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Fish Type: Cod     Price: $7.00

Overall, I would recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: For some reason there aren’t a lot of options when it comes to waterfront dining in the Madison area. Even though there are lakes all over the place, relatively few eating establishments actually exist on their shores which is a bit of a conundrum, especially when you consider how popular these lakeside lunch spots are in other parts of the state. Those that do exist get their share of business, although the crowds tend to be older, the food more plain, and the experience underwhelming (at least when you consider what they have to work with). You find a lot of ‘B’ Fish Frys at these kind of places, which is pretty much what we got this time around at the Green Lantern.

Norb and I rolled into the McFarland mainstay for a quick lunch and had a few tables to choose from in the “Please Seat Yourself” section. Our waitress came by immediately and shot off to grab us some menus. The lunch special at the Greenie is a $7 3-piece cod, so we both just went with that since it was quick and easy. The food arrived in the blink of an eye, proving once again that our waitress was really on her game.

As soon as I saw the plate I knew that things at the Lantern had changed. The cod was no longer the thickly beer battered fillets of yore, instead it was cut into thin strips and lightly breaded. The trio was tiny, but not totally out of line for lunch or for $7. The fish itself was flaky and pure, while the breading had a little spice, but could have used a hint more. Overall, it was just a nice inoffensive fish, but there simply wasn’t much of it, and a far cry from the AYCE if yesteryear.

While the fish thrived on its own, it narrowly averted destruction by the treacherous tartar. The sauce awaited our arrival at the table in a big squeeze bottle, and was warm and dilly (which is never a good combo). While it wasn’t runny, it wasn’t thick either, and unlike most tartars actually made fish taste a little worse. I laid off it for the most part.

The hash browns with cheese and onion, on the other hand, were superb. They were fried just right – a little crispy on the outside, and soft and gooey on the inside. They were delectable, and seemed to fill out the plate better than a side of fries would have (although Norb got the seasoned fries and said they were really good as well).

A big old glass dish of slaw towered above the plate and was chock-full of goodness. The slaw was simply excellent, with an ideal consistency, a good zip, and minimal slaw-water left at the end. It was truly top-notch, just like the slice of home baked white bread. So soft. So squishy. So yummy.

While there are a dozen or so lakeside restaurants in Madison, I’m not sure there is one that is truly amazing and takes everything to the next level (which is a bit of a shame). Yes, there are some good ones and I think it’s fair to lump the Greenie into that group (maybe towards the upper end though, B+?). I really liked the bread, the slaw, and the hash browns, but the tartar left something to be desired as did the portion if fish. Overall, we recommend this Fish Fry and think it was good, but needs a little tweaking to make it great.
4412 Sigglekow Road
McFarland, WI 53558

(608) 270-3600