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Fish Type: Cod     Price: $7.00

Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: I can see why people who live near the Seafood Center love it. Their carry-out only philosophy is basically the same concept as drive-thru fast food, but since the food is in a whole different stratosphere it makes great fish-n-chips incredibly convenient for people in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, for those of us who don’t live close to the Whitney Way or Old Sauk edifices, the allure is just not the same.

We visited the Old Sauk Seafood Center back in April, 2010, and were less than impressed. It was a bit of a letdown because we had heard so many glowing reviews of their fish, so I figured maybe it was just the “new” location and the original would do them justice. Unfortunately, we were basically met with more of the same.

We got our fish within 5 minutes of ordering, took it outside, and swiped a couple spots in front of the deserted coffee shop on the corner (SC doesn’t have any indoor or outdoor seating of its own).

The cod will run seven bucks and swims in a school of three. The fish was actually good, but the pieces were not exactly “plump” as I have heard them described. They were your traditional cuts and coated in a traditional light breading which was fairly firm, but still flaky. The golden-brown glaze was well-fried, but could have used a little more gusto, in our opinion.

Tagging along behind the school was a horde of straight-cut, skin on French fries. This tasty troop played their part, but much like our last visit the spuds were a little colder than the fish. Neither the fish nor the fries got any support from the tartar as relish-heavy the Kraft brand just wasn’t up to snuff. Unfortunately, the SC has about a dozen other tartar options for sale, but apparently they think the grocery store mainstay is “pretty good” so none of the others are offered. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

Finishing off the fish-n-chip was a side of creamy coleslaw. It was your basic traditional Sysco-style mix, but played its part admirably. Of course, no bread comes with fish-n-chips, so…

The SC is clearly a great place for fresh fish. The variety is impressive, and things like the live lobster tank, and smoked salmon are fantastic. The service is always fast, the people behind counter are very friendly, and they seem to do a good job giving suggestions to those who asked for them. Overall, we just can’t quite recommend their fish-n-chips even if the fish and chips themselves are good. No bread and a commercial tartar just don’t do it for us, but if we ever decide to try our own hand at frying fish, we will definitely get the goods from the SC. Unfortunately, I think this is probably the last time we let them do the frying on our behalf.
712 South Whitney Way
Madison, WI

(608) 274-5255