Fish Type: Walleye Price: $20.00
Overall, I would recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Good|
Potato Score: Good
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Excellent
Miscellaneous Score: Excellent
Comment: When most people hear "farm-2-table" the last thing they think about is Fish Fry. Even when they hear sea-2-table most tend to think about salmon and such, with the fried aspect falling by the wayside. Anything-2-table implies fresh, local, and organic, and as we all know cod (which is far and away the most prevalent frying fish) is pretty much anything but fresh, local, or organic - think frozen from the Bering Sea or Icelandic waters. Of course, there are are "local" fish, like Lake Superior whitefish or Red Lake (MN) walleye, but those either: 1) don't fry up well or 2) places don't want to pay the price to get them. It's a catch 22 for sure, but Pasture & Plenty, a place that touts farm-2-table with the best of them, has a dynamite Friday Fish Fry without compromising their ethics to do it.
P&P has either walleye or smelt for $20 on Fridays (which are two relatively local fish). Of course, $20 isn't all that cheap, but both portions are plentiful which helps to justify that price. They walleye typically comes as a pair of long, thin fillets dusted perfectly with a light and crunchy breading. Unlike places that slather it on, this breading remains light and is matches the flaky fish in every way. It also doesn't harbor any grease whatsoever which helps it maintain the signature walleye flavor we all love.
Since there aren't any deep fryers on this pasture, French fries aren't an option, but the onion gratin and roasted potatoes with Dijon stand in nicely. Of course there are plenty of other options to choose from (which I won't list here - mostly because I don't remember them) but these two mix well and make for a suitable accompaniment for the fish.
I'm a huge proponent of thick and creamy supper club style tartar sauces, and this was anything but that. It was a little foo-foo, for me - whipped and lemony - and while it's not my jam at all, I still appreciate what they are trying to accomplish.
The highlight of any Fish Fry should be the fish, and while this walleye certainly shines, the part that glows the brightest is their house-made cheese roll. This thing is soft, yet crusty, and undoubtedly on of the best buns in the city. Feel free to prove me wrong.
I fully understand the farm-2-table movement and while I appreciate it, it's not totally for me. I love my fish and for the most part I don't care where it comes from as long as: 1) it is what it says it is and, 2) it tastes great. Luckily, if you are a locavore type you can still get a great Fish Fry at places like Pasture & Plenty. Overall, we recommend this Fish Fry and think it appeals to Fish Fry purists and farm-2-tablers alike.
2433 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53726