Fish Type: Bluegill Price: $18.00
Overall, I would highly recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Excellent|
Potato Score: Good
Tartar Score: Excellent
Bread Score: Excellent
Miscellaneous Score: Poor
Comment: Friday night Fish Fry and lengthy waits tend to go hand-in-hand. We know this and we embrace it to some extent. With a toddler in tow such waits can be a deal breaker so we usually try to arrive at places that get busy before the rush hits. Usually this method works, but occasionally it doesnít and this occasion was one where it didnít.
We arrived at Fish Tales just before 6:00 figuring we were on the cusp, but hey, it takes a while to get all the way up there so we just rolled with it. Upon entering it was clear they were already busy, but they have a large outdoor patio and when quoted an hour it seemed doable. Unfortunately, Tales takes (and actually holds) reservations and our wait quickly stretched from 60 minutes to 75, to 90, and eventually ended near the two hour mark. Luckily, our little guy was a trooper and we made it, but just barely. Now, I understand waits are inevitable sometimes and we should have made a reservation (not sure if I knew this or just forgot about it) but a better estimate would certainly have swayed us in a different direction. Our take away is this: if youíre a hostess and you have reservations on the list with lots of walk-ins, donít give them ďitíll be about an hourĒ routine if you have even the slightest inkling it will be way longer than that. Sure, you might lose their business for the night (no one wants to wait for more than an hour), but chances are you will keep it for years to come and next time theyíll probably make a reservation. For us, yeah, you kept our business tonight (because what choice did we have after already waiting an hour), but potentially lost it for life. Moral of the story: just be honest and it will work out best for everyone in the long run. We werenít the only ones this happened to either. The dude who got seated just after us was pissed, like yelling expletives pissed (and he wasnít even dealing with a tired two tear old)Ö
With that unpleasantness out of the way letís talk turkey (fish), which was excellent (as you might expect considering the crowd). When we finally did get seated at almost 8pm our waitress was empathetic and got everything in ASAP. Some bread comes to every table whether fish is ordered or not, and mine was accompanied by some of FTís exemplary clam chowder. The soup was thick and peppery, with a high proportion of sandy clam bits to go with the squishy taters. The round loaf of bread also served us well and was instantly devoured as we were starving at this point - soft, crusty, spot-hitting, but eaten somewhat begrudgingly after such an arduous journey.
The bluegill comes in a 18 beans, which isnít cheap, but is reasonable considering all you get with it. The portion was princely as at least 10 fat fillets filed the plate. Each was a tiny morsel of heaven with the subtle fishy flavor it should have and a light breading with just a hint of seasoning. The fish and breading struck a harmonious balance with their great textures, and ushered in a wave of satisfaction that made us slightly less POíd.
As a supper club kind of place Fish Tales has lots of options for sides and we went hash browns with cheese ($0.50 extra) and onion (another $0.50 extra). This rendition was definitely tasty, but in the end Iím not sure about the buck upcharge. Sure a piece of cheese is nice the onion was piled high but Iím on the fence as to the actual value.
A classic tartar canoodled with the fish with a sweet taste and thick consistency. It was easy to love and the HUGE cup was more than adequate for the abundant bluegill. It was the icing on the proverbial cake and further soothed our jaded soul.
Damn it. I wanted to be mad after the excruciating wait, and I wanted the fish to be mediocre so Iíd have a reason to stay that way, but I simply couldnít and it simply wasnít. The grub was superb, it was worth the drive, and it makes me want to come back, but I donít know if we can. The wait was just too daunting and unless we have reservation we canít deal with that. Our advice: MAKE A RESERVATION!!! Öand basically donít go if you donít have one. This is the worst for us since overall, we highly recommend this Fish Fry, but likely wonít be back until our little guy can stomach the sit.
W12690 State Road 188
Lodi, WI 53555