Fish Type: Walleye Price: $11.00
Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Fair|
Potato Score: Fair
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Good
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: Sometimes it pays to gamble, other times it doesn’t. I found out about a little place just outside of Madison called Nora’s Tavern which claims to have a “famous” Friday Fish Fry. When I hear something like “famous” in front of Fish Fry I assume that it is at least decent, and should probably be great. I knew we needed to roll the dice on them at some point, but was a little uneasy about hitting Nora’s this particular Friday since we had a sizeable group (including our friend KT who "doesn't get to go out much") and that is a big gamble when you aren’t quite sure what you are going to get. We didn’t have a lot of other great options and weren’t in the mood to wait for a table at someplace like Quivey’s Grove so our group took its chances on Nora’s.
We pulled into the lot after our 30 minute drive to find very few cars which made me a little uneasy. As we entered the “banquet hall” my heart sank a little more as the place was practically deserted. I realized the odds were stacked against a great Fish Fry at this point. We grabbed a couple drinks at the bar and once everyone had shown up took one of the many, many available tables. As soon as we sat down the waitress came over and dropped some menus. This poker game was about to start.
The Fish Fry special at Nora’s boils down to Walleye for $11, Cod for $9 or Ocean Perch for $9. I ordered the walleye with potato pancakes, and chose cottage cheese over coleslaw or salad as my side. We gave the waitress our orders and she dealt us a starting hand of rolls and pumpernickel bread. These cards were decent and set up a potentially great hand.
After about five minutes our food was served and the rest of our cards were unveiled on their disposable plastic plate. I checked my hand to see what the dealer gave me. The fish was fresh from the fryer and was nice and hot which gave me hope. The walleye and cod were cloaked in the same batter which turned out to be a little too thick. It almost formed a shell that was very firm and didn’t cling to the fish in any way. The crispy, dark brown casing was not really flavorful, but the walleye underneath was decent. It was slightly better than the cod which was equally tasteless, but also little greasy. Not great cards.
The rest of my hand wasn’t great either. The potato pancakes were actually pretty tasty although they were more like tiny hash browns than real pancakes. The other potato options looked much worse. The crinkle cut French fries looked like they came from the school cafeteria and the “real hash browns” looked like they came from straight from the local McDonalds.
My best card turned out to be the big squeeze bottle of tartar sauce. It was easily the highlight of the meal, even though the relish chunks were too big and kept clogging the nozzle. It was a good basic blend which helped to take some of the focus off the thick fish batter. The last card, the cottage cheese, was a total off suit and I would rather have just never been dealt it to begin with.
When all was said and done my hand consisted of a bunch of random cards in all four suits. There wasn’t even anything worth drawing to, so I just folded rather than lose any more in the pot. The service was good but with such a bad hand it was not enough to make it respectable.
Overall, there are not really a lot of good things you can say about this Fish Fry. While the prices were certainly fair the food was just not that great, and certainly is not worth the 30 minute drive to Deerfield. The fish was average at best and the sides were ho-hum. Not even the enchanting melodies of House DJ Jerry Stueber could put this one over the top. My advice would be not to gamble on your Fish Fry at Nora’s, you probably won’t win.
1843 Hwy 12 & 18
Deerfield, WI 53531