Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sand Bar Sports Pub, Pewaukee Lake

I'm going to make this short, sweet and to the point. 

I've neglected this blog for some time, but I promise when I do go out for a fish fry I will most certainly blog about it.  

On the Friday of Labor Day weekend a group of friends and myself went to the Sand Bar Sports Pub on Pewaukee Lake to enjoy the ambiance.  We wanted to sit outside, at sunset and enjoy the last bits of what summer was about to give us.  

It was Friday, we were hungry ... why NOT order fish? 

The Sand Bar offers all you can eat cod for only $10.00.  You get your choice of potato pancakes, french fries, sweet potato fries or onion rings.  

Three things I loved about this dining experience.  One, the new waitress was beyond friendly and very attentive to our needs for additional drinks. Two, the price was unbelievable for the location and three, the fish was beyond good.  

I did not expect to enjoy my fish dinner as much as I did at the Sand Bar, I'm not sure why I was pre-judging the fare, but I did and I was wrong. The fish was cooked PERFECTLY.  The batter was light (a little greasy) but not overwhelming. The flavor was good and I even enjoyed the tartar sauce.

The coleslaw was a bit of an afterthought and I suggest you do not order the sweet potato fries. They were cold and soggy.  However, the potato pancakes (not homemade) were a very good addition to my plate.  

I'd give the Sand Bar a solid 8.5 out of 10. I'm definitely going back. 

As I conclude this blog I suggest you soak in these last warmer days of 2012, stop out at the Sand Bar.  Enjoy a fish fry, soak in the scenery and maybe indulge in a few cocktails. 


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Eric's Porter-Haus

Fist of all an apology.  I've neglected the blog as of late, I realize that and I apologize.  By reading the numbers alone, I can see clearly that people in the area are interested in my thoughts, opinions and most of all the addresses and websites of local fish fry joints!  Thank you to everyone who has visited my little blog and I hope you've found the information helpful and continue to do so.  I may not write as much as I used to, but we definitely have a great base of restaurants to choose from.  I've gone back to several of them a second and third time and unless you read differently, nothing has changed.

This week I decided to try something different, I went to Waukesha. I rarely get the opportunity to dine in that fair city, mostly because I can't find my way from one end of town to the other.  Without a GPS I'm simply useless in downtown Waukesha. Thankfully, I wasn't driving so being directionally challenged was not an issue.  We found Eric's Porter-Haus (229 Wisconsin Ave., Waukesha, WI) without any problem and I have to say, I was quite impressed with this little destination.

The exterior of Eric's reminded me of a plantation-like estate with it's enormous white columns and statuesque presence.  I had no idea the history of the place and I was intrigued from the moment I walked in the door.  It is an old house (built in 1848), and it's easy to visualize yourself in someone's house as you parade through the various small dining rooms and quaint bar area.

Our party of five arrived was greeted warmly and we found some seating at the bar area and were tended to by Eric himself.  Within 30 minutes we were seated (my guess is the crowd is an early one, a little older) at our table that was nestled in a corner of one the lower level rooms.  We ordered the family style fish fry, which is Baked Cod, Fried Cod, Baked Chicken, Potato Pancakes, French Fries, German Potato Salad.  It's served with Cole Slaw and warm Rye Bread (absolutely mouth watering fresh bread with a delightful sea salt crust).  The all-you-can-eat family style fry was $11.00 per person and more than enough food for five women.

I tried both the baked and fried cod, potato pancakes and a couple of fries.  The baked cod was pretty good, it was a little on the cool side, so I must admit I used the drawn butter generously. I could tell the seasoning was a little lacking, but again, that happens so many times when making baked cod in bulk.  The fried cod was delicious, the breading was light and perfectly distributed, not heavy at all.  Fish was cooked perfectly and I truly enjoyed that part of the entree. Unfortunately our potato pancakes were cold and I never really got past that when trying them. They were flat and underwhelming.  I did not try the chicken, however, a member of our party did try it and enjoyed.

To top everything off we all shared a beautiful homemade schaum torte. Delicious!

Overall I am going to give Eric's Porter-Haus an 8.5.  I think if I ever go back there I will order a fish fry plate, rather than do the "party" ordering, I cannot wait to go back though, to taste the steaks.

I hope you all are enjoying a beautiful spring season and looking forward to warmer weather and more fish frys!

In the meantime, don't forget to cherish the moments you have with the people you love -- and dine with them ... often!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Uncle Johnny's - Colgate, WI

It's been over a month since I've written a blog and I'm finding this more difficult by the week.  I have great intentions and sometimes life gets in the way.  I hope you enjoy the installments and are patient with the fact that life happens.

As we embark on another Lenten season, though, I'm hoping to get a few more in as all the good Catholics of this world need some options!

Last week I decided to join some friends at a Colgate, WI favorite, Uncle Johnny's 4600 County Road Q. For those of you not familiar it's just west of the roundabout at Hwys 164 and Q.  I'm not sure it's technically "Lake Country" but it's proximity to Lake 5 gives me reason to believe I'm ok with this destination choice.

Uncle Johnny's is your typical "local" watering hole and I'm sure they are much more accustomed to seeing familiar faces, but they treated us "strangers" very well and we quickly made friends with our waitress.  The place wasn't terribly busy, but it was a little later (8:30) Uncle Johnny's stops serving fish at 9:00 p.m. – I know a lot of Wisconsinites like to eat early, but I'm not one of them and I was feeling slightly rushed.  

The place has your typical fish fry menu and the bonus for all you cod lovers is they have an All-You-Can-Eat for the deep fried fish lovers.  I was not disappointed at all in the quality of entree I was treated to that evening, the fish was done perfectly.  The beer-batter was light and full of flavor, no tartar necessary folks – an added bonus in my book.  The waitress told me the potato pancakes were homemade and I disagree with her (too perfect in their shape, and tasted very average).  I was also treated to some homemade mashed potatoes and they were amazing.  

Coleslaw was cream-based and a little heavy for my liking and rounding up the sides was a store bought piece of rye bread. 

Uncle Johnny's also has a baked cod option as well as a tasty Cajun baked cod (which I also had a small portion to taste).  The Cajun is a little spicy, but overall I liked the pop of heat with the fish and would definitely order this upon a repeat visit. 

The prices for the dinners were typical (between $9-$11 for entrees) and the drink specials were even more pleasing!  

Overall I'd like to give Uncle Johnny's an 8 out of 10.  Fish was fantastic, but the accompanying notes to the dish were average at best.  But we don't go out to eat for side dishes, now do we? 

I hope you all are enjoying this extremely mild winter and pray this leads into an early spring and we're not shoveling our driveways in May.  

Remember to hug the ones you love! You never know when you won't be able to hug them again. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Schwabenhof, Menomonee Falls, WI

German Potato Salad: Yes, I know, it's only a side dish, but to me, it's much more.  It's Friday mornings spent at my grandparents supper club in the late 70s.  My parents both worked daytime prep hours at the restaurant, and my sister and I often accompanied my folks when they started their day at Blanck's.

My great-grandmother, Marcella was the master behind the german potato salad.  I would sit and "help" her as she peeled and cut potatoes for hours, if you consider help cutting one potato, while she plowed effortlessly through 10.  I also "helped" by taste testing pieces of bacon on the stove nearby (smelling so delicious, by the way).  I was filled with so much anticipation and could not wait to get that first little sampling as soon as she finished adding the sugary vinegar final touch. It's such a vivid memory, that has stuck with me my entire life. 

Why do I lead with the nostalgia?  Well, because this past Friday evening we dined at the Schwabenhof, a huge German supper club on the outskirts of Menomonee Falls.  When we sat down and ordered our fish fry, I kindly asked the waitress if the potato pancakes were homemade, and she replied "no, but our German potato salad is" -- so that's the route I took. The route back to a childhood filled with memories of a family packed into a kitchen at a supper club cooking, cutting, baking and seasoning food to be served each evening.  Looking back, it's a memory I'm lucky to have.  

Fortunately the memory still lives vividly and the potato salad at the Schwabenhof, while very good, was nowhere near the caliber of my great-grandmother Marcella.  But I would still recommend you order it!

The fish fry at the Schwabenhof is an All-You-Can-Eat Fried Cod for 10.95, you also can have the AYCE Fried Chicken or a combo of Fish and Chicken for the same price of 10.95.  With each of those entrees you get a choice of sides (fries, pancakes, baked potato, potato salad), cole slaw and rye bread. 

The fish was cooked perfectly, and the breading was flaky, but a little bland.  I'm not sure why you would need to eat the AYCE, because the first helping they give you is more than enough.  I enjoyed the fish, and while it wasn't my favorite, the Schwabenhof is a place I would definitely visit again.  The cole slaw was creamy and flavorful and even the little bit of tartar I had was good (reminder, not a huge tartar fan).  

The Schwabenhof will get a solid 8 out of 10 on this visit.  Our service was fast and friendly, the old fashions were strong and the food was great.  

I realize its' been a while since I posted a blog and I hope to get some more up in 2012.  

I wish you all the happiest of holidays, and all the best for the New Year.  May the memories you make during this season stick with you for a lifetime. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Finn's Bar & Grill, Wales

So, what a week to pick up the fish fry blog.

To know anything about me is to know that I'm a huge sports fan, you could probably say fanatic, but ultimately I grew up watching all kinds of sports, and while football is my favorite, I am also partial to baseball.  And what a treat it has been this season with the Brewers.

On Friday evening I started at the Kettle Moraine High School Homecoming parade, as is tradition with a lot of the adults, I made the trek to Finn's Bar and Grill to watch the last half of the Brewer game and indulge in a fish fry. The last time we ate there I gave it a 7 out of 10 and I wanted to see if things were any better.  I made a plea in that blog to not settle for mediocrity... the following is a excerpt from that blog.

I've encountered this at a few different restaurants and the latest was Finn's Bar & Grill, 220 West Summit Ave., Wales, WI.  I've had people ask me to go there, claiming it was one of the best in the area.  While Ann and I enjoyed ourselves, I would say the fried cod was average in taste, very well cooked and breaded to absolute perfection, but nothing to excite my taste buds.  My guess is it tasted much, much better after a clear coat of tartar.

Our potato pancakes were not homemade (admitted by our server), but they were the highlight of my meal. They had to have been some of the best "box" pancakes I've ever tasted and the coleslaw was also a nice compliment to our entree.  To top it all off, our server was pleasant and our meals were brought out in a timely fashion, all while the dining room was full of warm bodies.  Finns was out of baked cod when Ann and I arrived, so unfortunately, I can only comment on the fried cod. They also have a combo platter with various deep-fried fishy goodies (perch, cod, shrimp) to entice you. The prices are reasonable at Finns and regardless of my earlier rant, I do want to visit again.

I will give Finns a solid 7 out of 10.  Not bad, not great.

Well...after Nyjer Morgan hit that "tickler" up the middle, I managed to jump up and down, hug strangers and periodically check my pulse in the moments after, to be sure everything was ok, I also figured it was a good time to finally order dinner.  

Kendra and I each had the fried cod with the potato pancakes.  I will say this, the box cakes are still really good and I still can't believe they're from the freezer.  They were exactly the same as they were last year and I was happy about that.  The slaw and potato salad were also nice compliments to the meal.  This time, the fish was cooked well, but was breaded heavily and I had to take a lot of the breading off because it got to be overwhelming.  Our food was hot, our service was excellent and the crowd of Brewer-friendly faces made the average dinner a little bit better.  

The score stays the same folks.  7 out of 10.  I would recommend it to friends, but would be quick to direct them to another place if they're looking to be "wowed."

Well, folks.  I'm hoping to be blogging a little more frequently in the upcoming months.  I'm very much looking for any suggestions of new places in the Waukesha County/Lake Country area.  I hope you understand my long-term absences -- I'm a one-person operation, and sometimes I can't eat fish EVERY week.  I mean..can you?

Go Brewers! Go Packers and On Wisconsin!

Hug your loved ones people and maybe even hug someone you don't even know!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Country Springs Hotel - Copper's Pub & Grill

Wow, this summer has flown by.  I can't believe that I'm typing this on the last full week of July and it's been nearly two months since I've gone out for a fish fry.

I'm sorry I haven't been more consistent, but I'm an army of one and it's pretty tough to try and sneak in a great fish dinner on the summer weekends.  However, this past weekend I was treated to a nice evening of friends, beer and fish with some good friends from Waukesha.  As we mulled over our endless choices of restaurants for a Fish Fry, we decided on Copper's Pub & Grill located inside the Country Springs Hotel.

Copper's not only offers a a full menu of dinner and lunch items, but they boast over 100 different beers from all over the country/world.  I must say looking choosing a beer out of 100 options is pretty tough, but I managed to pick a wheat beer (I forgot the name) that was pretty tasty and blended perfectly with a fish fry!

When we got to Copper's we decided to eat at the bar.  The server was very quick to tend to our beverage orders and we perused the menu for our options.  I decided on the Broiled Cod with parsley potatoes and sauteed vegetables ($11.50), while the rest of my party opted for the AYCE Fried Cod, fries and potato pancakes ($11.50).

Shortly after we put in our food order a server quickly brought out our entrees along with sides of cole slaw and potato salad.  I was a little leery at the swift nature our food arrived, to me that only means that the kitchen has pre-made a lot of fish.  My broiled cod came with a sauce drizzled over the three small squares of fish,  the sauce, to me was the combination of a bland alfredo and something else I could not put my finger on, and it wasn't that great.  I ate about a square of my over cooked fish, devloured my potatoes and veggies (which were excellent) and decided to dive into the abundance of fried cod in front of me.

The fried cod was a much better option, although I believe that they have plates all ready to go on command, it was still hot, cooked well and breaded nicely.  The breading was not too heavy, and although the pieces were small (typical of AYCE) the fish itself was not over cooked and tasted good.  I even indulged in a potato pancake which was average.

Knowing how important these things are to blog readers, I even tasted the tartar sauce, which by my standards was good, but my friends enjoyed it tremendously.  The cole slaw of the creamy descent and the american potato salad were both delicious and above average.

On my scale of 1-10, I would rate Copper's a solid 7.  I think it's because my broiled cod kinda sucked.  So I recommend that if you do go there order the fried ACYE fish. It's pretty good, and have a whole bunch of different beers, I think that was the most intriguing thing about the visit.

Until next time, and I'm sure it will be sooner rather than later, enjoy the rest of your summer, be thankful for all the good life has to offer and give LOTS of hugs.  Have a great weekend.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Park Avenue Pizza, Pewaukee, WI

And so another blog's been a while! 

These entries are getting further and further apart as we approach Summer (if Spring would ever get here). I'm training for a sprint triathlon in July and my fish fry dining is going to be decreased, not eliminated, but we'll be eating out a little less.  However, please check out the Facebook updates, as I usually try and get the blog readers involved and ask for opinions on the next fish fry dining destination.

This past Friday we decided to FINALLY go to Park Avenue Pizza, 121 Park Avenue, Pewaukee, WI. My friend Amy Jung from the Lakeview Lanes days has urged me week after week to visit this restaurant and I am so glad I did.  I'm actually disappointed it took me nearly a year to take her advice, but I was leery -- I mean, it's a pizza and spaghetti joint, and I assumed (wrongly) a fish fry would be average at best.

The quaint dining atmosphere is welcoming, the restaurant is deceivingly large, from the look on the outside of the building you would think you were walking into a small, intimate Italian restaurant, not the case at all.  There were plenty of tables and a lot of people, but it was still quiet and friendly (if that makes any sense at all).

We began our meal with some haystack onion straws, as we were all very, very hungry.  While munching on our appetizer we discussed the day's events and perused over the fish fry menu.  While Park Ave has other options, I decided to go with their signature fry, the deep fried haddock (yes!! haddock) for $11.95 with potato pancakes. Ann had the baked haddock with the cakes as well. 

After waiting for about 20 minutes (not terrible) the dinners arrived.  A very healthy portion of perfectly cooked haddock was sitting in front of me, it was absolutely delicious...the batter was light, crunchy and the fish inside was hot, flaky and gorgeous.  (yes, gorgeous, I love haddock).  And to top it off, no tartar necessary, but if you choose to try it, it was good -- I do like me some dill in the tartar.  My potato pancakes were a little thick and not as tasty, but still good, the only complaint was the less than average cole slaw, which I did not eat at all after tasting.  Ann's baked haddock was also very good and well cooked, while the seasonings were good (dill, paprika), it needed a little something else, and I was very surprised the baked fish was not served with melted butter.

So, overall the Park Avenue Pizza dining experience was a great one.  I can't wait to go back and try one of their "specialties" -- and I highly recommend you dine there some Friday night and see for yourself how good this fish fry is.  8.5 out of 10 for this place,  the average sides brought down the points.

Have a great weekend everyone.  Hopefully we will see some break in the cool temperatures and be able to head outside and enjoy my favorite time of the year.

And as always, do not forget to hug someone!