Fish Type: Bluegill Price: $9.00
Overall, I would highly recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Excellent|
French Fry Score: Excellent
Tartar Score: Excellent
Bread Score: Good
Miscellaneous Score: Excellent
Comment: What’s in a name? Traditionally, supper clubs are only open for supper, but I guess when your supper club is as popular as Toby’s you tend to take your name with a grain of salt. While Toby’s has no problem sticking to the supper club mantra of quality food at a comfortable price, they do have a problem meeting demand for their fabulous night Friday Fish Fry and thus had to make a change. The place is simply too small, and the fish is too tasty, which basically necessitated Toby’s opening their doors to the lunch crowd. Toby’s Lunch Club? Works for me.
As you’d expect, lunch at Toby’s is slightly scaled back and the standard relish tray that comes with dinner is nowhere to be found. What you’ll find in its place will be bluegill, which is not offered during dinner on Fridays and is one of Toby’s treasures. The diminutive divers go for nine bucks and since they were available I didn’t even consider ordering anything else.
The dude tending bar had tats galore and looked like he could punch through a wall, but handled our fish with grace. In classic lunch club fashion, the goods were ready in no time, came in a red-and-white wax-paper lined basket, and looked absolutely perfect. There were at least 10-12 bluegill fillets (which is a lot), with each being a tiny piece of fried perfection. They had the satisfying snap, and the light fishy flavor you expect from bluegill. The freshwater finsters were complimented by Toby’s thin breading, which is light on the gums, but heavy on the taste buds.
Offsetting the delicate fish was a plethora of Toby’s thick-cut, battered steak fries. They were done just right, as the crispy coating gave way to perfectly plump interiors. As far as fries go these are way up there. Toby’s tartar is also among the best, and while the fries lend a contrast to the juicy fish with their crunch, the sauce shares the load, making the fish ever more succulent. The blend is as thick as it gets, and has just enough relish to make you take notice. It is expertly done, and although the fish hardly needs it, it adds something to the sensation.
A plain piece off French bread buddied up with the main trio, but was nothing special. Likewise, the coleslaw was just kind of there, and while the finely-chopped concoction is usually creamy and delicious, this time it was a little dry and boring. Oh well, coleslaw doesn’t break many hearts anyway.
In classic Toby’s fashion even the lunch Fish Fry comes with a dessert, and this today it was a single serving of Schoepps vanilla ice cream. It really is the cherry on top, and one of the subtle perks that sets Toby’s apart. When it comes to Fish Fry the little things often that make the all difference, and Toby’s is one of the places that really seems to realize that.
By rule supper clubs are going to be busy on Friday and Saturday nights and Toby’s is far from the exception. Luckily for those of us who aren’t always in the mood to fight the rush, Toby’s Lunch Club is there to meet our needs. Overall, we highly recommend this Fish Fry and still think it is the finest that Madison has to offer regardless of the time of day.
3717 S Dutch Mill Road
Madison, WI 53718