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Fish Type: Cod     Price: $15.00

Overall, I would recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: There's something to be said for the whole Farm to Table concept. As someone who grew up in an agricultural community it always boggled my mind that most of the food we bought at our local grocery store came from 1000s of miles away when there was perfectly good stuff in the field just up the road. It's nice to see that like-minded individuals championed that concept and have made a movement out of it. Usually local means fresher, healthier, and in the case of SW Wisconsin better for the economy. Of course, when you're talking SW Wisconsin and you're talking Fish Fry, you're talking about cod (which is anything but local), but hopefully you're at least talking sustainable, and that's exactly the conversation at Cow & Quince.

Cow & Quince down in New Glarus is the definition of a Farm to Table restaurant. Most everything on the menu is local (or a the least regional) and prepared in a such a way that it comes to you as fresh and vibrant as possible...the Friday Fish Fry is no exception. The C&Q Fry runs $16, and consists of two pieces of wild caught cod with the standard trimmings (minus the bread). Wild caught cod comes from Pacific waters and is said to be the most sustainable cod fishery on the planet, so you'll expect to pay a premium for it. As you might expect this premium product was incredibly excellent. It featured big flaky planks of pristine meat that peeled apart effortlessly when desired, but held together well under the weight of a delicate beer batter. The bubbly batter had a splendid flavor, compliments of a savvy salt application. Between the fancy fish and the beauty of a batter there was a lot going on and while I wish there was one more piece in the mix, the twin cuts were substantive.

Now, I'm sort of surprised that Cow & Quince does a FFF at all since they have the whole local and organic vibe, but they tried to keep things a little less fried by substituting some skillet potatoes for the standard French fries. These spuds were a real mixed bag with some being over-fried and others under-fried. They were a underwhelming lot and paled in comparison to the scrumptious fish. A house-made tartar had a notable lemon sweetness that was balanced out by some tart relish. Overt lemon flavor is a bit of a turnoff for me, but this one was just subtle enough that it didn't dominate the flavor profile.

As I mentioned above, no bread came with the fish, although they do serve rye with other menu items, so a slab should be a possibility. A surprisingly uninspired slaw rounded things out in its stead, and was basically just cabbage and vinegar.

There are plenty of good Fish Frys in New Glarus - the Glarner Stube, and Hotel among them - and those places tend to be packed on Friday nights. Cow & Quince wasn't busy at 6:00 when we showed up which is one reason I'd suspect they added a Fish Fry special - the old "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" philosophy, and I'd say they have a niche. The cod was superb, and if they can straighten out the rest of the sides they could really have something special here. Overall, we recommend this Fish Fry and think we'll come down to chat them up again soon enough.
407 2nd Street
New Glarus, WI 53574

(608) 527-2900