Fish Fry Review: Bridges On The Green, Madison, WI

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Looking back to my (much) younger days, I seem to recall two distinct destinations for Friday night fish frys: the traditional supper club and the local golf course. I'm sure that bars also had fish frys "back in the day," but we didn't frequent them, so I only had familiarity with the golf courses and supper clubs.

It's been a while since I've been to a golf course; I dabbled briefly in attempting to golf but quickly realized that the more I played, the worse I did. So, golf courses have been largely off the radar. Until a few weeks ago, that is, when I joined my friends Jed and Jamie for a fish fry. We had originally planned to visit one of the local churches for fish, but several challenges resulted in a last minute change of plans; we ultimately decided to try the fish from a local public golf course called Bridges On The Green (or, BOTG).

BOTG is a rather humble public golf course - it's located near Shopko and Copps, just off highway 30, near the east side of Madison. The clubhouse is large, but quite plain - it seems to be set-up for banquets and gatherings more so than for casual dining, but that's fine, as we were there for the fish.

We arrived to BOTG at approximately 6:30pm and were promptly seated at a 4-top table. The open, airy, and brightly-lit BOTG club house featured a large wooden bar and appeared to have a very nice selection of Capital and other local brews on tap. All of us would choose soda for the evening, so there isn't a report for the Old Fashioneds.

A waitress stopped by to immediately drop-off menus and to bring us a few sodas. We browsed the menu, which appears to offer primarily fish and appetizers on Friday nights - it's definitely a "reduced" menu. Fish options included beer battered cod, baked cod, battered lake perch, walleye, bluegill, and shrimp. Side options included fries, baked potato, steamed veggies, homemade chips, or hash browns.

I ordered the baked fish with veggies, and added a salad bar. Jed and Jamie ordered the battered cod; one with a baked potato, one with the chips. The waitress took our orders to the kitchen and returned once again, this time with a bread offering. I didn't sample the bread, but am told it was amazing - it certainly looked excellent:

botg_bread.jpg

While Jed and Jamie noshed on the bread, I ventured to the salad bar, which was hosted by a small cart. It was simple, but everything was fresh and tasty - it was immediately obvious that the toppings were all prepared in-house from raw ingredients; nothing appeared to have come from a bag. I really enjoyed this salad:

botg_salad.jpg

I had just finished the salad when our dinners arrived. The clubhouse was still largely empty, which was a bit shocking, considering that it was "prime" dining time - just about 7:00pm or so. Up first was the baked cod with veggies:

botg_baked.jpg

The large piece of baked cod was absolutely superb. It had to weigh-in at around 12-13 ounces, and featured a very delicate cod flavor. The sweet and buttery natural taste was complimented by a perfectly flaky and meaty texture. Seasoning was light as well, and I couldn't detect any signs of excess butter, water, grease or other undesirables. It was quite simply some top-notch baked cod; the same held true for the veggies, which were fantastic. Slightly crunchy and not overly greasy or mushy. Win.

The battered cod looked fantastic as well:

botg_fried.jpg

I was fortunate enough to sample a piece of the battered cod and am pleased to report that it was as excellent as the baked cod was. The batter was light and extremely crisp and featured what I could only describe as a "cheese curd-like" flavor and feel. It was truly delicious and even though the piece I sampled had been sitting for quite some time (I asked for a taste near the end of our meal), it was free of grease and tasted excellent, even if it wasn't "fryer hot." To me, that's a sign of a solid fish fry - if it holds-up over time, it's a winner.

I sampled a few of the homemade chips as well, and wow - they were delicious. The thick cut and heavily seasoned fried rounds of potato were just what the doctor ordered to satisfy my fried food quota. If I were eating bad at the time, I would've been hard-pressed to choose between fries or the chips... the chips were really stellar.

We didn't see much of our waitress, but that was ok - the food was fantastic, we needed nothing, and we were having a good time talking and hanging out. We also noticed that by the end of our meal, the place had filled-up quite significantly, and it was growing quite loud - the open space seemed to reflect a lot of sound. So, we called it an evening and headed for home, satisfied, and vowing to return for more of that excellent fish.

Bridges On The Green = WIN

Service = 2.75 stars (nothing great, nothing bad)
Food = 4.25 stars (some top-notch fish; everything was fresh and tasty)
Value = 3.5 stars ($11 baked + $3 for salad bar; $10 battered cod)
MISC = 2.75 stars (bright, noisy, very "open"; nice tap offerings)

Summary: It's going to be difficult to not place BOTG in the top 10... the fish alone is worthy of a top-10 placement, but the overall environment detracts a bit. We'll see where it lands. Regardless, know that if you're looking for outstanding fish, this is some of the best around.

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This page contains a single entry by Steve published on February 17, 2011 4:52 PM.

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