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Fish Type: Bluegill     Price: $11.00

Overall, I would recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: Banzo's food cart has been one of the big dogs of the food cart scene (yes, such a thing exist) for quite a while now. Known for their falafel and other Mediterranean specialties it's not exactly the kind of place that jumps to mind when you think classic Friday Fish Fry. Of course, their "pop up" at One Barrel isn't exactly the traditional venue either and maybe that's what makes it so intriguing? Well, that and the tasty fish they fry out back.

As you might expect, Banzo's Fish Fry isn't some big blast of fried mayhem. Rather, it's a conservative portion (three or four pieces of bluegill) made with thought and care. Of course, there was no way I was about to be satisfied with three or four bluegill fillets and after sitting at the bar for a few hours beforehand I had no problem asking for a few more (to which they gladly oblige for a buck a pop). The cute little paper boat comes filled to the brim with fish, pub chips, and what they called "relish," with the fish riding high atop it all.

While I oft shun beer battered freshwater fish this Banzo blend had a soft texture that didn't totally bury the delicate bluegill. It was ultra-flavorful with a delectable creaminess, the dominated the overall flavor but still let the bluegill be bluegill. As far as the freshwater finsters go, the fillets were hefty which helped them to hold their own to some extent. But mostly it was about the batter which had a wonderful taste, highlighted by plenty of salt and very little grease. For a healthy" restaurant Banzo's got deep frying on lock.

As you might expect the fries were far from the normal crinkles or skin-on freezer jobs and seemed to fit right in. The pub chips were conservatively portioned, but what were there were crispy and delicious. Of course, it goes without saying that our toddlers was having one of them, but luckily for Banzo his opinion hardly factors into our rankings.

Like the fish, the tartar was absolutely superb. It as thick and clingy, and really paired well with the plush beer batter. This was no Sysco sauce, and a homemade winner we'd be happy to take a jar of home.

Gluten gets a bad rap these days so it doesn't surprise me that Banzo kept the savory starches off their Fish Fry altogether. They did keep the some semblance of tradition with the "relish" although it was an interesting take to say the least. There was a pickle or two as well as some other pickled veggies that I didn't really take note of after several Fairly Tales. Either way it all got gobbled up.

While the portions were conservative, so was the price so it was a pretty fair trade off all in all. Overall, we recommend this Fish Fry and think it is a really cool pairing between a great little brewery and great little food cart. As long as they keep popping up, we'll keep popping in.
2001 Atwood Avenue
Madison, WI 53704

(608) 630-9286