorful and frizzy beer batter. The batter dominated the flavor profile, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing since it was so tasty. While I would like to taste the fish at least a little, it's hard to complain about something this tasty.

Whereas the fish was unique, the fries seemed surprisingly standard and came is a tiny portion (which was pretty much what I expected). In reality, I should probably have given the house made chips a whirl instead and would certainly go that route on the next pop (if indeed there is one). The house-made tartar was also intriguing, but a little heavy on the dill. In the end it was still smooth and zippy and quelled some of the frayed ends on the fish so I'll chalk it up as a win.

No bread popped up in the small paper basket which was no surprise since gluten is shunned by so many in the neighborhood. The house slaw was as diverse as I've seen with tons of spice, an orange-y hue, and somewhat odd flavor. It wasn't bad per se, but I wouldn't say I craved more of it. Some "relish" sat on the underside of everything and the pickled veggies added a nice tang to things.

These are some of the hardest Fish Frys to review since I feel like I have to "get it while it's hot" but in actuality they may never even happen again so reviewing it may all be for naught. Regardless, I at least get some good fish and get too see a healthier restaurant's take on the Friday tradition. Overall, we recommend this Fish Fry, and will likely pop-in if it pops-up again.
1511 Williamson St
Madison, WI 53704

(608) 441-0012