Fish Type: Cod Price: $11.00
Overall, I would highly recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Excellent|
French Fry Score: Excellent
Tartar Score: Excellent
Bread Score: Excellent
Miscellaneous Score: Excellent
Comment: The Tour de Fish: Part II
When most people hear the term Fish Fry the first thing that jumps to their mind is beer battered cod. Cod has become the most common fish eaten at Fish Frys mostly due to the light texture and inoffensive taste. The mild fish is basically a canvass on which a batter masterpiece is meant to be painted, and in Wisconsin we have some of the best artists around. The Van Gogh of the genre resides in the small town of Poynette – about 45 minutes north of downtown Madison.
These masterpieces fried here are available for a mere $11, and while it isn’t an “All You Can Eat” Fish Fry, the 5-piece is perfectly portioned. When most people think of batter fried fish they think of a thick, gooey, greasy mess – this is far from the case at the Owl’s Nest. This beer batter is special; it is light, grease-free, and tastes simply marvelous. It complements the pristine cod perfectly without taking all the focus off the flaky fish. It is flat-out the best beer battered cod around, and even though the Owl’s Nest features a lightly breaded version of the cod, we can’t bring ourselves to try it again. While both styles are great, if you can only choose one, we’d go with the booze infused coating – there is just something special about it.
With your fish you’ll receive a hefty portion of thick-cut Julienne fries, some rye bread, and cups of house-made tartar sauce, coleslaw, and baked beans. Everything, save for the fries, will come before the fish, giving you some time to dive into the goodness. The slaw will be good, falling in the creamy end of the spectrum with a nice zippy finish; the baked beans will be a nice addition the meal (they don’t come standard with most Fish Frys), but won’t blow your socks off; and the rye bread will be superb. While many are not fans of rye, it is the traditional bread served with Fish Frys and thus we appreciate it. The dark rye served at the Owl’s Nest pairs nicely with the coleslaw, adding a nuance to the meal that is hard to find elsewhere.
While it may seem like a long way to go for some beer battered cod, the trip to Poynette is worth every drop of gas. The fish is simply superb, and serves as a shining example of what every Fish Fry should be.
Inside Tip: Ice Cream Drinks…
A bellyful of fish is made all the better by a delicious homemade Grasshopper, Pink Squirrel, or Brandy Alexander – specialties at most supper clubs, but especially at the Owl’s Nest. What’s more, you know the place is a classic supper club when they give you a 50 cent piece as change.
*If you MUST stay in Madison and still want beer battered cod there are a lot of options, but they all pale in comparison to the Owl’s Nest. The best local option is Quivey’s Grove on Madison’s south side. For some reason The Avenue Bar often tops the annual “Best of Madison” lists, but in our opinion they are mostly getting by on reputation, and while their beer battered cod is fine, it has slipped in quality over the past few years. Quivey’s Grove has usurped their thrown and is still All You Can Eat and still delicious, just not Owl’s Nest delicious.
Next: Lake Perch at Chico’s Villa Tap.
Previous: Bluegill at Toby’s Supper Club.
617 E North Street
Poynette, WI 53955