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Fish Type: Lake Perch     Price: $14.00

Overall, I would barely recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: Since the Capitol Chophouse is a steakhouse by name I assumed that they probably didn’t even offer Friday Fish Fry. Well, I was half right. It turns out that they do have a Fish Fry for lunch, but they do not have one for dinner. This is one of the few places I have ever heard of that only does fish for lunch so I knew I had to check them out as soon as possible.

We arrived about 11:15 and were dismayed to see they were not open. It turns they aren’t open for lunch until 11:30 so we killed the 15 minutes in the Hilton lobby and headed in right as they opened the doors. The restaurant itself is very nice and has the feel of an upscale steakhouse you would find in Chicago. We got a table and looked over the menu quickly to see what our options were.

The Fish Fry at the Chophouse consists of 3 Lake Perch butterflies which results in 6 nice sized filets. The actual fish was well fried, had a nice texture and was generally delicious. It was lightly breaded, and had a fried chicken style batter which really complimented the fish well. It is served with French fries (although that was not mentioned anywhere on the menu) which were shoestring cut and fried until they were orange and crispy. They were phenomenal, exactly what you would expect from a fine steakhouse.

This Fish Fry was not without its issues however, including the “House Blend” tartar sauce which was really something else. It was an extreme amalgamation of mayo, sweet relish, dill, capers and God knows what else. It all combined to make a vile brew which actually made the fish taste worse. As Gabe said “…they should probably sell that house”. They probably also need to put the coleslaw up on blocks; it was some sort of pineapple infused goo that looked as bad as it tasted. To round it out they also didn’t give you any bread with the Fish Fry but did give you a soup/salad option. I had the Clam Chowder, which tasted good and was very meaty.

This is a classy place so the food is a little more expensive but the service and atmosphere more than make up for the price. The Perch came in at $14 which seems about right. Overall this is barely a recommendable Fish Fry due to the terrible tartar sauce. The food is clearly of the highest quality but the little touches they have made to make their Fish Fry unique seem to have failed. The Fish itself was excellent and the fries were outstanding; when you get the big items down like that, just throw out a nice simple tartar, some old school slaw and a simple roll and you are golden. Instead the Chophouse has tried to “class up” the Fish Fry and wound up with a creation that just doesn’t work. This could probably be great Fish Fry, if you are willing to smuggle in your own tartar that is.
9 East Wilson
Madison, WI

(608) 255-0165