Fish Type: Lake Perch Price: $11.00
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: A lot of people ask “What is the best Fish Fry in Madison?” and of course, depending on who you ask you will get any number of different answers to that question. What most people really mean is “What is the best beer battered cod in Madison?” since that is what 90% of people think of when they think of “Fish Fry”. Here at Madison Fish Fry we tend to think of the Wisconsin tradition a little differently.
For us Fish Fry means much more than just drenching a piece of cod in a batter so thick that you can’t even taste the fish. We think that the flavor of the fish deserves to shine, which is why we tend to like freshwater fish dusted in a light, well-seasoned breading. While we still love a good beer battered cod now and then, the subtle nuances are what really keep us coming back every Friday, and beer batter can get monotonous if that is all you eat. Toby’s Supper Club is one place that understands that Fish Fry goes beyond beer batter.
For our money Toby’s is the best all-around Fish Fry in Madison. They run the gamut of freshwater options on Fridays and still have the cod that most people want (although theirs is a lightly breaded version not a beer battered beast). On this visit we sampled their $11 lake perch offering with a side of their famous hash browns with cheese and onions.
As per usual the fish came alarmingly fast, and was steaming hot. Five perch fillets dotted the red & white checkered piece of wax paper that lined the basket, and tasted great, although they lacked the pop of Toby’s bluegill. Instead they had a mellow flavor which was complemented by a breading that was light to the touch, but also light on the seasoning. The fish flavor was very subtle making the perch a good stepping stone for those who like cod, but are considering branching out a little or just want a change of pace.
A small plate of hash browns came on the side and were exactly as they should be. The mini-loaf was fried to perfection and featured plenty of onion and a singular slice of American cheese. Their crispy edges were balanced by a supple center, making bites where both contingents were present a menagerie of textures and flavors. Crispy, gooey, cheesy, melty, yummy.
Expertly fried fish is great on its own, but when it’s paired with a topnotch tartar magic happens. Toby’s tartar is the Ace in the deck and makes everything it touches better than it was before. Toby’s slaw is also some of the best you will find and clearly made in-house. It’s a finely-chopped rendition that is zesty and delicious, and has a little sugar in it that really tickles the taste buds.
The bread that comes with Toby’s fish varies from visit to visit, but this go-round is was the usual slice off a French loaf. The plain starch plays it part admirably, but draws little fanfare for its effort.
Very few places include dessert with their Fish Fry, but Toby’s isn’t your usual place. They always have ice cream, cinnamon rolls, or cookies (even during lunch), and the strawberry sundae ice cream today was the perfect ending to another marvelous meal.
If you’re looking for the typical beer battered cod there are plenty of places to get your fix in town. However, if you’re like us and want something different from time to time try the perch, bluegill, walleye, or catfish at Toby’s Supper Club. We promise you’ll be glad you did. Overall, we highly recommend this Fish Fry and will say it again: Toby’s has the best all-around Fish Fry in Madison. Take that to the bank.
3717 S Dutch Mill Road
Madison, WI 53718