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Fish Type: Cod     Price: $7.50

Overall, I would recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: When it comes to Wilson’s you could say we’ve been there, done that. When it come to nearly every other restaurant in Madison you could say the same about Madison A to Z. Nicole and JM (the gurus behind the well respected blog) have been just about everywhere, and when they messaged us inquiring about a(nother) Fish Fry date, we were powerless to resist their charms.

Back in March we escorted the delightful duo on their excursion to Toby’s and had a great time in doing so. These are a couple smart cookies and we had blast BSing with them on our first meeting. This time around I knew it would be just as much fun, if not more so, since Gabe is back in action and quite an astute gent in his own right. MFF and A to Z, it would seem, are a perfect match.

Our fishly contingent arrived at Wilson’s at noon, and grabbed one of the 6-person high-top tables like we always do. A to Z rolled in shortly thereafter, and joined the four of us. Unfortunately, the ever-reliable Mack was nowhere to be seen (suspected to be in St. Louie for the Brewers-Cardinals game) and it took much longer than normal for his stand-in to swing by. Eventually he came over, dropped some menus (now with anti-theft devices, no joke), and ran to get us a round of drinks. When he came back with the beverages our orders went in – mostly 3-piece Fish Frys, with Nicole opting for the “eponymous” Wilson Burger.

As per usual, the fish came in about 10, minutes and was scalding hot - as it’s supposed to be. The three pieces were the standard Wilson’s fare, and the meaty hunks were as delicious as ever. They featured Wilson’s signature light, crumbly breading, and were COMPLETELY devoid of grease while not being dried out. We simply love this stuff, that’s all there is to it.

Pairing perfectly with the consummate cod was Wilson’s thick, creamy tartar. This splendid sauce compliments the fish so well that you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven, or Davy Jones’ locker, if you will. I often wonder if tartar sauce can get any better than this, and the more I do, then less I think it can. Wilson’s simply owns the sauce.

You know we love Wilson’s, and from outward appearances it seemed like the fish impressed A to Z too. Unfortunately, today Wilson’s fries took a step back, impressing no one. The matchstick-style fries were under-fried, totally lifeless, and detracted from the overall glory of the Fish Fry. While they were still better than those of yore, they were a far cry from the best of the best, leaving all at the table unimpressed. D’oh!

Speaking of dough, the tear-off dinner roll was as starchy and delicious as ever. It was soft and hearty, and complimented the fish/tartar combo with its delicate texture.

If there is one thing that has always been a letdown at Wilson’s it is the coleslaw. Never in all our visits have we enjoyed the homemade blend and its strangely bland bonding agent. Well, lo and behold, times they are a-changin’ and we were treated to a whole new rendition of the cabbag-y concoction this time around. The updated slaw was creamy and zesty, and seemed to be heavier on the shredded carrot. It was a total 180, and the consensus at the table was that this was Wilson’s finest effort to date.

Wilson’s is also infamous for leaving their ketchup out indefinitely, which leads to it being a tart, vinegar-y disaster. Well, maybe we got lucky, or maybe they’ve finally caught on, but this time Gabe’s favorite condiment was thicker, more consistent and actually tasted like ketchup. It was a bit of a miracle, and I’m not fully ready to say they’ve figured it out for good, but things are looking up. We’ll test it again our next trip to be sure…

This is still one of our favorite little Fish Frys and we are glad we got to share it with two of Madtown’s finest in Nicole and JM. Overall, we recommend the Fish Fry at Wilson’s and will be back time and again until they give us a good reason not to. And who knows? Maybe “them bloggers” will even come with again sometime?
2144 Atwood Avenue
Madison, WI 53704

(608) 241-2226