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: Good
Miscellaneous Score: Excellent
Comment: You're going to be in La Crosse? You should go to Howie's...
We'd been to Howie's back in the day and it was nothing like it is now. They recently (at least for us) went through an extensive remodel and it's basically a totally different place. It's got a total high-class sports bar feel and a real kitchen complete with a real Friday Fish Fry. For starters it's worth mentioning that our service this lunch hour was OUTSTANDING. After having some seriously sub-par service in the Cities the night before this was a welcome surprise. We soaked up every second of it and tipped accordingly (it's amazing how much service can influence an experience).
If you've been to SW Wisconsin you know Friday specials are basically limited to cod and walleye (and the occasional catfish) and Howie's sticks to the Cod or Bust mantra. It comes as a 2 or 3-piece for $8 or $10 respectively. Howie's cod is an interesting one with a dark beer batter that is fairly light in texture, but has an odd flavor which is enhanced even more when slathered with the house tartar. It was just sort of strange and while I didn't dislike it per se, I didn't really want more than what I got. The pieces were also petite which made me thankful I opted for the 3-banger (the 2-piece would have been pretty useless).
Whereas the fish was a little bizarre the fries were on point. These crunchy spuds did it all with our only complaint being that you can't upgrade to the Dynamite Fries with the Fish Fry...because damn, those suckers are tasty. The regular are battered up, but your mind can't help but drift to the Dynamite and their signature sauce of the same name. The Dynamite are definitely dynamite, and a true 10 out of 10...the regular are maybe a 7...
As alluded to above the tartar was a little odd and didn't really help the fish. In actuality I sort of glossed over it since it changed the flavor of the fish so dramatically (and not necessarily for the better).
A plain Jane dinner roll was ripped right off the loaf and fell flat when compared to the sweet slaw. The creamy cole really brought the right flavor to this party and made up for some of the oddity elsewhere.
You should go to Howie's...but maybe not on a Friday. The place is really great, and they are winning Best of La Crosse awards like nobody's business, but the Fish Fry just had a few too many holes in it. The cod and tartar (which need to be great) were just a little too odd and despite the alluring fries and slaw I don't think I'd go back for it. Overall, we don't recommend this Fish Fry, but recommend the place itself, and those goddamned Dynamite Fries...I think I'd be willing to take the trip up there just for those. KA-BOOM!!!
1128 La Crosse Street
La Crosse, WI 54601