A (potential) new Number One...

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I know that many of you like reading about the fish frys... I also realize that many of you don't appreciate that I've been slacking with my reviews - I've not been indulging in the fish fry with any regularity, and for that, I apologize. As much as I wish I could review several fish frys per week, my waistline simply won't accommodate it.

And so it makes for a tricky "ratings" system. You see, the fish fry is a fickle event. I might visit an establishment on the 1st, sample the fish, and report that it was absolutely excellent. In turn, you might visit on the 7th, sample the fish, and report that it was absolute rubbish. This has been the case many the time...

There are simply too many variables at play - the fish monger may not be consistent. The batter might vary from week-to-week. A fryer might not be holding temperature as consistently as one would expect. A new cook might have been responsible for preparing the meal. A server may have left your plate in the kitchen a bit too long. And so on.

As such, ranking fish frys in numerical order isn't really fair. I've heard from several folks that places such as Dexter's Pub (currently ranked 17th and 18th) was "the best they've ever had" - yet on my four (4) visits (I've only reported on 2), the fish has been "off."

I've heard that the Avenue Bar fish fry is suffering these days (I currently have it at #3 overall, based on visits from 2009). Christy's Landing (currently #8) also delivers mixed reports from folks.

Long story short, a single visit shouldn't really be used to qualify or rank an establishment. I realize this. But, I am just one man, and I don't put a lot of priority on stuffing my gullet with grease-laden fish on a weekly basis (not that I don't enjoy it). So, I hesitate to announce this, but I believe I may have found a restaurant to bump The Schaumburg Dinner Club from its number one rating.

Take this review with a dash of malt vinegar; give it a try for yourself and let me know your thoughts and experiences...

I contacted my cousin and her husband to inquire about a possible fish fry for Friday, June 22, and thankfully, they were available and interested in joining me. So, I loaded my carcass into the Prius and made the drive out to Buck and Honey's Restaurant in beautiful Sun Prairie.

The weather was absolutely perfect, as evidenced by the massive hordes of people dining in the outdoor patios. That's right - I said patios with an "S" - Buck and Honey's has two (2) patios to select from.

We put in our names for a table and grabbed a perch at the bar. The inside of Buck and Honey's is quite nice - lots of brick and heavy timbers. The bar is large and accommodating, and the service was prompt and attentive. While waiting for our table, we put in for an order of homemade cheese curds.

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The curds were solid. Not quite as good as those from Middleton Sport Bowl, but a very good effort, nonetheless. They were perfectly prepared - there weren't any blow-outs or undercooked curds. The breading was just thick enough to appreciate without overwhelming the curd. The ranch was zesty; the marinara a tad watery.

After approximately an hour's wait, we were escorted to an outdoor table on the front patio. Our server immediately introduced himself, presented menus and specials, and offered to refresh our beverages.

The fish offerings were many - Atlantic Cod (fried or baked), pan seared Walleye, pecan-crusted Tilapia, or the Sampler (Swordfish, Crab Cakes, Scallops). We opted for two orders of fried cod and one order of the Walleye. We also sampled the soups - options were French Onion or Clam Chowder.

Our server departed, orders in hand, and we set about enjoying the wonderful weather. Within a few minutes, our soups arrived. I went with the French Onion, which was absolutely delightful:

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The broth was bursting with caramelized onion flavor, with just a hint of a salty finish. There were two large pieces of dark bread and a heavy draping of cheese. I would've liked to have seen less cheese, but it was a great bowl. I'm told the chowder was "the best ever" - that's a bold statement.

We had no sooner finished the soups when our server arrived with the entrees. Jeff and Leanne went with the cod plates, which came with cheesy hashbrowns, coleslaw, and a roll.

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They were kind enough to allow me a sample of the cod, and wow - it was absolutely spectacular. While the fish appears to be "fish stick-like" in the photo, it was actually quite substantial and delicious. The breading was superb - it clung to the fish like a burdock on a Spaniel. The fish itself was light and flaky. Not a sign of grease anywhere. A perfect fish fry if ever there was.

My walleye came with grilled asparagus and homemade baked macaroni and cheese. I couldn't wait to tear into this:

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I started with the asparagus - while not as thick as I would prefer, it was nicely grilled and featured a very light hint of garlic and black pepper - just the way I like it (and make it when at home). Next up was the mac and cheese, and again, it was superb. The cheese sauce was smooth, with just a hint of bite. The shells were al dente - just perfectly done.

The walleye was insanely delicious. The breading was similar to that of the cod - there was just the right amount of crunchy goodness enveloping the delicate walleye. I mowed through it in no time - picture the cookie monster going through the Keebler Elves tree...

I'm venturing a guess that you would be hard pressed to find a better fish fry in the area. Buck and Honey's was perfect, from beginning to end. As such, I'm awarding it a conditional number one slot; give it a try and let me know your thoughts.

Buck and Honey's Restaurant = WIN

Food = 4.75 stars
Service = 4 stars
Value = 3 stars (walleye was $19; cod $13)
MISC = 4.25 stars (great atmosphere and seating options)

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steve published on June 25, 2012 2:08 PM.

...and with that, I think I'm done. was the previous entry in this blog.

Summer's in full effect... (aka: time to sweat) is the next entry in this blog.

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