Saturday, July 12, 2008

Orpheum Lobby Restaurant - Madison, WI

The deal: $14 at the Orpheum gets you all-you-can-eat breaded & fried bluegill, fries and coleslaw. I know it's all-you-can-eat, but for $14 I'd also expect my choice of soup or salad.

The food: Both me and my dining companion opted (with the helpful suggestion of our waitress) to substitute a green salad for our fries. So, we both received heaping plates of fish and salad. The salad was a delicious combination of greens, carrots, onions and warm chevre with a perfectly light lemon balsamic vinaigrette.

The dressing was an ideal complement to the lemon juice I squeezed over the fish. The fish itself was, for the most part, excellent. The breading was exceptionally crispy and the fish was tasty without being overly fishy. My only complaint was that the breading was bland. The Orpheum would do well to a little beer and possibly even some lemon juice to the batter.

The flavor: The Orpheum's fish fry is worlds away from the typical Wisconsin supper club experience. While you may miss the traditions, it does have advantages, like a great wine and drink menu. My grapefruit-infused mojito, for example, hit the spot on a hot summer night.

The restaurant itself is a little bizarre. It's referred to as the "Lobby Restaurant" for a reason. It's literally in the lobby of the theatre. This means that it's noisy and busy, but does provide ample opportunities for people watching. For even more people watching, you could get a table outside and see all of the State Street crazies up close and personal.

Second opinions:
Fish Fry Madison
Madison Fish Fry