Fish Type: Haddock Price: $14.00
Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Good|
Potato Score: Good
Tartar Score: Fair
Bread Score: Poor
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: When Joey's Seafood and Grill reformatted and became North and South Seafood and Smokehouse I figured a lot of things would change, but a few things would stay the same - specifically their AYCE Fish Fry. Joey's AYCE haddock was as rock solid as they come and never disappointed from a quality or cost perspective. North and South retains some of that, but unfortunately, not all of it.
N&S still has AYCE haddock on Fridays (as well as some other non-AYCE options), but it's now $14 instead of $13. Inflation is to be expected, so that's not that big of a deal; what was more worrisome was the fish. Whereas the fish at Joey's always tasted like fish, the haddock at North and South had a decidedly shrimp-y flavor. The two marine members clearly shared the same fryer with the flavor of the shrimp permeating the fish's batter. Besides that unwelcome essence, the batter was light and crispy, but the only flavor you could really discern was the shrimp. It was hard to look past it, and it wasn't an isolated occurrence as both rounds had the same issue.
Like Joey's, N&S has a plethora of sides to choose from and since I'd had plenty of fries and slaw recently I went off the board with potato cakes and mac-n-cheese. I presumed the cakes would be pancakes, but they were more loaf-y than that. Rather than thin, they were bloated, and more like a deep fried cheesy potato puff with onion. In actuality, they were really good, a welcomed change up from regular old fries, and lacked any sort of shrimp flavor (which was a plus). The mac-n-cheese was also super creamy and really flavorful, basically exactly what you'd expect from a smoke house. There are also baked beans, fries, slaw and many other sides to choose from so any diner should walk away happy here.
A hallmark of Joey's was their mini cornbread muffins that came with literally e v e r y t h i n g. N&S has phased out the gritty delights in favor of well...nothing. It's a total bummer as they were always a treat and will definitely be missed.
A superb tartar may have save the shrimp, whoops...I mean fish, but this blend fell flat. While it was pungent, it wasn't pungent in the normal supper club kinda way. It was a bit stanky and only made the fish marginally better. While it wasn't coarse, it wasn't smooth either and just didn't do it for me.
The old mantra states: do one thing and do it well. While I wouldn't say N&S has stretched themselves too thin, I can say their AYCE haddock missed the mark this time. Overall, we don't recommend this Fish Fry, but won't totally write them off. Places can bounce back, and maybe next time we'll get there before too many orders of shrimp hit the fryer.
6602 Mineral Point Road
Madison, WI 53705