Fish Type: Bluegill Price: $17.00
Overall, I would highly recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Excellent|
Potato Score: Excellent
Tartar Score: Fair
Bread Score: Excellent
Miscellaneous Score: Excellent
Comment: Not many places take their Fish Fry as seriously as Mint Mark does, and I love that. So many places pay lip-service to the Fish Fry because it's expected - typical cod, some junky fries, Sysco tartar and slaw, and grandma's dinner roll - $10.95. Don't get me wrong, that can be totally fine, and I appreciate that they are making some attempt to uphold Wisconsin ideals, but places like Mint Mark do so much more to set themselves apart...and it shows.
Mint Mark takes pride in representing Wisconsin and as their 100th Fish Fry approached they touted it like nobody's business. Of course, we notice, and of course, we showed up (for lunch). It was worth every bit of the build up and the hype as it was MM's first time doing the same Fish Fry for lunch as dinner. Chef Sean had the kitchen humming as plate after plate of delicious-looking fried fish made its way out and was devoured by its eager recipients. I wasn't there right at 11, but luckily found the Jiggs Man in attendance and was able to score a barstool next to him. I had my own Fry in due time and devoured it just as quickly as those before me.
The Mark's Fry is made up of: five beautifully salty, Hamm's beer battered bluegill fillets, a handful of house-cut fries, a (much bigger) cup of house tartar, a nice slice of rye, and some house slaw. Five fillets of bluegill might seem puny, but this quintet did their job and then some. They are surprisingly substantial thanks to the svelte beer batter that beefs them up without being thick and doughy. It provides a crisp crunch that plays off the silky fish perfectly.
House-cut fries are my jam, and like the batter on the fish these spuds have plenty of sodium to go around. They are spot on, but if you're salt sensitive you might want to ask for a shake or two less...I've heard complaints, but also heard the kitchen will make adjustments (BE WARNED). While the portion has grown (partially thanks to my incessant complaining) the house tartar remains a relatively thin one. It's and dotted with real dill, and a bit sweet, but thankfully (as of this writing) there is PLENTY to go around. Thanks, Chef!!!
Rye isn't a Madison thing, but those who know, know, and MM is wise beyond its years. They are as radical as they come with the traditional starch which helps to set them further apart. Some surprisingly mundane slaw rounds things out, and while it's made in house, it just doesn't hit the...mark??? I know, weird. It's still fine, and better than some of the crap out there, but it's not a game changer like the rest of the Fry.
I knew the 100th Fish Fry was a big deal when they decided to do it for lunch AND dinner and I only hoped it was the impetus for both happening every Friday. Of course, that was a pipe dream, and the Mark has reverted to Friday Fish Fry at dinner time only, but, by god, I'm gonna hold out hope. This is a great Fish Fry and for my $17 one of the best Madison has to offer. Overall, we highly recommend this Fish Fry and will keep coming back until we have a reason not too...
In fact, we can came back a few weeks later when our good friend Paco was in town. He brought Mike from Wickman House with him and we had a hell of a time munching fish and talking about this crazy life. If you've never heard of Wickman House in Ellison Bay, look them up and thank me later. Mike's a great dude and their food is some of the best in Door County. Believe that.
1929 Winnebago Street
Madison, WI 53704