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Fish Type: Cod (AYCE)     Price: $11.00

Overall, I would barely recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: We don’t eat in a lot of hotel lobby restaurants. It’s not that we have some sort of bias against them, it’s just that they never come to mind when we think of Fish Fry. Those we have tried (Growler’s in the Crown Plaza comes to mind) have been less than impressive and seem to be priced unreasonably high. We decided to give the new Highland Corner Grill a try after reading a favorable review from the good folks over at Madison A to Z, and gained a little more respect for lobby grub.

The Friday Fish Fry special at the corner of Highland and Old University is an AYCE cod affair, and costs a very reasonable $11.00. As you might expect, the place was empty at 5:30 on a Friday which availed us of any table in the room. The very friendly and outgoing hostess/waitress fawned over us (and our baby) the whole time we were there which was actually nice and made the place seem very inviting.

The fish came relatively fast, but considering they weren’t cooking for anyone but us at that point we actually would have expected it a little quicker. Regardless, it was freshly fried and hot, so you won’t hear any complaints here. The first plate featured four fat pieces of fish that were pretty standard, but at least hand-battered. The batter was on the thick side which was enough to cover the imperfections in the fish, but not so much that it was all you could taste. It had a rich flavor and paired well with the basic cod. When our attentive waitress came back we asked for one more piece (since four were already swimming around in our belly) and wouldn’t you know it, she brought three more. Three! Needless to say we weren’t about to eat seven pieces total so a couple made the trip home with us and got made into a fish sandwich on Saturday afternoon.

A bountiful allotment of steak fries were piled alongside the cod and boasted a bevy of season salt. The salt made them plenty peppy, and melded well with the squishy, potato-y goodness.

A surprisingly good tartar complemented the cod and there was lots of it too. It was the thick and creamy stuff and came in a fancy stainless steel ramekin. While it may have just been Sysco it did the job and actually lasted through five pieces of fish which seemed like a huge accomplishment at the time.

The slaw also raised a few eyebrows with plenty of zip, although the cabbage appeared to have been cut last year. Like the tartar it may well have been from a big jar, but did what it needed to do although it did look pretty unappetizing.

There was no bread served with the fish, but a nice side of garlic-laced mixed veggies sat in for it and were surprisingly tasty.

As Madison A to Z so elegantly pointed out, the Highland Corner Grill simply does good old fashioned home cooking, and their Fish Fry definitely falls into that category. While it’s not the best you’ll ever have, it’s hearty, it’s reasonably priced, and it gets the job done. Overall, we recommend this Fish Fry especially for those who love their AYCE cod.
2424 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53726

(608) 233-8778