Fish Fry Review: Fish Tales, Lodi, WI

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You'll find Fish Tales nestled in one of the many nooks that border Lake Wisconsin, just a stone's throw from the intersection of 113 and 188, approximately 5-6 miles to the "other side" of Lodi proper. Sure, it's a bit of a drive from Madison - it took us about 45 minutes - but it's worth the time and fuel expense, even with gas running $4/gallon today.

I was originally scheduled to have fish this Friday with both my boss (Steve) and co-worker (Mark), but with my recent bingeing and out-of-control eating, I wasn't sure I'd be strong enough to avoid temptation, so I tentatively declined the invitation. A last minute audible (and confidence in my will power) meant I'd be joining them for fish, but vowing to stick to my diet in the process.

Well, due to the last minute audible, it was just my boss and I for dinner, which was fine; I rode with him in his incredible new car - the Audi TT-S convertible - and we had a great opportunity to chat, both about work and life away from the office. We arrived at approximately 6:30 and were shocked to find the place largely empty.

We were promptly seated; Fish Tales has a nice bar area that's separated from a medium-sized dining area by way of a half-wall. The dining room features a corner fireplace and about a dozen 4-top tables. The bar had a very limited selection of tap brews: Spotted Cow, New Belgium's Ranger IPA, Shock Top, and Bud Light... I opted for Diet Coke, my boss went with a bottle of Miller Lite (which sounded amazing, but alas, I remained strong).

A waitress quickly appeared and shared with us details about the specials, most of which revolved around fish. From broiled jumbo prawns to walleye to bluegills to haddock - everything sounded fantastic, as did the "stuffed pepper tomato soup."

I selected the baked haddock with a sweet potato and salad (no dressing, no cheese). My boss pulled a complete 180 and went with the 4-piece broasted chicken with hashbrowns and salad. I was really counting on him ordering the deep-fried haddock or cod so that I could get a full report, but alas, it wasn't in the cards.

Our salads arrived, accompanied by an interesting loaf of bread. My boss sampled the bread and reported that while it appeared to be a sour dough, it featured a wonderful garlic flavor. I'd be shocked to learn if this wasn't homemade... I couldn't resist sampling a small portion, so I cut a piece the size of a quarter and took a taste - sure enough, it was a wonderfully chewy, soft and just slightly crusty bread that boasted an amazing garlic punch. Wow.

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The salads were fresh and delicious - they featured bell peppers, mushrooms, cucumbers, tomato, and homemade croutons. I indulged in 2-3 croutons, and pushed the rest away, as hard as it was to do so. The rest of the salad was excellent; I could've had 3-4 plates and been more than happy.

The entrees arrived after 15 minutes or so; the chicken looked and smelled divine - the breading was absolutely perfectly applied, and my boss reported it had a great, slightly spiced taste. I could hear every single crunch of the golden-battered-and-broasted skin; the word came back that it was "superb." The hashbrowns featured an excellent sear and garnered accolades as well.

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The baked haddock was generous in size - I'd estimate it at 8-10 ounces - and featured the perfect blend of paprika and mild spices. It was baked to absolute perfection; it had a slightly "crisp" texture, as if it had been broiled for a few minutes or set on an uber hot griddle. I loved it. There wasn't a sign of butter/grease/oil anywhere - it was exactly what the doctor ordered. The sweet potato was stellar as well, and while it had more carbs than I would've cared to ingest tonight, I can assure you that it was worth every single calorie. It wasn't overbaked, nor was it underdone - it was perfect.

Our waitress and her support staff (there were 2-3 girls who cleared the tables and refilled water with regularity) was excellent. We had some of the best service I've ever experienced, even as the place grew more and more busy. By the time we paid our modest bill ($30 for the two of us), the place was jumpin' with patrons. I'd suggest that if you're adverse to waiting for a table that you arrive prior to 7:00pm.

I did manage to spy numerous plates of the fried fish fare as it left the kitchen, and every single plate looked absolutely amazing. Based on the feedback from the chicken, I have no reason to doubt or suspect that the fried fish is as every bit as good as (if not better than) the baked haddock. I can't wait to return to sample the fried goodies... oh, and for those keeping score, the cheese curds and hand-battered deep-fried pickles looked unreal as well. Why do I have to be such a chub?

Fish Tales = WIN
Food = 4.25 stars
Service = 4.25 stars
Value = 4.25 stars
MISC = 4.25 stars (has a huge outdoor lake-side patio and a great vibe as well)

I highly recommend that you give this place a try, and let me know how delectable the cheese curds and fried fish options are. I'm certain you won't be disappointed! To give you an idea of how impressed we were with the non-fried fish/food, Fish Tales almost cracked the top-10. That's sayin' something.

1 Comments

Thanks for this great review! We're so glad you liked it. We almost cracked the top-10... now we have something to aspire to! We're going to have to post your review on our Facebook page facebook.com/FishTalesLakeWI. And maybe (with your permission?) include a link on our web page.
~Fish Tales Restaurant
Dan & Kris Cunningham, owners

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This page contains a single entry by Steve published on May 6, 2011 9:19 PM.

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