Fish Type: Cod Price: $11.00
Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Fair|
Potato Score: Good
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Good
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: If you grew up in western Wisconsin you grew up eating fried cod and French fries on Friday nights. As you got older you might have graduated into poorman's lobster and a baked potato, but the fish was invariably cod and the side was almost certainly a basic potato derivative. That's just what people in the area expect, so that is what the restaurants serve. While it can get monotonous and a little predictable this is what I anticipated when we got Friday Fish, and like most people I thought this was all there was to it.
Of course, Fish Fry can be a lot more than just cod and fries, and since moving away from the Driftless region I've eaten a load of lake perch a bevy of bluegill, and a plethora of potato pancakes. My Friday world has expanded exponentially since 1998, but when we return to our hometown we return to our roots of cod and fries. This Friday we came full circle at the Eagles which is where we ALWAYS got our carry out in my teens. The Eagles is still doing their thing with a 2-piece or 3-piece fried or poorman's and standard sides. It's also still cheap ($10-$11) especially when you consider it comes with a full salad bar (which wound up being the highlight of the meal).
The salad bar was fully stocked with crisp greens (not just iceberg lettuce) and all the standard toppings, including pickled herring! The dressings were just Kraft and the soup was a nice southwest chicken soup rendition although it was strangely devoid of any sort of actual chicken. It was also a little odd that they went SW Chx, instead of chowdah since it was Friday, but maybe there was a clam shortage this week, who am I to judge? The bread was also on the bar and just the tear-it-off-the-loaf variety.
The Eagles cod isn't the greatest rendition you will see and partially explains why I basically stopped eating fried fish in my late teens. The pieces are on the large side (prolly about 4 oz each) and not very flaky. The meat is on the translucent side which let's you know it isn't grade-A. It featured a surprisingly light beer batter that somehow held a hefty amount of grease. The errant oil leaked here and there but not enough to saturate the batter entirely.
Maintaining the status quo were a side of hash browns with cheese and onion that just didn't stand out. While they looked the part, they were just kind of bland and needed the salt shaker like Sonny needed Cher. Some stanky tartar made the fish slightly more palatable, but in the end everyone took at least one of their three pieces home.
20 years later and not much has changed at the old Eagles Club. The regulars still sit around the bar for hours on end, the pictures of past presidents still look down on the crowd with subtle disapproval, and the fish still leaves me wanting something more. Overall, we don't recommend this Fish Fry, and think it serves as a reminder of why I got burned out on Fish Fry in my youth.
216 S Rock Ave
Viroqua, WI 54665