Fish Type: Cod Price: $14.00
Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Good|
Potato Score: Good
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Poor
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: Social media can be a great thing. From the best dog groomers, to which bars have the most expansive beer selections, social media sites can help you uncover great new places that you may not have been able to find otherwise. Unfortunately, they also can have the reverse effect when biased or non-credible sources decide to put in their two cents. With the ubiquitous anonymity of the web how is one to know a reputable source from a non-reputable one? It really can be a tough call. Luckily, when you’re in Madison and you’re talking about fish there’s Madison Fish Fry.
Our first visit to The Vintage Brewing Company was a total failure partially because they were sorta new, and partially because we had a long wait, but mostly because they only had fish-n-chips (not a real Fish Fry). Well, we recently learned that as they’ve developed, they’ve added a full-fledged Friday Fish special, and it is “arguably one of the best in the city.” We’d also heard that it was All You Can Eat which instantly made our old review obsolete and in need of replacement.
The wait this time around was short and our party of seven got a big table (3 small tables squished together) in the main dining room without much dely. As soon as we all sat down our waiter came over, chitchatted for a sec, then sped off to get us another round of drinks. When he came back with the booze food orders were taken and the game was afoot. The Friday Night Fish at the Vintage is cod and comes in three different sizes - small - $13.99, medium - $15.99, and large - $17.99. The small starts it off at three pieces with each subsequent jump receiving one additional “six ounces” piece *waiter does hand gesture to indicate the enormity of the pieces*. Most everyone went for the standard 3-piece since $14 is already pretty pricey and going above that is just kinda crazy – at least for cod.
The food came in due time and was nice and hot, we’ll give them that. The pieces of fish were similar to the waiter’s gesture although were longer and skinnier than I would have expected (one piece was roughly the equivalent of two pieces at Wilson’s stacked end to end). The fish was actually pretty good, and quite a bit better than we recalled it being. It had a light breading, and was devoid of grease, but was a tad over-fried on the ends since the long fillets tapered off. It was nothing if not a unique cut since cod is usually served in much smaller or much larger pieces. Overall, it was good, and better than we remembered.
Like the cod, the steak fries were respectable, but plagued by minor imperfections. In this case, their numbers were small and there were a lot of “nubbins” (must have got the bottom of the basket). Even with the oddballs, the thick-cut spuds were acceptable, as were the gen-u-ine Tater Tots. The Ore-Ida originals were perfectly cooked, displaying yet again, that deep-frying is the way to go when you’re talkin’ taters. I mean, we’ve all made Tots at home, but they never come out quite like this – crispy, golden, plush – just the way the parent corporation intended.
A relatively scant amount of what appeared to be homemade tartar sauce joined the party and while it was good, only one cup came for the three big pieces of fish. I immediately requested backup, as I knew that the tiny allotment wouldn’t stand up to a three-piece of this size. The sauce was thick and creamy, and enhanced the fish in the necessary ways - not many complaints here. There were some grumblings over the coleslaw however...
What was claimed to be “spicy slaw” was basically a raw tasting mix of incongruous chunks of plain ol’ dry cabbage in a tiny bit of vinegar, doused with chili powder. The mix was off-putting, to say the least, and you couldn’t even cleanse your palate of it with bread since none was provided.
While this visit was a step up from our previous trip, I’m still not sure we can recommend this Fish Fry. It is just a bit too expensive for what you get even, and though the fish, fries, and tartar were all good the lack of bread hurt and the un-edible slaw took away just enough to make the meal unworthy of the $14 price tag. It was just not a knock-your-socks-off affair and while I’m sure there are some people who don’t mind paying a little extra for the atmosphere and flair of The Vintage, it’s just not enough to make this the Fish Fry for me. Arguably the best? Yeah, think I can argue that…
674 South Whitney Way
Madison, WI 53711