Fish Type: Cod Price: $9.00
Overall, I would recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Good|
Potato Score: Excellent
Tartar Score: Excellent
Bread Score: Fair
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: Any place with a name like Swanson’s Supper Club has to be good, right? It basically has it all, a good Norwegian sounding name… the term “Supper Club” in it… how could you go wrong with a place like that? You simply can’t, end of story.
It turns out the term “Supper Club” is applied a little liberally in the case of Swanson’s, and I would say it’s more of an tavern in drag. While the downtown DeForest eatery didn’t feature the dimly lit dining room or the sprawling salad bar that we are accustomed to at most supper clubs, it did boast a few of the amenities you would expect. We arrived a little later than normal (8:15, to be exact) and the folks working the Friday Fish Fry were a bit taken aback by our crew of eight. We grabbed some drinks at the bar while they threw a couple tables together for us, and in no time one of the servers came right by.
We had mostly Fish Fry eaters, and everyone except our lone vegetarian, ordered the $9.00 3-piece cod. While we waited, we feasted on the cellophane sticks, wheat crackers, saltines, and cheese dip that awaited us at the table. The cheese dip wasn’t exactly what you’d call “fresh,” but we didn’t care, and polished off whatever remained in the bowl (MFF and friends aren’t all that picky, you see). While we enjoyed all the complimentary goodies, our crew liked the mini-breadsticks the best, despite our waitress claim that Swanson’s did not serve such an item. Peculiar.
Just as we finished off all the (non-saltine) crackers, the fish showed up. The three large pieces of cod were thick and flaky, but a bit greasy. We’d attribute it to the fact that they had to make so many pieces at once that it actually brought the temperature of the oil down. Regardless, the thicker than average batter that accompanied the fish had good flavor, and complimented the creamy cod well enough. While the fish was a little heavy I still ate every last morsel, unfortunately, the same could not be said by some of the lighter eaters in our party.
Perhaps the reason I had no trouble downing the semi-greasy fish was Swanson’s tartar sauce. The mayo-rich blend was ultra-thick and easily picked up any slack the grease may have created. While the fish was not outstanding on its own, the tartar took it up a notch and made for easy eating.
A large portion of crispy, batter-coated fries also came along for the ride and were very good. While they didn’t appear to be cut in-house, the medium-thick, Julienne-cut fries were far better than average, and did what they needed to do.
Some super creamy slaw rounded out the Fish Fry, and while it was far from perfect, the homemade brew was heavy on the horseradish and suited us just fine. We also appreciated the fantastic service from our, not one, not two, but three, yes THREE, different waitresses! They fawned over us throughout the meal, and even made sure our lone vegetarian got something she could be happy with. It was truly great.
Even though Swanson’s isn’t your typical “Supper Club” it is still a great place to grab fish on Friday. The fish was good, even if the batter was a bit much (truth be told, being a fish-guy, I knew this was the kind of fish that would reheat well, so I rounded up the undesired leftovers, took them home, and had a nice little Fish Fry for lunch the next day) – score one for the good guys! The fries and tartar were great, and the homemade slaw was just fine. The only “bread” we got were the breadsticks and crackers on the table, so we’ll have to knock their score down a bit for that, but overall, we have no problem recommending the Fish Fry at Swanson’s. If you go expecting good fish, fries and tartar you should find it, if you go expecting a classic supper club atmosphere you certainly won’t. Oh well, that’s no big deal in our book since good fish and great service trump traditional atmosphere every time.
300 East Holum Street
DeForest, WI 53532