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Fish Type: Lake Perch     Price: $12.00

Overall, I would highly recommend this Fish Fry.

Fish Score: Excellent
Potato Score: Excellent
Tartar Score: Excellent
Bread Score: Good
Miscellaneous Score: Excellent

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Comment: The Fish Fry at Toby’s Supper Club is one of the absolute best in Madison, no ifs ands or buts about it. Of course, everyone and their mother knows that at this point and they are absolutely swamped on Friday nights because of it. Since Toby’s is tiny there’s going to be a long wait for a table which is a real turnoff for a lot of people. Luckily, the exact same fish is available at lunchtime when they are nowhere near as busy so there is an option for those wanting their own but also wanting to avoid the crowds.

I found myself at Toby’s the last two Fridays in a row, and feeling fresh – freshwater that it. Over the course of the two sittings I had the $11 bluegill and the $12 lake perch, both of which were spectacular. The basket of bluegill consisted of eight really big fillets that had the perfect subtly fishy undertones. They wore Toby’s thin breading that has a little pep but is still subtle enough to let the fish take center stage. Sure, a little more salt might make them even more delectable but these things are pretty close to perfect as it is. The perch is the real deal (yellow perch), and the six hulking fillets were wrapped in the same light breading that lets the meat shine. This sextet was moist and juicy with a smooth flavor that was devoid of any fishiness. It was the classic stuff you’re used to, and could easily go toe-to-toe with any perch out there. You hear that Milwaukee? ANY PERCH OUT THERE!

Hash browns with cheese and onion are my spud of choice at Toby’s and these plates hit all the right notes. They are slick and gooey and when the American cheese meets the slightly greasy potatoes an idyllic flavor meld manifests. It even looks like the tubers might be shredded in-house which would be impressive but not all that surprising when it comes right down to it.

Toby’s thick and creamy tartar pairs so perfectly with the fish that it really should be a crime. Luckily for me it isn’t or I’d be doing 20 to life for sure. I’m a tartar fiend especially when it comes to fish this good.

A thick slice of French bread is the usual starch of choice in these parts but once in a while a milti-grain roll will fill its shoes. Both are good offerings and much better than a basic dinner roll, but still not the rye I’ve been longing for all these year. Maybe someday, Toby’s. Maybe someday…

Historically the homemade slaw ‘round these parts has had a noticeable sweetness, but either the recipe has recently changed or maybe my tastes have, but it was much less sugary these last two weeks. The saccharine slide is totally fine by me as it still has a satisfying crunchiness but losing some of the sugar yields a better balance overall. Sure, when compared to the dynamic fish it fades into the background for the most part, but slaw so often does.

Look, we all know Toby’s can be a battle and if you’re simply looking for a quiet Friday night out with the missus it’s definitely not the place for you. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to rub some elbows, knock back and Old Fashioned or two (or maybe even three) then Toby’s might be just what the doctor ordered…I personally can’t wait until our little one is grown so I can go back on a Friday night and get into the thick of it. Overall, we highly recommend this Fish Fry and just can’t seem to get enough of what Toby’s has to offer. Hell, I’m even thinking I might go for the Hat Trick this Friday.
3717 S Dutch Mill Road
Madison, WI 53718

(608) 222-6913