Fish Type: Cod (AYCE) Price: $13.00
Overall, I would barely recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Good|
Potato Score: Good
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Good
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: When a Badger football game falls on a Friday night you need to make special considerations on where to get your Fish Fry. Clearly Regent Street is going to be off-limits and most places in the Near West/Downtown area are going to be tough, if not impossible, to get into. We had friends in town who were going to the game, but still wanted to get fish with us beforehand. I weighed the options: try to get close to the stadium and risk either no fish or long waits, or be willing to walk a little way and have a better chance of actually getting food and them still making kickoff. I settled on the the Side Door since I knew it was close enough for them to make the walk to Camp Randall, but far enough to keep the crowds at bay.
Truth be told, I also wanted to revisit the Side Door since our second visit had been a big step down from our first and I wanted to see which was the true Fry. This was the rubber match as it were, and I must say it settled in the solid, but not stellar section. For starters, I couldn't bring myself to go for the AYCE since I knew I'd be imbibing throughout the course of the evening, so I settled on the 2-piece. Like our most recent visit the cod was a bit of a mixed bag. The pieces were oddly shaped and had a few brownish flakes of meat here and there (not the best trim job). They were caked in the crumbly (yes I said crumbly) beer batter that held tight at times, but sloughed off at others. Overall, it had a fine flavor, but wasn't really a keep-you-coming-back-for-more kind of fish. All told, I was happy with my decision to stay away from the All You Can Eat.
The Door is known for their tots, but unfortunately you can't get them as a side with the fish. These massive potato cylinders only come as a stand alone appetizer and between the eight of us at the table we sampled all four varieties. Each was admirable in their own way, but for me the Volcano and the South of the Borders stood out from the Bake Potater and Roasted Garlic varieties. The fries that do come with the fish merely live in the shadow of the tremendous tots, although for mass produced freezer fries they were well seasoned and about as good as you can do.
The tartar was on the thin side, but still had some zip, while the homemade slaw was colorful as all get-out and brought a zing as well. The last bit was a crusty little dinner roll that was step up from the basic bun and rounded things out in fine form.
While the Side Door has slid into the B/B- range as far a Fish Fry in concerned I still think I made the right choice this Friday. We all got our fill of fish without breaking the bank and were still able to get a couple beers on Regent in before kickoff. Overall, we recommend this Fish Fry and think it's a fine, and relatively unknown, alternative to some of the more publicized game day spots downtown.
240 W Gilman Street
Madison, WI 53703