Dorf-Haus: Well worth the drive


Well, there went another week. It seems like I was posting a Fish Fry update only yesterday... The time goes by far too quickly, that's for sure.

It's becoming a bit more difficult to find good fish fries that are both popular and close in proximity to Madison; we get plenty of suggestions for places that are probably quite fantastic, but unfortunately are located in rather diverse locations - these options include: "The Gone Fish Inn" in Mount Vernon, "The Night Owl," in Evansville, and of all things, a gas station in Lancaster...

We definitely want to try as many fish fries as possible, but time isn't always on our side... so, we weigh the options and choose carefully. This past Friday's choice proved to be a winner in every sense of the term. Read on.

I'd read good things about a little German restaurant known as "The Dorf Haus," especially with regard to their fish fry. A quick peek at the map showed the drive wouldn't be terrible - maybe 30 minutes or so from Madison. So we saddled-up and hit the road, our tummies-a-rumblin', tastebuds-a-waterin'.

The Dorf Haus is located in Roxsbury, Wisconsin, which is a town that appears to consist of a few bars, a church or two, and a handful of houses. Very quaint, to say the least, and we had no problem finding the Dorf Haus - the parking lot was packed (overflowing, actually) with cars. Definitely a good sign.

We wandered into the bar area and put in our names for a table. The hostess indicated it would be "at least an hour" before we would be seated. Yikes! So, we ordered a few beers (The Dorf only offers German brews on tap - another bonus) and went on the hunt for a place to sit and wait.

(All pictures are from my iPhone, so apologies for the poor quality)


We eventually scored some seats near the end of the bar, which was great - we had plenty of room and it was near where the bartenders kept the snack mix, so our bowl of crisps never went empty. :-)

Mark ordered an Old Fashioned as well, and was happy to report that it was well-made. The bartenders cranked out Old Fashioneds by the dozen - no lie. They muddled sugar with bitters and a splash of cherry juice, added the whiskey (or brandy), added ice, and topped it off with a splash of soda. Total time to complete: about 14 seconds. $3.50, thankyouverymuch.

Our table became ready at around 8:00pm, and we were led into one of a handful of dining areas. Upon being seated, we discovered a basket of "fritters," which were deep-fried biscuit-like nuggets of bliss (and were still warm, puffy, and slightly crisp on the outside). Here's what one of these delicious little critters look like (with honey):


Salads arrived next - nothing fancy to report... Just your basic side salad on a chilled plate, and served by gals wearing authentic German gear (I believe the dresses are called "Dirndl").

Our fish options were limited to family style (AKA "all you can eat") deep-fried cod for $10, or an order of baked haddock for $13. Mark went with the family style, and I went with the baked. For sides, Mark chose spaetzl (a german noodle of sorts) and I opted for the baked potato.

Within 15-20 minutes our entrees arrived. Here's the baked haddock:


All I can say is, "wow." Easily a top three contender for fish quality. I'm running out of ways to describe fish in a unique manner, so I'll have to rely on the old descriptors of: fresh, flaky, tender, slightly sweet, and no hint of fishiness. Just absolutely perfectly executed baked fish. It wasn't watery, it wasn't dry - it was just incredible. Haddock is a quality piece of fish, and it definitely shines when baked properly.

Mark's deep fried cod was even more impressive; they start with what has to be some of the highest-quality cod around, dip it in a light batter that has just a hint of salt and pepper, and then fry it to perfection.


The batter wasn't overwhelming, nor was it greasy, and it stayed crisp until the very last bite. I sampled half-a-piece of the stuff and instantly wished I hadn't - not because it wasn't great, but because I could've easily polished off 15-20 pieces of the stuff. I would've made a scene.

The spaetzl was awesome as well - I'd never really tried it before, but man, is it some good stuff. Mark has spent some serious time in Germany, and he remarked that the Dorf Haus spaetzl was as good as any he'd had while in Germany. That's a compliment.

Our waitress offered us some lovely desserts, but we were both quite full, so we took a pass. We left great tip (the service was stellar to boot), and then drove back to Madison, raving and remarking about the Dorf Haus the entire way. Definitely a win.

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This page contains a single entry by Steve published on February 1, 2010 11:39 AM.

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