Fish Type: Bluegill Price: $14.00
Overall, I would highly recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Excellent|
Potato Score: Excellent
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Good
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: I hear it all the time - "That's a college bar. It can't have decent food, can it? Let's go somewhere else." To these people I say "Just give the Fish Fry a chance. Trust me." The Big 10 has a big time Fish Fry, and it's the best near campus, and maybe downtown, period.
For a "college bar" the Big 10 makes a pretty plate. Whether you go for the walleye (it comes two different ways), the cod, the perch, or the bluegill it will look like it was prepared with love (and it is). Today my eight bluegill fillets varied in size from: look-at-this-cute-little-bugger to whoa-look-at-this-monster! Regardless of the discrepancy in girth each had the flavor you want and the light crisp breading you expect. A little seasoning in the mix lets you know it's there without burying the fish. It is simply excellent stuff and worthy of every bit of praise we've bestowed upon it.
The Big 10 does mostly all the fish, and unlike many places does mostly all the sides, including potato pancakes! Sure, the shoestring-style fries are great, and sweet potato fries do the job, but the potato pancakes (which are all too rare in Madison) are where it's at. These are thicker than their Milwaukee-style counterparts and come with some homemade apple compote (which is essentially a fancy apple sauce with big chunks of apple and a cinnamon-y sweetness). When you add it all up they make for a side that no other place in Madison can match and while we'd personally love a little more onion in there and crispier edges, those are small fleas on a big dog. These are killer.
I used to decry the tartar at the Big 10, but over time they have clearly seen the folly of their ways and made necessary changes. The sauce of today has evolved into a thick and creamy blend with a spectacular flavor. It completely complements the fish instead of fighting against it for attention. It's a 180 of the highest caliber and one that has endeared them to us (and hopefully all of Madison).
Rounding out this Big Fish Fry is a big soft roll and a slaw with plenty of horseradish sprinkled in. Both do their part and are both a step above what 90% of places trot out there.
Some people just don't want to believe that a "dumpy little college bar" can make a Fish Fry as great as their favorite supper club, but the Big 10 is here to prove them wrong. Overall, we highly recommend this Fish Fry and have no qualms about heaping more kudos upon it than we already have. Hell, I'm ready to go back for another round right now!
1330 Regent Street
Madison, WI 53715