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Fish Type: Cod     Price: $12.25

Overall, I would recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: We’ve been to every Lucky’s there is and have never been high on them. We liked the original Lucky’s on Regent more when it was the Oakcrest, and we liked Lucky’s on the Lake more when it was Anchor’s Away at the Bridge. As far as Lucky’s Waunakee goes, it replaced a restaurant that itself wasn’t all that great, but we weren’t surprised when it didn’t live up to the hype either. Now comes Lucky’s 1313 Brew Pub (which is also on Regent Street) and it looks like they may have finally struck gold with this one.

On Fridays 1313 feature a 3-piece cod for $10.25, a 5-piece for $12.25, or “Perch” for $14.50. Since I wasn’t sure if it was real lake perch or not, I stuck to the 5-piece which winds up being a whopper of a deal at twelve and a quarter. Unfortunately, and there is no way around this, we have to start with the service. Scattered isn’t the right word...absentminded maybe? Flustered? I don’t know exactly, but I do know it was not good. Our college-aged waitress took our order and disappeared into the crowd – purportedly on her way to the kitchen or the POS or wherever. About 15 minutes later the fish was delivered by the kitchen, but the wife’s salad didn’t accompany it, nor did my tartar. Our waitress reappeared solely to take the order from the table next to us a few minutes later, at which point we caught her eye and asked for the sauce and the salad. She smiled and we felt like it would be right out…it wasn’t. I was famished so I ate a full piece without tartar which, to their credit, was good even sans-sauce. I ate slow and got part way into the next before the sauce finally surfaced. Unfortunately, it ended up not being worth the wait (more on that later). The tardy salad found its way to the table around an hour later after several inquiries, and well after the gents had finished their fish and relieved themselves of Lucky’s company with a trip to Greenbush and some McDonald’s ice cream. To their credit they comped the salad without request to do so which shows they are at least somewhat business savvy.

Sooooooo… back to the actual food, which as we mentioned, was good. The fiver of fish was split with MFF junior and featured a golden beer batter that was substantive but didn’t drown the fish. It had a smooth and creamy flavor that cuddled up to the big flaky planks of cod. The hearty pieces, two of which made for a fine fish sammich come Sunday, filled the belly with little effort. While the moderately thick batter looked like a real grease sponge there was actually almost none to be found. It was pretty remarkable really and pleasantly surprising. The best fish we’ve had at a Lucky’s, hands down.

The portion of fries looked puny compared to the bountiful fish, but was actually not all that conservative. They were mostly hidden under the boatload of cod and while the thick-cut spuds were clearly straight from a bag they did the job. They were fried to the softer side of the doneness spectrum, which would likely turn some Fry fans off, but they worked just fine for me.

As we mentioned above, the tartar was not worth the wait as it had a bit of an odd taste. The flavor oh-so-familiar and when we saw the Kipp’s truck parked next to the building we figured out why and where…the Coliseum and back in the day at Pooley’s. We didn’t like it there either…

THe slaw is clearly made in-house and is as diverse as the come. While this level of diversity can be a bad thing, it totally worked here. Lots of fresh red and green pepper, onion, and more were finely chopped so they didn’t stand out too much from the cabbage and cream, but added a welcome change. It was incredibly well balanced and one slaw I actually wanted more of.

To top things off, a whole fat slice of real marble rye Pac-Maned the plate. It was so large a single butter packet wasn’t near enough to cover it all. Remarkable.

Like I say, we’ve been to every Lucky’s and can say this is easily the best Fish Fry we’ve had at any of them (despite the sloppy service). Overall, we recommend this Fish Fry and will give them another chance to prove they have the total package. We think they do and are never the sort to let one bad apple spoil the bunch.
1313 Regent Street
Madison, WI 53715

(608) 250-8989