Fish Type: Cod Price: $9.75
Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Fair|
Potato Score: Fair
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Poor
Miscellaneous Score: Excellent
Comment: The first Fish Fry of 2020 marked my first time trying the lunch special at the Paradise. The ‘dise is well known as one of Madison’s most beloved dives, but I didn’t realize until just a few weeks before this that they actually have fish specials on Friday (lunch only). I was shocked to say the least.
The fish of note at the East Main establishment is the Southwestern baked cod which (according to the cook) consistently sells out, but since I’m a fry guy I stuck to the Guinness beer battered version. $9.75 gets you two pieces of pre-battered-looking cod, a small fistful of crinkle-cut fries, a big pile of slaw, and a paper cup of tartar.
I'll just come right out and say it - the cod was not good. The meat was more mushy than flaky, and had a dark brown crust that clearly wasn't applied in-house. It reminded me of the fish-n-chips I had at Buraka a few weeks prior which was also not something I'd order again.
The crinkle-cut fries were exactly what you'd expect them to be (meh), the heap of coleslaw was light on the cream but heavy on crunch, and the tartar was compellingly thick and 100% necessary to get the cod down.
While it kills me to say it, there was nothing good about this meal aside from the actual bar. Overall, we don't recommend this Fish Fry, but the bar itself we highly recommend. It's a great place, just not for fish. In a word - come for the $2 Hamms, just don't stay for the fish.
119 W Main Street
Madison, WI 53703