Fish Type: Haddock Price: $13.00
Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Fair|
Potato Score: Good
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Poor
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: I was walking up State Street earlier in the week and noticed that Zanders was advertising and all day Friday Fish Fry on their sign. Intriguing I thought, another Fish Fry option in an area where there arent that many to choose from. As soon as Friday came around I knew we needed to get them on the list so I picked up a friend, pointed the car towards downtown and rolled the dice. Unfortunately for us Zanders came up snake-eyes. Craps.
The Fish Fry at Zanders (the old State Bar and Grill) consists of two 4oz. pieces of haddock with fries, tartar, slaw and soup/salad for $12.95, seriously pricey for a lunchtime Fry. The food came pretty quickly after we ordered and was good and hot, but that is about the best thing you can say about it. The haddock was simply horrible. The actual fish was incredibly bland with little to no taste. It was very mushy and had a wet and slimy texture. It tasted like they battered a frozen fillet and simply threw it in the fryer. The resulting golden color batter looked firm but fell apart like wet paper mache. It was nasty and I could barely finish one piece let alone two. Yuck.
The French fries that came along were covered in some serious pepper and were actually decent unlike the fish. The tartar was also pretty good, although it had a ton of random stuff in it that I didnt even care to try and discern. It did improve the taste of the fish slightly but nowhere near enough to salvage it.
The coleslaw followed suite with the tartar in that it tasted okay but had a bunch of strange stuff in it ranging from green pepper to paprika. The resulting mix had a strange orange-ish hue but was at least edible. There was no bread with this Fish Fry but a soup/salad option was given of which I chose the Clam Chowder. This soup was good and actually the highlight of the meal which gives me hope that maybe the non-Fish Fry items at Zanders are better.
Overall, this was a bad Fish Fry. It was just plain sloppy and is certainly a failed attempt at recreating a Wisconsin classic. There is simply no way I would recommend this Fish Fry to anyone and will not be back unless some serious changes are made. If you are looking for a great Fish Fry downtown make sure you steer clear of Zanders as the house is sure to win. $12.95 for that? I guess they are right, a sucker is born every minute, this day it was me.
118 State Street
Madison, WI 53703