Fish Fry Hunter Adventures Continue

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Well friends, it's Sunday night, so you know what that means. Yes, Entourage is on, but aside from that, it means that we've put another Friday night fish fry behind us, and I know you're all itching to hear about the latest adventure.

My lifelong friend, Dan, lives in Lake Mills, so after work on Friday night, we hopped into the car and made the short jaunt down the incredibly bumpy, uneven, and terribly uncomfortable I-94 to meet up with him in L-town. We tossed around potential candidates for our fish fry adventures - J & J's Bar & Grill is conveniently located across from Dan's shop, but he was concerned that it would be too smokey. The Sand Bar was another option, but the portions had left Dan unimpressed. Carp's was a new place in Lake Mills, but Dan thought it too might be too smokey. Why the heck can't all of Wisconsin go smoke free? I swear that more people smoke in this state than any other state... it's so gross.

So, we decided to head north to Milford, where the Milford Hills Hunt Club awaited us. We pulled into the parking lot and were immediately impressed with the surroundings. The Hunt Club is nestled in the middle of nowhere - fields, trees, and rolling hills are all that you can see for miles. It's quite a gorgeous setting for a restaurant / hunting club.

Hunting appears to be the main focus of this place, as evidenced by the sign out front that encourages folks to clean their boots prior to entering the clubhouse:


We made our way inside - Mark was obviously on a mission for some fish...


Once inside, the hunting theme continues - there are game animals (ick) all over the place; apparently they came from a private collection by way of a gentleman who passed away and his wife then donated all of the "trophies." I don't quite agree with trophy hunting, but that's a discussion best saved for another time and place.

Here's the main dining room:


Our table wouldn't be ready for a good 45 minutes, so we had some time to investigate the place. We stumbled across a cooler that was full of wild fare, including Pheasant Chilli - sounded interesting:


Here's a view from the large back deck - looks like they were preparing for a wedding or some type of ceremony this weekend.


After strolling around the grounds for a while, we settled at the bar, where I noticed these nifty little coaster holders:


So, you get the idea - hunting is definitely the theme at the Milford Hills Hunt Club. We were seated after a solid 45-minute wait, and we anxiously placed our orders - Lake Perch and Cod all around. The fish wasn't "all you can eat," and it didn't offer any options as far as side dishes went. Each plate came with: 2 potato pancakes, fries, and condiments (tartar sauce, coleslaw, and apple sauce).

The fish arrived after a bit - here it is:


The potato pancakes were tiny and largely flavorless. They looked as though they should've been bursting with flavor - I could spy hints of green onion, carrots, and onion, but talk about disappointing. They were incredibly plain and lifeless - nothing to get excited or even interested in.

The fish? Again, nothing exciting. Bland, a tad greasy, and terribly "ordinary." A blind taste test between this fish and something from the freezer section (like Vande Kemps) would be a toss up...

The fries were decent - but they weren't great enough to carry the entire meal.

And then came the bill.... the Hunt Club sure is proud of its fish - our dinner was nearly $100 with a modest tip. That's ridiculous. The Hunt Club = FAIL. But, I'm glad we went - it was a good experience, and it's always great to hang out with Dan.

So with a bad fish fry under the belt, it was critical that the weekend see some culinary redemption. Come Saturday evening, the tummy was a rumblin' for something satisfying - perhaps a burger?

Headed down the road to the Oakcrest Tavern, where the burgers are legendary, the steaks a best kept secret, and the beers ice cold and reasonably priced. The place is rather smallish - it seats perhaps 50-60 people at the most. First up on the menu - cheese curds, of course:


The curds were exactly like the ones that are served at The Avenue Bar, which is a good thing. The Avenue's curds were a solid example of a good cheese curd; the Oakcrest apparently knows good curds, too.

Within a few minutes, the waitress brought out the main dish - a deliciously fresh, perfectly grilled, bursting with flavor cheeseburger. Not a hint of grease - expertly seared and cooked to a wonderful medium - the cheese perfectly melted, the bun light and toasted. This, my friends, is a real meal: an Oakcrest burger.


The fries were equally wonderful - super crispy, light, airy, and full of potatoey flavor. Ahh, what a great meal - way better than the previous night's fish fry, and a fraction of the cost. A burger at the Oakcrest is $4.75. Not bad. Oh, did I mention they make the burgers by hand from steak trimmings that they get from the butcher shop that's located directly across the street? Yeah, that's probably part of the reason why the burgers are so delicious.

Speaking of steaks, I noticed my fair share of people dining on some incredible-looking steaks. The tenderloin appeared to be unreal - thick, juicy, and once again perfectly cooked. The prime rib looked equally excellent - cooked to a perfect medium rare. There'll definitely be more trips to the Oakcrest, if not for a burger, then a steak or six.

So there you have it... the weekend in food. Until next Friday, this is your friendly neighborhood fish fry hunter signing off.

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