Fish Type: Cod Price: $11.00
Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Fair|
Potato Score: Fair
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Poor
Miscellaneous Score: Excellent
Comment: When you’re in Wisconsin you’re going to find Fish Fry everywhere. From the diner down the street, to the dive bar up it, they’re going to have fish, especially on Friday. Now and then you’ll even find places that have a Fish Fry every day of the week - the Daisy Café & Cupcakery on Atwood Avenue is one of these places.
Even though the Daisy Fish Fry is served every day of the week we found ourselves there on a Friday since it was just the wife and I knew they’d have a plethora of options for the little veggie. Not surprisingly, they weren’t very busy this Friday although there were a few tables occupied. We got a 2-person setup right in the middle of the room and sat back to see which of the two waiters would eventually mosey our way. It was solid 5 minutes before one of them appeared, but he was very friendly and punctual after that so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
I, of course, ordered the fish, and it was ready in about 15 minutes. The $11 2-piece cod was of Bering Sea lineage, and came with a side of garlic-parmesan potatoes, some homemade “fiesta” slaw, and a cup of house-made tartar. The Panko-crusted cod was pan-fried as advertised, and was surprisingly meaty, but didn’t taste fresh. While the fish was adequately flaky, the breading lacked seasoning which made it uninteresting. I don’t want this to sound rude, but it was like eating a gourmet fish stick - both in flavor and consistency. While it wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t something I’d necessarily come back for.
The garlicky red potatoes were clearly made in house, but were haphazardly smashed instead of mashed. Despite the cheese and garlic, the spuds craved salt and pepper which I applied liberally. Like they fish, the potatoes were fine, but I would honestly take crinkle fries any day.
House-made tartar can be hit and miss, but luckily the Daisy sauce found the mark. The house-made marvel was thick and rich, and covered up most of the flaws in the fish. The slaw followed a similar trajectory in that it was made from scratch, however the bountiful bowlful wasn’t what I was after. If I’m being honest (and I always try to be) the homemade mix lacked zest and actually tasted a little dirty. While I ate a lot of it, it was more out of need than want as there just wasn’t that much food on the plate. There was also no bread to supplement it so that probably explains why I was hungry enough to put the bulk of it down.
If there is a saving grace for the Daisy Café and Cupcakery it is right there in the name. Since dinner was somewhat disappointing we allowed ourselves to splurge on some cupcakes, and they were nothing less than superb. The variety of ‘cakes was impressive and the execution was flawless. They were easily some of the best cupcakes we’ve ever had, and we even went back a couple days later to get some more.
This is a tough one because the Cupcakery is a neat place and I really wanted to like the fish, but it just didn’t come together. While the wife loved the veggie burrito, and the desserts were divine, the fish fell flat. Overall, we don’t recommend this Fish Fry, but do recommend the establishment as a whole. Go for the breakfasts, go for the cupcakes, but skip the fish, especially on Friday.
2827 Atwood Avenue
Madison, WI 53704