Fish Fry - We May Have A New Winner

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I swore that I was going to eat "well" this weekend... no fried foods, no donuts, no popcorn - nothing "bad." I didn't need to scarf down 300 pieces of fish and half-a-dozen donuts and an order or three of cheese curds, no sir. I was bound and determined to eat like a good boy.

Well, Friday came along, and before you knew it, the clock was reading 3:00pm, and I hadn't eaten anything... I was in meetings most of the day, or on the phone, and time just flew by. Starving and well aware that if I didn't eat something immediately, I'd be pigging out in a matter of hours, I gulped down my very favorite new treat: 1/2 cup of Dannon Light & Fit Vanilla Yogurt with 1/2 cup of Fiber One Cereal mixed in. Oh man - it's so delicious, and it's only 115 calories. It'll keep you full (and regular) for a long time, too.

That snack kept me perfectly content as we made the drive up to Schaumburg's Dinner Club, which is located exactly in the "middle of no where" - just outside of Randolph, Wisconsin. It took about 1.5 hours to drive there, and the drive included some roads that may not have seen traffic in quite some time.

We arrived at the Dinner Club and made our way into the crowded, smoky bar area. We put in our name for a table and took the first available seat we could find, which just so happened to be at the bar. The bar is a bit odd; there's not much to look at, but what few things are hanging from the walls, they're primarily Dallas Cowboys items... not sure what that's about... but here's a photo of the bar area:


The place looks vacant in that picture because literally about 3 seconds before I took the picture, a group of about 15 people were seated. The empty seats that you see in the above photo were quickly occupied by other people who were waiting for their tables to become available.

The bar was smoky - dreadfully so... I can't wait for Wisconsin to go entirely smoke-free. So, to help cut the smoke, we ordered the customary Old Fashioned:


It was: not muddled, wasn't made with cherries in the mix, didn't use Squirt, and had a ton of really cheap whiskey. So, not a winner. I took a single sip of it and called it quits. I browsed the menu and spied all sorts of goodies - cheese curds, onion rings, potato wedges, hamburgers, cakes... My "good eating" nerve was growing weak and frail...

After about forty-five minutes of waiting, our table was ready. At Schaumburg's, you're seated in what appears to be the living room of an old house - the place is pretty large, and it's pretty cool inside. It also has an interesting "back story" - more on that in a bit. For now, here's a shot of one of the dining areas:


We ordered the french onion soup, which was wonderful. It featured a full, beefy flavor, with a hint of saltiness, and just enough of that onion "bite" to keep you honest. The soup was complimented by a nice rye bread that was soft and flavorful. I'm told the coleslaw was excellent as well.

Just as we were finishing our soup, the fish arrived - deep fried cod, served "all you can eat."


The fish was absolutely spectacular. Better than almost any fish we've had to date. What made it so good? It's hard to put a finger on "exactly" what it was about it - the breading was perfect. The texture and crispiness of the batter was perfect. There wasn't a hint of grease anywhere. The flavor and texture of the fish was perfect. Light, delicate, meaty, moist, flaky; more than capable of standing tall on its own, but complimented perfectly by the batter. And the batter wasn't "over done" - the fish didn't need the batter to be great.

The fries were equally excellent; we also tried the broasted potatoes and they were superb.

Several plates of that fish were consumed, and every piece from every plate was as good as the next. There wasn't a single bad thing about any portion of the dinner - it was all incredible. So much so that my "good eating vow" went right out the window - I must have had 15 pieces of fish.

So, with the commitment to eat good trampled and forgotten, we decided to try the Schaumtorte desert - a meringue of sorts, topped with fresh strawberries.


The torte was good, but not stellar like the fish was. The coffee, however was incredible as well - Cetavo-brand (exclusive to Sysco); it's so tasty - smooth and delicious.

We left the place impressed. Yes, it's true - Schaumburg's Dinner Club is hosted in what was once a brothel... ok, so yeah - that's odd. But the place has character - natural character, and that counts for a lot. Even without any character, the fish is so good that you could sell it from a cart on the corner of East Wash and Blair and you'd have a winner.

As we were trying to figure out the overall "rank" of Schaumburg's, we came up with this conclusion - Schaumburg wins overall because it IS a supper club that has superb fish. It's not a place that's TRYING to be a supper club and serves mediocre fish with artificial character... So, for that reason, Schaumburg's may have taken the #1 honors from The Avenue Bar. We may have to visit The Avenue again for the sake of direct comparison... oh bother. :-)

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