Fish Type: Cod Price: $11.00
Overall, I would recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Good|
Potato Score: Excellent
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Excellent
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: There are so many great places to get a Fish Fry right here in Madison that people often ask why I go so far out of my way to find more. Well, the answer is pretty simple really - I'm always on the hunt for the perfect Fry and there is a good chance that it's not within the city limits. That's just a fact of the matter, and since I'd heard the Sunset Bar & Grill was a contender for that crown I took yet another road trip.
There's no shortage of places slinging Friday specials on the shores of Lake Koshkonung and rumor has it the Sunset is the best among them (which is saying something since Norm's Hideaway is down there and they know a thing or two about Friday Fish). While it took me a few months to find a Friday where I had time to drive to rural Fort Atkinson I eventaully did and was slightly dismayed to see that there was only one other patron in house during the lunchhour. Apparently folks don't show up at the Sunset for lunch, but regardless, they had cod (3-piece for $9 or 5-piece for $11) and walleye (1-piece for $16) on special so I pulled up and ordered my 5-piece and a Moon Man. Sun and Moon, I guess I felt maybe the stars were aligning just for me...
Being that it was basically just the bartender and I, my plate showed up quickly, I mean, what else was did the cook have to do? While five may seem like a lot for lunch, these were more like nuggets than real pieces so if you have any sort of appetite I'd recommend the fiver - I can't imagine the 3-piece would do much for anyone. They also have some sort of parmesean dusting thing going on that is pretty popular, but I figured I'd stick to the standard on my maiden voyage. The plate showed up and the first thing I noticed was the amount of platic on it (none of which was the tartar). Since I got the potato pancakes there were cups of maple syrup and apple sauce to go along with the usual cup of coleslaw. There was also a cup of drawn butter...I know right, drawn butter with fried fish? It seemed odd to me, but maybe that's the way they swing down on the lake? Who am I to judge? The tartar came in a chilled squeeze bottle so at least a Solo was spared there.
The cod was made to order and had a light beer batter. The meat was already rich and buttery so the drawn butter on the side seemeed like overkill to me, but to each their own. A sheen of oil glistened on the surface of the flaky little nuggets, magnified by the midday sunlight that pierced through the bar's westerly-facing windows. The surficial sheen stayed away from the nugget's flaky interiors resulting in a pleasent rendition that got gobbled up with little hesitation.
The closer you get to Milwaukee the more likely you are to find potato pancakes, and the Sunset slayed the traditional side. Two large flapjacks featured cripy edges and fell apart readdily when cut. They crumbled when married to the syrup or sauce, but were simply superb with either. I could easily have eated 6 more of these babies.
Squeeze bottles of tartar are great as long as they are kept cool, and this thick mix clung to the nuggets slick surface in spite of the oil. It was a big, bold blend that took charge and put the quintent in check. A chalky slaw couldn't keep pace with its platemates with its odd flavor and cottage cheese-like consistency, while a couple fat slices of pre-buttered rye were slapped face 2 face in true Milwaukee fashion. Rye may have fallen out of favor for most, but I still like the diversity it adds to the Fry.
Lake Koshkonung is a long way to go for a Fish Fry, but if it's the best you'll ever have then it's well worth it. While this was a good Fish Fry, I wouldn't say it was that great, although the tiki bar out back did look like it would be a good time on a warm summer Saturday night. Overall, we recommend this Fish Fry, but can't say it's quite the perfection we are seeking.
W7905 High Ridge Road
Fort Atkinson, WI 53538