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Fish Type: Cod     Price: $8.75

Overall, I would recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: Can you image a Fish Fry establishment running out of fish by 6pm? No, me neither, but unfortunately for us, that was exactly the scenario when we arrived at the Villa Tap for Jer’s birthday Fish Fry. We were shocked, to say the least, but did what needed to be done.

After the “Tragedy at the Tap” we decided to just pick up and move our crew towards downtown and give the Baldwin Street Grille another whirl. Jer and I tried the BSG a few weeks prior during the lunch hour and could see there was a lot of potential. We were both less than impressed with the midday portion size, but figured the dinner would be bigger and better. We arrived at the East Wash eatery just before 7pm, threw a couple of round high-top table together, and waited for some friends to show.

As we waited the waitress came by once or twice, brought some drinks, and joyfully bopped around the establishment serving her other customers. Once our whole party of eight showed we figured she’d buzz right back over, but we were wrong. The BSG is pretty small and we tried our best to make her aware that “Hey, we’re all here now and ready to order.” Unfortunately for us, this little lady was a master at avoiding eye contact and continually roamed around the tiny establishment without paying us another visit. Luckily, we had a couple pitchers to keep us busy during her dawdling, but as they diminished and the clock kept ticking, people started to get antsy. Eventually we hailed her down and she begrudgingly came by with a pad and a pen.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, in our group opted for the $8.75 Fish Fry, and like the service, it came slowly. Around 20 minutes after the orders hit the kitchen the plates started to roll out. A couple came here, a couple more there, which resulted in about 3 different shifts. Mine came in the final shift, but as it turns out, I’m glad it did.

As we suspected the dinner is slightly more substantial than the lunch rendition, consisting of two pieces rather than a single slab. My fish was light and flaky, and donned a light colored breading which was nothing less than superb. This charming coating was spicy, and incredibly flaky, blending well with the delicate fish underneath. It seemed everyone who got the final shift enjoyed a similar experience, but unfortunately, the first couple rounds of fish were slightly over-fried, resulting in a dark brown breading and slightly greasier fish. Even so, everyone deemed it more than acceptable.

A couple different styles of fries were visible around the table with both regular and sweet potatoes in attendance. I actually got more of the tasty homemade-looking, straight-cut fries than I expected, and enjoyed every last one. The sweets which dotted the table were also deemed delicious proving the BSG knows its yams.

The BSG’s take on Fish Fry starts typically, and save for the absence of bread and their unique take on tartar sauce, it is. This zesty sauce is a thin blend, with a ranch base instead of a mayo base. While I like a more traditional tartar this stuff tastes good, and I can’t complain too much since by and large everyone else enjoyed it as well. Some homemade coleslaw put the finishing touches on the meal, and was really flavorful. It was quite creamy and did everything it could to pick up the slack left by the absent bread.

There is a lot to like about the Baldwin Street Grille, and we’ll put their cod at the top of that list. There is still some room for improvement in our opinion, but most everything was very good. The service could certainly have been better – besides the general sluggishness, one person in our party recieved fried fish instead of the baked she ordered – but I wouldn’t call it a deal breaker. In the end we all still got hot and tasty food when the time did come. Overall, this is a good Fish Fry and we feel confident recommending it. Baldwin Street Grill, Birthday Boy approved.
1304 East Washington Avenue
Madison, WI 53704

(608) 442-8400