Fish Type: Cod (AYCE) Price: $13.00
Overall, I would barely recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Fair|
Potato Score: Excellent
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Good
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: Everybody likes a shiny new toy. Whether it's a car, a new pair of shoes, a Thomas train (we have a three year old), or even a Fish Fry, new things seem more exciting. Our first trip to the Side Door had us seeing stars. It was fresh, it was AYCE, and it seemed destined to become a classic. Fast forward a couple weeks and the polish has worn off the apple and the Fish Fry, while still AYCE, didn't seem quite so exciting.
If nothing else, $13 for All You Can Eat fish is a a solid deal, and one you could really take advantage of if you're into that sort of thing (they also have $10 AYCE fish tacos if you swing that way as well). The fish this go-round was suspect as the first of our three pieces was very chewy and the meat very dark. It was also abused by an absurdly thick beer batter that left nothing to the imagination. Pieces two and three (the later of which was ordered on the re-up) were whiter, but still pretty mushy. It seemed like they all had been frozen for quite some time.
While we love French fries they can get pretty monotonous, so if an equally great option presents itself we are tending to go that direction. I'd heard the homemade tater tots at SD were to die for so I figured I'd test those waters. It. Was. Not. A. Mistake. These massive tater tubes were loaded with an oniony essence that was reminiscent of a good potato pancake. There was a lot going on here, from the crispy skin to the plush innards. While most would expect tots to be Ore-ida style shreds that get glued back together, these honeys are mealy, consistent, and smooth.
A relatively thick and tartar came with the fish and covered up some of its imperfections, but in reality it could only do so much. The raw tasting slaw also didn't do the Fry and flavors as it just felt incomplete. The dense, baseball-esque roll was intense and if you're wise you'd take it home and not waste the belly space at this AYCE.
I want every Fish Fry I eat to be the best, and while our first visit had us believing that might be the case, we're rethinking that notion after this round. There was still a lot to like - mostly those tots, but everything else digressed. Overall, we still recommend this Fish Fry although just barely. I think we'll be back, but I can't say when.
240 W Gilman Street
Madison, WI 53703