Fish Type: Cod (AYCE) Price: $16.00
Overall, I would recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Good|
Potato Score: Excellent
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Good
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: Once upon a time there was a restaurant called Joey's. Joey's was a cool little seafood place that unbeknownst to most was actually a link in a small chain...this particular link just happened to be in Madison. Over time the chain folded but the beloved Madison link prevailed. It was a heartwarming underdog story about the truly good things in life prevailing despite long odds and tough times. Joey's was known as Joey's for a number of years and their seafood specials reigned supreme, until one day it was re-branded as "North and South Seafood and Smokehouse" with an additional emphasis on...BBQ??? Huh??? Apparently this BBQ portion of N&S was every bit as popular as the seafood sector; so popular in fact, that they eventually spun-off their own link, this time in DeForest.
N&S DeForest is the last property in a strip mall and apparently crazy-busy come 6:00 on Friday nights. We showed up an hour or so before crazy-time and were treated to their $16 AYCE cod (which we picked in lieu of lake perch or other fishy delicacies). Since we were very early the service was very fast and my first round of cod came lickity-split and hot as can be.
Three pieces came on the first go-round and, as expected, had a strange shrimp-y flavor. I'm not sure what it is with Joey's/North and South, but their fish always tastes a little bit like shrimp. The cod was clearly of good quality and flaked apart effortlessly, but one can't ignore that shrimp stank. In addition, the batter was unremarkable, but at least fairly light. I only had room for one more on the second round much to the waitress' surprise. "Are you sure???" she asked more than once...I was sure...I was full and this fish wasn't necessarily Dorf Haus good.
The South part of North and South has a BBQ lineage so as you'd expect there are a lot of options in the way of sides. We went for the "potato cakes" over the fries (as the starch) and mac-n-cheese over the slaw (as the salad). I know, I'm reaching on the "salad" bit, but here's how much I care... The cakes were cheesy hash browns smashed into a hockey puck-like shape a deep fried. These delectable discs get high marks for creativity and flavor, but not as high for portion size. The fries the kid got were much more substantial and had a great crispy crunch. In all honesty, the side choices were almost overwhelming (as you often see at the BBQ joints) and I would have liked to try them all.
When a hearty beer batter is the flavor of the day you need a bold tartar to offset it and the N&S sauce did what it could. The cod soaked it up like a sponge and necessitated a full cup with the extra piece on round 2.
One of the staples at Joey's was the mini corn bread muffins, but these cutesy cakes have been replaces by a much more BBQ-y hunk. While the recipe seemed to be the same the big square wasn't quite as enticing as the bite-sized morsels of yesteryear.
CHoosing the mac over the slaw turned out to be 100% the right decision. This version was creamy and delicious and exactly the side you'll find as a kid's menu entree, just in a much smaller portion.
Joey's has always been solid and North and South is continuing on where the seafood-centric spot left off; and I'm sure most people take full advantage of the AYCE nature (which is why the waitress gave me the "Really???" treatment. Overall, we recommend this Fish Fry and quite easily so. While I'm not sure I'd be thrilled to wait an hour and a half for it (as so many have reported they have), it is probably worth it if you're REALLY hungry.
605 S Main St
DeForest, WI 53532