Fish Type: Bluegill Price: $12.00
Overall, I would recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Good|
French Fry Score: Good
Tartar Score: Excellent
Bread Score: Good
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: Last week was an odd one for Fish Fry since it was the day after Christmas and we weren’t fully back in the swing of things. We went to an alternative style Fish Fry and it just didn’t work out. I knew I needed a real classic style Fish Fry this Friday and that is exactly what we got at Doubleday’s in Cottage Grove.
I had been reluctant to try Doubleday’s based on the fact that it shares a building with a bowling alley. Usually (and I don’t think I am off base saying this) bowling alleys are not the best places for a nice dinner, that is unless of course you listen to our friend Terry of “Fubar” fame. This may have been an unfair appraisal of the situation as we would soon find out. The actual restaurant and banquet hall that is Doubleday’s is upstairs and completely separate from the bowling alley below, in fact I am positive that I did not once here the explosion of bowling pins during my meal. On Friday nights Doubleday’s does a massive Fish Fry that seems to be their big event for the week and let me tell you this was an event.
Doubleday’s is not messing around and they throw out the full gamut of fish options on Friday Nights. They have Cod, Walleye, Lake Perch, Bluegill as well as some non-fish options. You can check their website in the link below for prices but everything was more than reasonable. Since I knew Gabe would go for the Cod my choice was narrowed down to freshwater fish, and I opted for the Bluegill. A trip to the salad bar is included with the all the fish except for the cod. If you get cod it can be added for a dollar more and is definitely worth the upgrade over a coleslaw/cottage cheese option. I got the clam chowder which was decent but certainly not great. It tasted very clammy, but I’m not sure if I ever once actually bit into any clam, hmmm? Still, with a Fish Fry I don’t even expect to get a soup and salad bar so it was very nice upgrade over the standard. We enjoyed our salads and within 5 minutes or so our dinners were ready.
The plates came from the kitchen as hot as can be. My fish and fries were scalding. They claim to serve a half pound of Bluegill with each order and I can verify that it’s true. My plate was covered with 12-14 mid to large sized Bluegill filets which were well cooked and had a very flavorful, but not overbearing batter. They were delicious. The cod seemed to enjoy the same batter which clearly had some sort of spices in it that made it tasty and unique. Overall, I would say the Bluegill was better Bluegill than the Cod was Cod. Gabe is a bit of a Cod aficionado and thought the opposite. Regardless, they were both very good, and can easily be recommended.
The French fries were also on the money. They were shoestring style, served hot and crispy and absolutely delicious. The tartar sauce was also dead on and did everything to enhance my fish without drawing too much unnecessary attention. The bread was a standard style dinner roll and was available on the salad bar, it was also above average.
The atmosphere at Doubleday’s is kind of odd since it is basically one large room with a bar at one end that can be divided in half with a big curtain. If you grew up in Wisconsin you have seen this sort of thing before so it isn’t really surprising but some might think it’s kind of cheesy. For me, it is all part of the ambiance. The service at Doubleday’s was not great however. It seemed like there was basically one very busy lady running around taking care of every table in the place. While she did admirably it was just kind of unsettling to see her buzzing around here and there all night. At least she got our fish out when it was hot and fresh, I give her props for that.
Doubleday’s also offers an AYCE Fish and Chicken buffet but I find these can be hit and miss. One thing that did impress me was the fact that the (somewhat young) chef/cook was at the buffet repeatedly checking on the freshness of the food. This is rare and made me feel like he was very attentive and that our food would be good as well, and it was.
Overall this was a great Fish Fry there is not much more that needs to be said. Whether it is a Supper Club, a dive bar or in this case a bowling alley, you never know where great Fish Fry is going to show up so you need to actually try them for youself. And after all is said and done you can just head downstairs and bowl a couple games, after all Shabbas isn’t until tomorrow.
4586 Baxter Road
Cottage Grove, WI 53527