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Fish Type: Ocean Perch     Price: $8.25

Overall, I would recommend this Fish Fry.

Fish Score: Good
Potato Score: Good
Tartar Score: Excellent
Bread Score: Excellent
Miscellaneous Score: Good

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Comment: We've caught our share of flack over the years for having the Esquire as far up our rankings as we do. For a brief period we thought they had the best Fish Fry in town and although we've had a lot of good fish since then, and they've fallen in our ranking because of it, we still think this is a damn good Fish Fry.

Now, the Friday special of record at the 'squire is the AYCE ocean perch, and it's a doozy of a deal. It's not unusual for a gentleman to eat 10, 12, 15, or even 20 pieces of the finely cut fillets without thinking twice about it. Of course, we all know OP isn't "traditional" or necessarily "high quality" but who really cares when it tastes this good? Certainly not me. Since we came for lunch this Friday we decided to go for the cheaper, and seemingly more appropriately portioned $8.25 lunch special...that's a choice we wont be making again.

While the fish was still tasty, grease-free, and flaky, the portion was minuscule. Only four pieces of the perch were on the plate and they were tiny buggers to boot. While the were devoid of fishy tastes they were also devoid of satisfaction since they equated to four big bites, or eight small ones.

As the Esquire is essentially a supper club they serve the standard supper club style French fries. The portion was slightly better on this front although their shell shed the salt leaving the tubers are basic as can be.

Thick and creamy is the name of the tartar game when the subject is supper clubs and this sauce was as bold as they come. It effortlessly wrangled the perch and made it something more.

A couple squishy slices of real rye bread came on the side as if to say, "you think this Fish Fry isn't legit, well here's a traditional side for ya to prove you wrong." A thick and creamy slaw also did it's part to silence the critics with a little saccharine sweetness in a big old cup.

This is a tough one since this was basically the same Esquire experience we've always had, but just on a much smaller scale. The food was good, and so was the price, but there was just far too little fish to go around. Overall, we still recommend this Fish Fry, but will always go for the AYCE from now on, it's more than worth the extra few bucks.
1025 N. Sherman Avenue
Madison, WI 53704

(608) 249-0193