Fish Type: Cod (AYCE) Price: $10.00
Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Good|
Potato Score: Good
Tartar Score: Fair
Bread Score: Good
Miscellaneous Score: Excellent
Comment: When you hear it from a local you know. Locals usually have the inside scoop - especially when it comes to their hometown Fish Frys. A few weeks back we stopped for a brew or two at Mojo’s in Waunakee, and while sitting there had a nice talk with local boy about the Fish Fry scene in Waunakee. While we all agreed that for a town of its size The Kee had disproportionately few Fish Frys, he claimed there were a couple we had not yet visited that were worth the trip. When you hear it from a local you know (at least you think you do).
The American Legion in Waunakee hosts their Fish Fry on the second Friday of every month, and we just so happened to catch it during a fundraiser to support the hometown talent baseball team. The Legion is located right on the main drag, although it’s kind of hidden amongst the foliage so make sure you know where you are going ahead of time. If you’re like us, you’ll want to start downstairs in the bar where the $1 eight ounce tappers quench your thirst while the fiercely pro-America décor fills your soul. Get a couple beers in ya, then head for the stairs where you’ll find a couple gents collecting for fish, a purple heart on display, and short wait to get into the dining room.
Entrance into the upstairs banquet hall costs ten bucks and allows you one trip through the buffet line (if you want more you have to ask someone in the cleanup crew to get it for you unless there is no line – an awkward system for sure). We paid our dues, and briefly stood in the short line as it chugged along towards the food.
As we exited the buffet, our plates overflowing with fish, we looked about the “cafeteria” to find an area large enough to accommodate our party of eight – we eventually lucked out and found a cluster of seats amidst the masses. Since we all know how finicky Fish Fry can be I wasted no time digging in as the fish wasn’t getting any fresher (and didn’t start that way to begin with – can you say steam tray?). The typical rectangular chunks were okay, but certainly not scalding hot which caused them to get a little firm. They featured a light, cornmeal-style breading that had little-to-no flavor to speak of. A couple of the meatier pieces were hotter and flakier, but overall, the fish was a disappointment.
The thick-cut crinkle fries were also not freshly fried and merely okay. Of course, one positive is that with it being AYCE I could take as many as I wanted, and since I knew from the start it’d be hard to get more I took my share and then some.
Awaiting our arrival at the table was a suspiciously-full looking bowl of tartar sauce. It appeared the sauce hadn’t been touched and when I took a dollop I could see why. Not only did it look unappetizing, but it had a bit too much dill and a funky texture. Perhaps I’m overthinking it and the bowl was just freshly replenished, but it seemed to me that people were avoiding it like the plague… not a good sign.
Of all things, the coleslaw and the rolls were actually really good. The slaw was fresh and some vinegar added a subtle sweetness to the finely chopped mix that made it very appealing. Likewise, the buns were fresh, and gave a much needed distraction.
As you might expect, the atmosphere at this Fish Fry was great, and the folks working were all friendly and helpful. It was a big family-style affair, with people laughing and joking with neighbor and stranger alike over cheap beer and ample fish – it’s just too bad the fish wasn’t a little better and the system a little smoother. Overall, we just can’t quite recommend this Fish Fry even if we would really like to. Sorry Vets, we appreciate your service, but not your fish.
417 East Main Street
Waunakee, WI 53597