Fish Type: Cod Price: $13.00
Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Fair|
Potato Score: Good
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Poor
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: Most of Madison is buzzing about Bear and Bottle, and with good reason. The Bear's sister restaurants - The Free House, The Waypoint, and the The Flying Hound - have all struck a chord with Madisonites with their chic ambiance, vast beer selections, and modern take on comfort foods The North Side incarnation is seemingly destined for greatness since she shares all those same qualities. It also stands to reason B&B would know a thing or two about Fish Fry since the others have it down for the most part. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be.
Now, not all the sister's fry fish all that well. The Waypoint and Flying Hound certainty do it up right, but some how the Fry at the Free House falls flat. I'm not sure if B&B stole the FH's recipes or what, but what I do know is that the cod pales in comparison to that at the 'point or the Hound. The Friday specials look like this: fried cod for $12, $13 for a grilled rendition of the saline swimmer, $16 for fried walleye, or $17 for a grilled version of the freshwater finster. We stuck to the standard fried cod on our maiden voyage and went with all the standard accompaniments (save for the bread of which there was none).
Let's start things off with a discussion about the cod. The incarnation was lightly battered but basically had no flavor. This tends to happen at new places that are trying not to offend anyone straight away. They are seemingly unwilling to take a chance with the salt shaker and therefor wind up under-seasoning and giving you a bland piece of fish where all you can taste is the cod itself. The 3-pieces also got super saturated, but not by grease... The soupy slaw was the culprit here, as the juicy junk just wouldn't stop oozing.
Sharing the plate, and shouldering a good amount of the load, were a hefty handful of shoestring style fries. These babies were done well, but like the fish fell victim to the leaky slaw. A thin and gritty tartar was spared the wrath of the cabbage born beast as it had a Solo boat to float in. Like the fries, it was actually quite tasty with enough pop that it improved the fish about 100 fold.
Since there was no bread the last thing to mention was the slaw, and as you may have guessed by now it was none too good. In addition to the fact it couldn't keep it's hands to itself, it had an odd seasoning that just tasted weird. While I like pep, this was more pungent (like someone dumped a half a cup of Old Bay in it) and way off balance.
We live on the North Side and welcome any new places to this side of town, especially ones geared towards a younger, more affluent crowd. We have no doubt that Bear and Bottle will continue to be a destination for Northsiders, but unless some dramatic changes are made to their Fish Fry we probably won't be back on a Friday any time soon. Overall, we don't recommend this Fish Fry, but think the place itself is great and we're holding out hope that as the cub grows this Fry will turn into a real bear.
601 N Sherman Avenue
Madison, WI 53704