Fish Type: Lake Perch Price: $16.00
Overall, I would barely recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Good
Potato Score: Good
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Excellent
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: I know it sounds weird, but there really are Madison Fish Fry fanatics out there. It's more of a cult phenomenon than a full-blown main stream love affair, but hey, I'll take what I can get. It turns out a couple of our most loyal followers work with dear old Gabe and wanted to do a meet & greet & eat. Who was I to say no? I mean, I was getting fish anyway.
Since Gabe's crew works on The Square we needed to find a place to play up that way. We decided on the Old Fashioned (for reasons I won't get into here) and set the time for high noon. The square was extra lively this Friday with Michigan football in town as well as the Climate Strike going on (which none of us had any idea about). It was a little chaotic, but parking was surprisingly ample, and we only had to wait about 20 minutes for a table (which at the OF is OK).
The Friday specials at the Old Fashioned are well, old fashioned. The cod, lake perch, and walleye are all the genuine article and have been since day one. Since I knew I'd be getting cod for dinner, and I don't really love beer batter on walleye, I stuck to my usual breaded lake perch. The OF takes the minimalistic approach to seasoning their breading in that they don't do it at all. This stuff is basically straight flour, which lets the flavor of the perch come through, and it's a superb flavor, but man, a little salt would go a long way.
The Fash' has never been one to skimp in fries and these shoestrings could fill plenty of sneakers. They are well-fried and there is no need to worry about running out so you a free to munch until your heart is content. And I promise, if you somehow manage to finish yours, someone else will have a few left to top you off.
The tartar is basically just aight - not bad, but nothing to write home about - and the soupy slaw is made in house but that's really the best thing you can say about it. Luckily the Old Fashioned is truly old fashioned with their inclusion of real rye with their Fry and it goes a long way in making this an authentic experience. I love rye.
For a while the Old Fashioned was showing up on "Best of" lists with regularity and while we always thought it was a fine Fry, we never considered it one of the best. Time has seemingly caught up with them (as has public opinion) and while it's still a failsafe Fry it's far from the top. Overall, we recommend this Fish Fry and will undoubtedly be back when need something safe, but aren't going to put it on out "must visit" list any time soon.
Oh yeah, all reviews aside, meeting Gabe's Zendesk team was a blast. Hey fellas!
23 N. Pinckney Street
Madison, WI 53703