Monday, July 27, 2009

Cafe Twenty Eight - Minneapolis, MN

The deal: Cafe Twenty Eight, in Minneapolis' Linden Hills neighborhood, offers beer battered walleye for its Friday night fish fry. For $14 you get 4-6 pieces of fish, french fries, coleslaw, tartar sauce and bread. Again with the no salad thing. Seriously restaurant owners, just because we like fried fish doesn't mean we hate greens!

The fish: In the words of our friendly waiter, the walleye at Cafe Twenty Eight is breaded with "Pabst Blue Ribbon, hopes and dreams". If that's the case, then hopes & dreams taste taste kinda crusty with an almost pretzel-like texture. While I love that kind of texture, I was a bit disappointed with the lack of beer flavor. Cafe Twenty Eight has a great beer list, so maybe they could experiment with a meatier beer sometime. As for the fish itself, it was on the firm, rather than flaky, side. And while most of my pieces were great, I do have to say that my last piece was just a bit too fishy. However, no one else at my table had any complaints.

The fries were good, but not exceptional, while the coleslaw looked interesting, but was too mayo for my taste. What was exceptional was the bread - hot, crusty sourdough. Mmmmm.

The flavor: Cafe Twenty Eight's co-owner is the brewer at Surly Brewing, so the beer list, while short, is absolutely top notch and filled, predictably, with Surly and a smattering of good looking Belgians. I had a couple of Coffee Benders, which is the perfect combination of two of my great loves, coffee & beer. In fact, the wait staff even wears Surly workshirts. It's a nice contrast with the restaurant itself, which is located in an old fire house, but is sleek rather than workman-like.

The staff was fun & friendly and apparently filled with Flight of the Conchords fan. I think the fish could have been a tad bit better, but overall it was a really good meal in a great place.

Second Opinions:
Beer Advocate
We Got Served
Busy Nothings
Edible Twin Cities
Twin Cities Beer Geek

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Quivey's Grove Paddock - Madison, WI

The deal: In addition to a lovely setting in the great outdoors, Quivey's Grove's Paddock Fish Fry offers diners a choice of fish (beer battered cod, pretzel crusted perch or baked cod), potato (either parmesan potatoes or fries), cole slaw & tartar sauce. Again, I must lament the lack of salad. The cod is $11.95 while perch is $13.50. One nice option at Quivey's is that you can turn your fish into all-you-can-eat for an extra $1.50 and you don't have to decide until after you're into your plate. No more eyes bigger than the stomach!

The food: I opted for the perch and parmesan potatoes. My fish didn't have a ton of flavor, but I did enjoy the crispy crust. The potatoes were creamy and delicious. All in all, I would have labeled it a great meal. But then, I tasted my friend's beer battered cod. Oh, the cod. It was simply perfect: light, beery batter and flavorful, but not fishy. The fries were also just excellent. At that point, I forgot all about the perch and could only lament that I didn't order the cod. Oh regret, the saddest of all emotions.

Quivey's has a magnificent beer list inside, but you only have one or two options outside. Happily, it's decent beer like Spotted Cow.

The flavor: The paddock fish fry is served up in a tent on Quivey's vast lawn. There are plenty of yard games for the kids and, unfortunately, plenty of mosquitos for the entire family. That said, it's still a picturesque and enjoyable evening full of good friends, good beer and great fish.

Second opinions:
Madison Dining Online
Madison Fish Fry
Beer Advocate
77 Square