Restaurants | Rankings | Reviews | How We Rank | Links

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: Good

Share |

Comment: Say what you want about The Laurel Tavern. Say it’s old. Say it’s run down. Say the carpet is dingy. Say whatever it is you want to say about it; just hold your tongue when it comes to the Fish Fry.

Like any good neighborhood bar, The Laurel features fish on Friday that you can’t get any other day of the week. They trot out the usual suspects of cod and walleye, but do a fine job with both of them. This time around I chose the walleye which comes in at a reasonable $13.00 – just a couple bucks more than the baked or fried cod.

While we waited for our food my side of slaw showed up and the festivities began. The homemade slaw was creamy and unique, nothing less than superb. There was something special about it (garlic?) that made it almost irresistible. Perhaps it was just the anticipation for the fish, but whatever it was the slaw spanned the gap splendidly.

The headliner arrived booth-side within 10 minutes or so of the slaw and looked just right. While the three medium-sized walleye fillets looked superb they were slightly different from what I was expecting. The walleye I remember had a lighter textured breading that practically flaked right off. This rendition was slightly thicker, but equally spicy and delicious. It clung to the fish with force making sure every bite of the wonderful walleye was coated. Despite the fact the portion was princely I put down every last bite without thinking twice about it.

When I asked for hash browns with cheese and onion I meant just that – hash browns with cheese and onion. Apparently what the waitress heard was “Hash browns O’brien” which do contain said cheese and onion, but also add some salsa to the mix that totally alters the flavors. While the salsa wasn’t expected, it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I think I’d still prefer the plain C&O and would specify it as such next time.

Bolstering an already star-studded cast was The Laurel’s homemade tartar sauce. While it arrived in a standard Solo cup the thick and creamy sauce was anything but ordinary. It blended perfectly with the walleye putting forth a new fantastic flavor which neither could have achieved on its own.

The Laurel’s bread of choice are the little football-shape loaves that have a crusty exterior. If nothing else, they are a step up from the regular round-top-square-sided dinner roll, which is worth an extra point in our book.

The Laurel isn’t exactly a huge place, and since they have a steady stream of regulars you can expect a short wait if you arrive at 7pm like we did. Luckily, it will be extremely tolerable, as the bartenders are attentive and hospitable. Overall, we highly recommend the walleye Fish Fryat The Laurel Tavern, and that’s really all we have to say about that.
2505 Monroe Street
Madison, WI 53711

(608) 270-3600