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Fish Type: Cod     Price: $9.00

Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: Culver’s is a modern day classic. The Sauk-centric burger chain truly is a microcosm of what people in Wisconsin stand for: quality ingredients, fast/friendly service, and good value. One of the ways they achieve this level of quality and efficiency is their unique ordering system where you put in your order at the counter, take a number, and then get your food served to you once it is freshly prepared. This delivery model has sparked a loyal following as you are guaranteed a meal made just for you while you wait. While we at MFF enjoy a good Butter Burger every now and again, our focus is on fish, and we always wondered why this delivery mechanism hadn’t been applied in the realm of Fish Fry. Apparently we were wrong, and it has.

Cranberry Creek on Madison’s south side has taken the Culver’s methodology and run with it. They serve a full menu of food, including daily specials, all made to order and brought to your table in a timely fashion. Jer and I put in our orders for two of their 3-piece beer battered cod, got one ½-off with a coupon, and took a booth near the window.

The food came exactly 10 minutes after we ordered, and was steaming hot when it arrived, save for the fries which must have exited the oil a little sooner than the fish.The cod was hand battered, but only tasted so-so. The batter was kind of bland and could have used some more salt and pepper. While the fish itself was flaky it got very greasy thanks to its semi-thick batter. By the time I reached the last piece the batter on it was sopping wet and sloughed off the fish as if to say “I’ve done all I can.”

On the side, in their own little designer fryer basket, came a handful of CC’s “Truffle Fries.” The skin-on spuds appeared to be double-fried and were very good. Try as Jer might, he couldn’t discern any truffle oil within the home-cut potatoes, but even so, still enjoyed them. While we wouldn’t say they are ready to rival the fries at Graze or Jacs, they definitely aren’t all that far behind.

A presumably homemade tartar sauce also made the trip and while it was almost pure mayo there were some relish-like items which added a little flair to it. The slaw was also pretty good, and also appeared to be made in-house. It was rich and creamy with a unique flavor that almost tasted fruity. Me thinks an ode to their boggy moniker may have played a part.

Rounding out the meal was an individual roll which was soft and hearty, and served with a side of CC’s delightful cranberry butter (which is supposedly famous, but I really doubt it). This wonder-bun was surprisingly excellent and pulled what would have otherwise been a very marginal Fish Fry closer to recommendable territory.

At the end of the day, we learned a couple valuable lessons from Cranberry Creek: 1 - The Culver’s delivery model can work for Fish Fry, 2 – A bunch of great sides can’t always overcome sub-par fish, and 3 – Serving fries in decorative fryer baskets is unnecessary and a little cheesy. Overall, we just can’t quite recommend this Fish Fry, although we would consider coming back to try something else maybe.
1501 Lake Point Drive
Madison, WI 53713

(608) 222-4803