Fish Type: Cod Price: $14.00
Overall, I would highly recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Excellent
Potato Score: Excellent
Tartar Score: Excellent
Bread Score: Excellent
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: Cruise the Mediterranean. Buy a lake house. Eat a Fish Fry at Kegel's. I guess I can check one of those off my bucket list!
Milwaukee (and its environs) is basically the Mecca of Fish Fry and just like anywhere else in Wisconsin the locals all have an opinion on which bar or supper club has the areas best. I've heard it's at Turner Hall, and I've heard it's The Packing House, I've also heard it's the Serb Hall or a place called Erv's Mug. More recently I'd heard from a couple individuals that Kegel's Inn was the spot - best booze, best ambiance, best fish...basically the total package. Since were were headed to Summerfest for a show I figured we'd leave a little early and pay Kegel's a visit, and that's just what we did.
Kegel's isn't a tiny place, but it's not exactly the Taj Mahal either. Their bar area seats roughly 30, two of which were us for a good 45 minutes or so. We had plenty of time to "revel in the craftsmanship" and enjoy a couple (surprisingly spendy) cocktails...also the Old Fashioneds are NOT muddled if that's a concern of yours. Once seated things hummed right along despite the exasperated looks on the faces of the waitresses. As a Milwaukee mainstay (it's technically West Allis, but forgive me for loving alliteration) Kegel's has every fish you'd expect to see on a Friday menu - cod, lake perch, bluegill, and walleye as well as shrimp and scallops. Since it was our maiden voyage I stuck to the cod and opted for the $14 large (6-piece) over the $12 small (4-piece).
The fish looked very nice once it arrived, although "LARGE" was a bit of an overstatement for this plate. Yes, there were 6 pieces, but each one was maybe an ounce and a half. In reality it added up to a typical 3-piece which for $14 isn't a great deal...it's not a rip off or anything, but not jaw-droppingly cheap either. As far as the texture goes, the cod was light and flaky and 100% devoid of grease - there is definitely some frying mastery in that kitchen. The breading was crumbly and kept the flaky fish in tact, but really didn't have much seasoning to it. Overall, it made for easy munching, but another hint of salt would certainly go a long way. As far the BoM claims, it was undoubtedly good, but I think of several places that best it hands down.
Sitting shotgun to the fish and stealing the show IMO were Kegel's potato pancakes. These spuds were stellar and not soft or droopy like some of the others I've had. These were firm and could be picked up and eaten like a potato chip (which gleefully I did). The flavor was nothing less than outstanding especially when plunged into provided apple sauce. I went to town on them and could likely have eaten a dozen, but settled for the two on the plate.
The tartar was a true supper club clinger and zinger. It easily made up for the missing seasoning in the breading and took the cod to the next level of delectableness. A couple pieces of pumpernickel rye did their duty of keeping the Milwaukee in this Fish Fry and a creamy slaw with a light horseradish flavor did the job for me.
All in all it was pretty fantastic Fish Fry and while I can't say it's the best I've had, and can't imagine it's the best in all of Milwaukee, I'd gladly go back to sample some of those freshwater fillets. Overall, we highly recommend this Fish Fry and while we may not think it's the absolute best, we wouldn't blame you if you do. It's definitely got it all.
5901 W National Avenue
West Allis, WI 53214