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Fish Type: Lake Perch     Price: $11.00

Overall, I would barely recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: The Come Back In is a great place to enjoy a few drinks with friends (or by yourself depending on what mood you’re in). I haven’t eaten there all that many times and the few times I have it has been on Taco Tuesdays. Each time I have left less than impressed, even if it was dirt cheap. I had always wanted to try a real meal here and heard about the Fish Fry but was always scared it would be quick and dirty, like their tacos. Well, we had an event to attend downtown and rather than go somewhere out of the way I put the CBI on the chopping block.

We arrived a little before 8pm and had no trouble getting one of the few tables in the dining area. We ordered our beers, because what else would you get at the CBI, and looked over the menu quickly. On Fridays the CBI has cod for $10 and lake perch for a dollar more. I went for the perch and Gabe got the cod to give us a chance to compare the two. The perch was served as 8 teeny tiny filets which were hot enough but just average tasting. They were okay but when filets get this small they tend to dry out rather than stay limp and juicy and that is what happened here. The three fair sized pieces of cod were better and had a similar light batter. Both were marginally recommendable but the cod was certainly the better of the two.

The French fries were straight cut potatoes fried to a golden crisp which made them absolutely delicious. In addition, the heavily “mayonized” blend of tartar sauce that worked well with the fish also did a fine job in helping mop up the remaining fries.

Before we got the fish we were treated to a soup/salad option as a substitute for coleslaw. I went for a salad which was fairly basic but just fine. I also got some mixed sautéed vegetables with my perch which was strangely absent from Gabe’s cod plate. They were also just fine but I would have given them up to get my hands on some kind of bread of which there was none. Oh well.

Overall the CBI exceeded the small expectations I had placed on it. The service in the restaurant area was actually pretty good as was the food. The menu actually has some variety which is really more than I expected since I think of the CBI first and foremost as a bar, not a restaurant. I think I can recommend this as a “if you happen to be there on Friday…” kind of Fish Fry. I probably won’t go out of my way to go back to the CBI but if someone said they wanted to meet there I would roll with it.
508 E. Wilson Street
Madison, WI 53703

(608) 258-8619