Monday, December 10, 2007

Esquire Club - Madison, WI

The deal: Fish fry at the Esquire on Madison's east side is an integral part of a classic Wisconsin supper club experience. Depending on how your party orders, your fish is either served family style (and is all you can eat) or comes as a standalone entree.

The food: The Esquire Club specializes in fish with a thin, crispy batter. The ocean perch is tasty, not fishy and not greasy. The sides are nothing special - fries or potato and coleslaw. The meal doesn't come with salad, but you can add a surprisingly fresh garden salad for just $3.95. It's actually worth it.

The Esquire gets extra bonus points for bringing a nice sized bowl full of lemon slices to the table before you ask for it. Many fish fry aficionados won't touch their cod, perch or walleye before they squeeze the lemon.

Like any good supper club, you can make your meal even better (and unfortunately worse for you) with the addition of a Grasshopper. Mmmm. Grasshoppers make me feel like a little kid. They're like wonderful, boozy Shamrock Shakes!

The flavor: You can tell from the packed gravel parking lot that the Esquire has an excellent reputation. You'll almost always have to wait for a table for 10-15 minutes, but the wait is made easier with a large bar, good beer on tap (Guinness, Spotted Cow, etc.) and friendly bartenders.

With several different dining areas, it never feels that crowded once you're seated. While seated, please note the red candleholders. They've gotta be vintage 1962 models.

The crowd swings more toward 50 and 60-somethings out for a night of good fish and getting their drink on than it does to families. Feel free to loudly bitch about the Packers, Brewers or Badgers. You won't be alone ;-)

Second opinions
Insider Pages
Dunno Yet
Eating in Madison A to Z
Madison Fish Fry

1 comment:

thomas Bellisle said...

Was there on 5-27-11 First time. The dining room very clean and bright with lots of windows. Fish was excellent. Will come back again Cole saw was only so so no flavor. other than that great service