Fish Type: Haddock (AYCE) Price: $14.00
Overall, I would highly recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Excellent|
Potato Score: Excellent
Tartar Score: Excellent
Bread Score: Excellent
Miscellaneous Score: Excellent
Comment: Most people in Wisconsin like supper clubs. They are part of who we are, they help define our culture, and they serve as a focal point in their communities. While most people like supper clubs, no one likes them more than the Supper Club Guru: Ron Faiola. If you don't know Ron, you need to check out his "Wisconsin Supper Club" books, and his many Wisconsin-centric documentaries - especially "We're Here For A Fish Fry" featuring your truly. He's been to damn near every one in the state, and when he was coming through town for a book signing we made plans to visit one of my favorite clubs (and one featured in his first book) - the iconic Dorf Haus.
Ron was hesitant to return to the Dorf after a book signing gone awry many years ago, but after some coaxing he eventually gave in. In all honesty, it actually didn't take all that much convincing once I informed him that if ever there was an example of the perfect All You Can Eat Fish Fry the Dorf Haus might well be it. Everything at the Dorf is done right, from the lightly breaded haddock to the pillowy fritters, it's all simply sublime, and an easy sell if I do say so myself.
We both went for the $14 haddock, and paired it with their all new potato pancakes for a $1 up-charge. Before the main course comes the fritters and slaw find their way to the table giving you a chance to warm up, or over-indulge as it were. The fritters are served warm and when drizzled with honey provide a euphoric taste sensation. Of course you need to watch yourself since these are essentially donuts and one could easily fill up on them alone leaving no room for the outstanding fish which is to come. The slaw is the creamy kind and probably better than 90% of the slaws out there, but largely forgettable in the context of this Fish Fry.
The haddock showed up on the heels of the slaw and fried dough, and while the pieces have shrunk in size it actually increases the fish/breading ratio which is AOK with me. I crushed the first three perfectly-fried pieces in an instant and then four more on the re-up. This haddock is to die for; it's perfectly flaky, and kissed with a well-seasoned breading that's just thick enough to let you know it's there without taking away from the buttery fish beneath. Simply divine.
The Dorf used to be a "side o' fries" situation, but the second I heard "potato pancakes" come from our waitress' mouth, I knew what needed to be done...and my goodness, they did them right. Instead of 2 smaller cakes, they lump it into one large one, but it is absolutely breathtaking. It has an almost creamy texture and is extremely well-seasoned. While I'm accustomed to onion dominating the flavor profile of pancakes these were more balanced, and while you could taste the onion, there was enough diversity to keep you wondering what all is in there. Our waitress was even kind enough to bring a few fries with the second round of fish despite saying AYCE fries aren't included with the AYCE fish. In reality I think the owner recognized Ron and told her to throw in a little something extra to make up for any hard feelings from years gone by...
Last on the list is the tartar which is the supper club standard stuff - thick and bold and served in generous quantities. Not much more needs to be said.
As far as supper clubs go, the Dorf Haus is the best the Madison area has to offer in my opinion. It's got a welcoming vibe, the food is spectacular, the bartenders make a mean Old Fashioned, and everyone just seems genuinely happy to be there. Overall, we highly recommend this Fish Fry, and have no reservations about placing it squarely atop our rankings. It really is the best around.
8931 Hwy. Y
Roxbury (Sauk City), WI 53583