Sunday, August 21, 2011

Wilson's Bar & Grill - Madison, WI

The Deal: Wilson's Bar & Grill, on Madison's Near East side, offers a basic fish fry of Icelandic cod,fries, dinner roll, tartar sauce & coleslaw. Three pieces of fish will set you back $7.50, five for slightly more.

The Food: My fish was served piping hot, and until it cooled a bit, it had an unpleasant rubbery texture. After a few moments, the good flakiness came through. I think the exact flavor is best described as "50 years of fish in the deep fryer". This isn't necessarily a bad thing.

The fries were good, but nothing special. The dinner roll was surprisingly tasty. Wilson's earned extra points from me by serving the roll with warm packets of butter. Too many restaurants give you rolls with ice cold butter that's impossible to spread. It's the little things, you know?

The Flavor: Get within about 30 feet of Wilson's on a Friday night and you're suddenly hit with an overwhelming and unmistakable fish fry smell. People talk about Wisconsin's "dairy air", but to me the iconic scents of Wisconsin are fish in the deep fryer, brats parboiling in beer & onions and paper mills (sorry, but that's the Central Wisconsin in me talking). Once inside, you quickly realize that Wilson's is sports bar heaven, particularly on a night with both a Packers & a Brewers game. TV screens line the bar and some tables even have individual TVs. As an added bonus, Wilson's features the most eclectic karaoke this side of Minneapolis' Vegas Lounge. Nice!

There was only one waiter handling the room when I was there and he worked his ass off. On the plus side, I think he at least had an easy time taking orders since the only thing coming out of the kitchen all night was fish fry after fish fry. Clearly, Wilson's has a reputation. I've had better dive bar fish frys, but Wilson's is fast and in the neighborhood and you can get your fish fry on without slacking in your support of The Crew!

Second Opinions:

Cool Dadio
Madison Fish Fry

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