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Fish Type: Cod (AYCE)     Price: $13.00

Overall, I would highly recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: Most people in Madison know about Samba. I mean, it's meat served from a sword so naturally word gets around about that sort of thing...but what is less publicised is the bar below the Brazilian themed hot spot. Truth be told, I also had no idea there was a restaurant under there, and judging from the number of patrons present at noon of Friday no one else does either. Maybe they should...

Apparently the bar has historically been more of an offshoot of Samba - a place to sit and wait for a table with a similar vibe to that of the sword weilding servers spot overhead. Recently they have reformatted (or so I've been led to believe) and while they still share a kitchen with the ethnic eatery, that is about where the similarities end. The "new" Side Door Grill & Tap is decidedly American in ambiance and food which is right up may alley (not that boatloads of cooked meat isn't per se). And what's especially American is their AYCE Fish Fry special on Friday.

I recently talked at length about the virtues of the AYCE and lamented the lack of them available in 2017. Well, Side Door is here to help fill the void with a full AYCE cod Fry for a scant $13. Clearly some thought and care went into the preparation of this Fish Fry and it starts with the batter. While the coating was on the thick side it had plenty of seasoning and didn't get gummy. The flavor shone bright and offset the somewhat spotty (there were a few brownish areas here and there) fish well . I ate three roughly 3 oz. pieces in house, but couldn't finish the fourth and was allowed to take it home although at most All You Can Eats that's a no-no (shhhhh don't tell the cooks).

Sitting alongside the cod were some shoestring style French fries which were well prepared. They were crispy on the outside, but still supple on the inside which is a hallmark of frying mastery. Next on the docket was a zippy tartar that offset the cod well with it's bold flavors. The creamy cod soaked it up like a sponge and the tartar loved being wanted so emphatically. It was a beautiful relationship and one we'd love to be the third wheel in again.

A dense dinner roll came with the fish and was easily as heavy as a baseball. It was nuts, and I could likely have knocked someone out cold with this thing. It was literally like nothing I have ever seen before, and although it did taste pretty good it's not what I'm after at an AYCE when I want to fill up on fish.

A sweet and sassy slaw came in last and while it did the job it was not one to write home to mom about.

Any sort of new Fish Fry in Madison makes our ears perk up, but a new AYCE is a while different story. The second we knew of its existence we knew we needed to make it ours, and we did...and we're glad we did. Very glad indeed. Overall, we highly recommend this Fish Fry and are thinking we need to come back for dinner and totally invest in the AYCE. We're gonna crush this thing for real.
240 W Gilman Street
Madison, WI 53703

(608) 310-4800