Wednesday, June 22, 2011
The Deal: Flannery's is in Wisconsin's "Little Switzerland", beautiful New Glarus, located about 45 minutes southwest of Madison. As befitting a traditional Wisconsin supper club, Flannery's offers an $11 fish fry on Friday nights. Meals include dinner rolls, coleslaw or applesauce, choice of potato and baked or fried cod. You can get salad for (I believe) $1.50 extra.
The Food: My table kicked off the evening with some cheese curds. Flannery's cheese curds were among the best any of us have ever had this side of a state fair or the World Dairy Expo. They were just lightly breaded so you got the full flavor of the cheese instead of the deep fryer.
None of us opted for salad, but the coleslaw appeared to be homemade and was allegedly very fresh (I don't touch the stuff). The applesauce was excellent and had a nice hint of vanilla. Flannery's dinner rolls, were actually rolls instead of glorified bread slices, which was nice. They would have been perfect if they were still warm and a little crusty, but alas, you can't have everything.
Both the baked and fried fish was simply excellent. The baked cod was firm and flaky and frankly didn't need the butter it was served with because the fish itself actually had enough flavor. The fried version was equally good, with a thin batter that didn't overwhelm the tasty fish inside.
On the potato front, Flannery's, unlike most places in Madison, offers potato pancakes served with applesauce. I was quick to snap these up and couldn't have been more pleased with the result: lots of onion and potato goodness. Mmmmm. One of my dining companions opted for the famous roesti potatoes (basically, a swiss dish of hash browns and swiss cheese) and frankly, while they were delicious, the potato pancakes were so good that they trumped cheesy potatoes. Yep, I know, that's shocking!
The Flavor: One great thing about Wisconsin supper clubs is that they'll make you feel young. The average age of the diners at Flannery's Friday night was pushing 60. That's not a bad thing though, as the older generations certainly know their fish. They also know their classic cocktails, so we were able to take advantage of some perfect Old Fashioneds and Grasshoppers.
Although I've never been to a quaint Swiss mountain restaurant, I imagine that it would look something like Flannery's, minus the convenient access to delicious New Glarus Brewing Company beer: wood paneling and tsotchkes, although I'm disappointed I didn't notice any alpenhorns. I guess you can't have everything, although Flannery's comes close with this excellent fish fry.