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Fish Type: Lake Perch     Price: $16.00

Overall, I would recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: The Old Fashioned really is kind of old fashioned at this point, which seems a little strange to someone like me. It's been around for almost a decade and a half now, and they are still doing primarily the same thing they've done since they day they opened. Madison, and it's tourists, are clearly okay with the genre they've helped to define, and it shows in the extensive waits for a table on Fridays. To prove that point, we showed up for lunch at about 12:30 and felt fortunate to find a couple open barstools, more or less an actual table.

The OF still has the specials they had 12 years ago, and since we don't go very often, and have sampled them all at one point or another, we stuck with the #57 (the lake perch for those of you that like to order by actual words instead of numbers). This perch is the same perch we had many times over the years - light breading (in color and texture) with no seasoning whatsoever. It's flour power at it's most primitive which places all the heavy lifting on the fish. Thankfully, this is the real deal perch and while it can shoulder the load to some extent, although even the most pristine fish could us a leg up here and there.

As has become the Old Fashioned's calling card, a load of shoestring style French fries litter the plate. These fries are crisp enough and really do the job, but fall into the same "good, not great" category as the fish. The thin tartar with minimal zip is also a bit bland but does the job for the most part.

One place the OF makes a bit of a mark is with some real Milwaukee style rye, and a cool poppyseed pelted slaw that is ample and unique. Neither of these things make this can make Fish Fry great on their own, but they help things just enough to make it better than average overall.

What can we say? The Old Fashioned just does what they do and since they are bringing in plenty of business just how they are why would they consider changing anything? It really is a fine Fry, and while it's not one of the best, the only way you could be truly disappointed is if you went in with very high expectations (which I think a lot of people do unfortunately). Overall, we still recommend this Fish Fry and think it's good enough, but feel like if could (and should) be so much more.
23 N. Pinckney Street
Madison, WI 53703

(608) 310-4545