Fish Type: Cod Price: $17.00
Overall, I would barely recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Good|
Potato Score: Good
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Poor
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: Boy, there are a surprising number of dining options at the Edgewater. Lots of "houses" as a matter of fact. You have the casual dockside Boathouse, the cool underground Icehouse, the swanky Statehouse, and then Augie's Tavern. Apparently Augie is still renting...at least he's still got enough space to make a mean batch of curds though. Interestingly enough all four offer some sort of Fish Fry on Fridays (and other days of the week for that matter) and to this point we'd sampled the two lesser houses to varying degrees of enjoyment.
For starters, the Fry at the Icehouse happens during the winter months when the skating rink is open, and is simply deplorable; I'll leave it at that. The Boathouse is markedly better, but still nothing to write home about. I had high hopes for the Statehouse since 1) it's the flagship restaurant of the bunch and 2) based on the Edgewater's website, they take the FFF seriously. Oh joy, I thought. The classic Wisconsin Fish Fry is cod and runs $17. While I was hoping for the lake perch listed in the on-line menu, the only version of perch this Friday was a fancy one (not your typical Fry). Turns out the $21 cornmeal-dusted classic only ran through April and I'd neglected to notice that timeline. Bah. Still $17 for cod at a upscale restaurant isn't unexpected so we rolled with it.
We showed up around 4:30 only to learn dinner service doesn't start until 5:30. It gave us some time to enjoy the terrace and take in some live music which wound up being a welcome break in our day. When the time came we were literally the first group of the night and got a table near the window with a spectacular view overlooking the lake. +1! The service was on point and we had our food mere minutes after our orders went in. At first blush the cod appeared hearty, and it was. While only two pieces come to the portion they are larger than average and sheathed in a skin-like beer batter. The darkish coating was right in the zone - not too thick and not too thin - with a rich flavor. Despite having a late lunch and crushing curds from Augie's beforehand I ate it all with ease.
The menu claims the fries are house-cut, but these didn't seem to be. They were the skin-on Julienne-cuts and very uniform in size. They definitively had the look and texture of the typical food service fry. Maybe I'm wrong on that, but I've eaten a lot of fries over the years and if they are indeed house-cut they do a fine job of filtering out the nubs and oddjobs. Moreover, they were perfectly fried with satisfying crunchy exteriors and pillowy centers which is tough to do with freshly cut fries.
A tiny bit o’ slaw sat in a standard stainless ramekin, and was very good, but literally 3 bites...and those were conservative bites for a big mouth like me. A twin cup of thick and creamy tartar sat alongside it, and had a pleasant pungent punch. This was definitively not the run of the mill Syscosauce. It amped up the cod, but ran short before the second piece was even gone.
Rye is stated in the description and shown in the picture on-line, so of course I was bummed when none came with my order. I probably could have asked for some, but got lost in the views, and the exploits of a five year old that didn't care for his fancy mac-n-cheese.
$17 may seem like a lot to pay for a couple pieces of cod, but you have to remember where you are. This is a high quality Fish Fry at a very nice place. You're paying for the views and the caché of the Edgewater to some extent so you have to figure that in as well. Overall, we still recommend this Fish Fry, and I would like to eat it again, but probably won't make a point of coming back for it. It was a fun experience, and we're happy to have done it, but in all honesty I liked the cod I had for lunch at Brennan's more.
1001 Wisconsin Avenue
Madison, WI 53703