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Fish Type: Cod     Price: $8.50

Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: We’ve known about this “Fish Fry” for a while. We’ve never tried it before. Now I know why.

The Vintage is famous for having one of the best patios in Madison, but apparently not one of the best Fish Frys. Cool Dadio hit the campus connection a few weeks ago, and after his mildly favorable review I knew we had to take our turn. I had a sneaking suspicion that this was not going to be a great Fish Fry based on the fact that CD’s review focused primarily on the scantly-clad co-eds rather than the batter-clad fish, but I held out high hopes regardless. We were lucky enough to procure a spot on the densely packed patio, and within three minutes one of the waitresses came right over. She was clearly expecting that we were there for the drink special as she neglected the menus and came over with only tats intact.

We requested some menus, and she returned seconds later with them only to hurry away again to grab the drinks we ordered. When she returned with the booze, she took our food orders and quickly disappeared yet again, leaving us to the hustle and bustle of University Ave. The food was ready in no time and served nice and hot as you would hope it would be.

The fish-n-chips goes for $8.50 and is on the menu every day, so you know the fish isn’t hand battered. The four long cod “fingers” tasted fine, but were clearly a high-quality Sysco-style product – not bad, but not fresh, and not a Fish Fry. The well-travelled fish was burdened with a medium-thick batter which was quite crispy. The fish was a little oily, but did maintain some flakiness despite its purported extended freezer life.

Making the fish palatable was some Vintage tartar which was likely also Sysco, but still delicious - Sysco knows their tartar, you see. Every drop of the sauce was necessary as it gave the plain fish a little zip. The large portion of waffle fries also did all they could to make the meal. I queried the waitress as to which spud I should choose beforehand, and she suggested the waffle version over the regular rendition, so I gotta give her props on that one. She was good, and made all the right suggestions, even though there wasn’t a whole lot of wiggle room when it came to the vegetarian options. Still, she was right on.

Of course, fish-n-chips equals no bread, so after the fish, fries and tartar the only thing left was the crazy Vintage coleslaw. This unique take on the classic was basically just some raw cabbage with a fiery chipotle sauce drizzled on it. While the sauce didn’t coat every bit of cabbage there was enough there to keep things interesting, and at least make it edible.

Cool Dadio is a man who clearly loves his fish, but he is also a man who loves his women. In his mind, the cute co-eds were more than enough to put this Fish Fry over the top. However, we feel the need to be a bit more objective. Sure, scantily-clad co-eds are nice, but when Fish Fry is the subject of the day, the fish must take precedence. I mean, does my grandma really care how cute the chicks working at the bar are? I would certainly hope not… She cares about good fish at a good price, and unfortunately, on this front, the Vintage just doesn’t deliver. Sorry grandma.
529 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53703

(608) 250-0700