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Fish Type: Walleye     Price: $12.50

Overall, I would highly recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: Recently the Laurel Tavern added bluegill to its list of Friday specials and we couldnít have been more thrilled. We took the trip down to Monroe Street the first chance we got and thoroughly enjoyed every morsel of the freshwater fish, vowing to return shortly. It was only a couple months before we made good on that promise, but alas, the bluegill was nowhere to be found. We were definitely disappointed, but took solace in the fact that the Laurelís famous walleye was still available for the taking. And take we did.

For starters, the Laurel is one of those neighborhood bars that clearly appreciates their regulars, but it can come at the expense of those they donít see every day. On our recent visits we were able to procure a barstool instantly only to sit and wait for several minutes for the bartender to come over even though we caught his eye almost immediately. Eventually weíll get a beer and an order in, but itís almost as if they want you to prove your worth by not getting fed up and walking out first. Good thing weíre stubborn when it comes to our fish.

The Laurel serves an ample amount of fish on Friday and it takes a good 15 minutes or so to get your grub even if you donít have a big group. In the meantime your soup/salad option will arrive and help to pass the time. The slaw is rich, creamy, and zesty, making the homemade mix too tasty to pass up for clam chowder or a house salad (although many still do).

Itís hard to not down the entire big bowl of slaw before the fish arrives, but if youíre like us you try to save some of it to have with the rest of the meal. The main focus of said meal is the baby pike that takes up about ĺ of the large dinner plate. The three pieces of flaky fish feature an airy batter that practically floats off the fish. Its mild texture and flavor complement the silky, baby walleye perfectly pulling it into impeccable balance.

The Laurelís specialty spud is hash browns OíBrien, but we had fries on the mind. The well-salted, well-fried, crinkles arrived in a big portion and were just what youíd expect them to be. No complaints here. A thick and zippy tartar also avoided ridicule as it flattered the fish just as it should.

Dinner rolls are a dime a dozen and while the Laurel goes beyond the regular potato roll itís not all that far beyond. Itís just fine and weíll happily take that.

The Laurel Tavern is a pretty great local spot and has some of the best fish on the west side in our opinion. While we were disappointed that the bluegill was gone, and that the hospitality is lacking, itís not near enough for us to write them off. Overall, we continue to highly recommend this Fish Fry and youíll likely catch us chowing down on Monroe again before long.
2505 Monroe Street
Madison, WI 53711

(608) 270-3600