This will be a quick review, as it's a "second visit" of one of our favorite fish frys: The Dorf Haus in Roxbury.
We arrived to the Dorf Haus promptly at 5:15pm and were shocked to find plenty of parking and lots of empty seats in the bar. With our last visit, we struggled to find parking and were fortunate to snag two seats at the crowded bar. We were also shocked (and pleased) to discover that there wasn't much of a wait for a table today - we credited the Memorial Day weekend and travel plans for the good fortune.
As we waited in the bar area, we chatted about the uniqueness of this place. It's somewhat baffling to think about how a German restaurant came to land in what is effectively, "the middle of nowhere." But this place is Germany to the core - it really does feel as if you've wandered into a Bavarian bar, despite the fact that you're sitting the middle of midwest farmland.
Our table became available promptly at 6:00pm, and we were led to the rear dining room, where a waitress (decked out in drindl) came to take our orders. I went with the baked haddock, with a baked potato. Mark and his dining companion Therese went with the family-style deep-fried cod. Their sides included spaetzel and german potato salad. We also opted for an order of cheese curds.
The waitress headed back to the kitchen, then returned with a basket of those infamous fritters. We had forgotten about these deep-fried gems, otherwise we would've skipped the curds. The fritters are awesome - fist-sized nuggets of deep fried dough, slightly chewy, slightly sweet, and just a hint of salt. Yum. Top them with honey and it's pure heaven.
The curds arrived a few minutes later, and boo - they were Sysco catalog curds. Argh.
After a short wait, our fish arrived, and we were excited. The deep fried cod looked amazing - as mentioned, it was served family style so it arrived mounded high on a plate - the first round included 6-7 large pieces of cod, all of which was piping hot.
Here's the cod, as it sat on Mark's plate:
The cod was as delicious as ever. The Dorf Haus has mastered its cod batter - it's light, perfectly seasoned with hints of salt and pepper, and expertly applied. It stays crispy, clings well to the fish, and compliments everything. The fish itself is excellent, too - tender, flaky, moist and flavorful. A perfect combination, for sure.
Here's the spaetzel, which was incredible, just like it was on the previous visit. I'm not sure what it is about boiled dough that's lightly pan-fried, but it sure is tasty.
The baked haddock was a bit of a letdown from last time - it was dry and didn't have as much flavor. It almost seemed as though they had made the baked haddock quite some time earlier, then reheated it in a dry heat just before serving.
If I wasn't trying to watch my ever-expanding waistline, I'd go with the deep-fried cod over the baked here; it seems to be more consistent and really is one of the best fried fish offerings we've ever had. When the baked is "on," it's superb, but it's probably not worth the risk if you're trying to impress someone with a great fish experience.
The baked haddock wasn't the only thing that was "off" a bit with this visit - the service was somewhat lacking, too. Our waitress wasn't as friendly, prompt, or helpful as the last time, but the overall visit was still completely acceptable.
Dorf Haus = WIN
Service = 2 stars (slow, not very helpful, didn't come around much)
Food = 4 stars (primarily for the deep-fried cod and spaetzel)
Value = 4 stars ($44 for 3 people)
MISC = 4 stars (great environment, great overall fish fry)
Summary: Based on this follow-up review, the Dorf Haus maintains its standing as a top-5 fish fry. Even though the baked fish wasn't as good as last time, the overall meal was excellent, and is a "must visit."