Sunday, November 30, 2008

Branding Iron - Wisconsin Rapids, WI

The Deal: The Branding Iron Supper Club just south of Wisconsin Rapids offers haddock, walleye and lake perch for between $9.50 and $11.50 for its fish fry. Meals include baked beans, coleslaw and choice of potato (fries, baked potato or garlic mashed potatoes). You can add a salad bar for $3.50. A word of caution - the food is served family style, even if you don't all order the same thing. That's right - you get a plate of a mixed fish and another plate of mixed potatoes. It's weird.

The Food: Well, to put in bluntly, the Branding Iron was branded "shitty" by our party. The "fried" fish looked like frozen fish from the grocery store simply baked in the oven. The baked haddock, on the other hand, looked like something whipped up by the lunch ladies of St. Vincent de Paul grade school on a day they decided that they just didn't like children anymore. It was gross - big, fleshy squares of fish. I had the walleye and it tasted okay, but was certainly nothing special and was certainly not actually made in the Branding Iron's kitchen.

The salad bar was okay. You'd enjoy it more if you're a big fan of prepared salads, which I'm not. We suspected that the french fries came from a bag in the freezer, but the garlic mashed potatoes were pretty tasty and not at all too garlicky.

The Flavor: In theory, the Branding Iron's shitty food would probably taste better if you had a few drinks in you. In reality, this will be a big problem since the waitstaff is incredibly slow and inattentive. Perhaps they know how bad the food is and they're dreading having to deal with irate and disappointed customers.

If you do manage to score a drink, there is a nice-sized beer list, a number of cheap, boozy cocktails and traditional ice cream drinks like Brandy Alexanders and grasshoppers. You may want to double fist and order two at a time. Just sayin'...

Second Opinions

Monday, November 17, 2008

Alchemy - Madison, WI

Thanks to my friend Jamie for this review. It's hard to review Wisconsin fish fries when I don't live in Wisconsin anymore!

We arrived at the Alchemy at about 6:30pm last Friday and all the tables were filled. We didn't have to wait too long for a table though. Judging from the way the place was packed on a Friday I was tempted to order the fish fry. I decided to stick with my tried-and-true portabella sandwich instead. My dinner date went with the fish. She received 4 pieces with coleslaw, tarter sauce and half a plate full of some of Madison's best fries. I sampled one piece of the fish. The batter was golden, light and crispy - that's right it was just perfect. Unfortunately the fish inside was a bit chewy for our taste. I'm guessing from the quality of the rest of their menu it may just have been an off night. I must give them props for serving a coleslaw without mayo. I won't touch a coleslaw unless it's dressed in vinaigrette, which makes a better counterweight to a fried dinner. Fish can be difficult so I would definitely give their Fish Fry another try sometime.