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Fish Type: Cod     Price: $12.00

Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: The foray into Fish Fry is not one to be taken lightly. So many places have been doing fish for so long that ground rules have been established and expectations exist. That said, there’s always room for unique interpretations on the standard so long as they are actual improvements. The new Bassett Street Brunch Club has their own take on the Wisconsin tradition and we recently paid them a visit to see what it was all about.

The BSBC is a Food Fight restaurant which means a number of different things. We won’t get into it too deeply here, but in a nutshell they offer good food, in a clean environment, although their Fish Frys usually fail to impress. We arrived at 5:30 this Friday and the place was relatively empty.

Since there were only a handful of patrons at half past five the service was attentive and the food came very quickly. It all looked pretty as a picture although it was more of a 3 ½ x 5 than an 8 x 10. The 2-piece cod is served for lunch and dinner and the same tiny portion comes at both. The fish was delicious, featuring a flaky texture and a delightfully airy beer batter. It was so good that it wound up being a huge problem since we wanted much more than the exceedingly small allotment. We would surly have given it an “Excellent” score had the portion been a little more princely, but as it stands that just wouldn’t be right.

Matching with the conservative amount of cod was a wee portion of wedge fries. It was easily the smallest on record as there were literally six of them. S-I-X. What’s more, there was nothing really special about them which made the small portion seems all the more minuscule. It was a bit of a slap in the face (or a kick in groin depending on who you are) and doesn’t even warrant a point per fry.

The tartar at the BSBC is homemade, that you can be sure of, but homemade doesn’t always translate to greatness. It was diverse mix, but the predominant flavor was lime juice, and there was a lot of it at that. It overpowered the sauce and was just way off base. To use the parlance of our times, wtf BSBC?

Whereas the portion size and tartar composition missed the mark, the dense roll was a bullseye all the way. It had a subtle sweetness that was very enticing, although some rye would have been even better (and we know they have it since two grilled slabs came with the wife’s salad).

The slaw was homemade and fresh and while others might think it boring, we thought it was slightly above average.

We’ve found that Food Fight places tend to miss the mark with their Fish Frys and this is just more evidence to support those findings. It’s really too bad because the fish was delicious, but the conservative portion really painted everything in a bad light. Overall, we don’t recommend this Fish Fry, but think it shows a lot of potential. Another piece of fish (or two), a few extra wedges, and a little less lime juice in the tartar would get the BSBC heading in the right direction.
444 W Johnson Street
Madison, WI 53703

(608) 467-5051