The Village Supper Club Fish Fry Review

My dad is the cheapest man on planet earth. Lots of people say this about their dads, but those people would be wrong. Did your dad ever order a TV from Best Buy and then hide in the basement when the delivery man came because he realized after he ordered it that he didn’t actually want the TV? Did you grow up knowing that restaurants served appetizers and that there were things to drink aside from water? Yes? Then my dad and your dad are not the same.

I was going to take my mom and dad to fish fry last Friday at the newly built reincarnation of the Village Supper Club on Delavan Lake. But I didn’t, because other friends had been given the first option and they exercised it. It’s a good thing, too, because had my dad seen the $5 relish tray he would have lost his mind. Not necessarily because the relish tray wasn’t really a proper relish tray, but because it was $5. My dad turns 80 this summer and a $5 charge for something that used to be included in a traditional Wisconsin fish fry might have been too much for him at his advancing age.

The Village Supper Club on the South Shore of Delavan Lake was one of our legacy supper clubs with legions of fans. I reviewed the old restaurant several years ago and didn’t find it to be up to my fish fry standard, but I did understand why it was so well loved. The old restaurant was bought by a nearby property owner a few years ago and was promptly torn down. What has been built in its place is a gleaming new building with lofty ceilings and chic booths and some LED lights that hit our eyes at all of the wrong angles. The space is beautiful, the scene is upscale, and the views of Delavan Lake are wide. Nevermind my opinion of Delavan Lake, this is a beautiful space and a terrific addition to our mediocre local dining scene.

But with brand new expensive spaces comes a higher level of scrutiny to which the old timey places are not subjected. Parking is still wonky, and I wish the small gas flame in the outdoor fireplace was larger and more aggressive. The large televisions on the walls in the bar area are too prominent in the space and visible through the entire restaurant, which very much kills the supper club vibe. I can both appreciate the utility of restaurant televisions playing sporting events that I have interest in and deem the televisions to be a visual distraction that have no place in this sort of dining experience.

Reservations are required here, or at least I think they’re required. I made my reservation for this Friday 5 pm fish fry sometime in late January, so if you’re planning to eat here you best plan ahead. Upon our on time arrival we were escorted to our four top table, just to the lakeside of the last set of booths. The restaurant space is stepped like a theatre so that each table has an uninterrupted view of the lake. That’s a nice touch. Once seated our waters were quickly filled and our waitress was soon table side. The fish fry was $22 for Cod, with a choice of fried or what they’re calling “citrus butter baked”. There is also a Blue Gill option, which I eschewed in favor of the Cod. These are served with Applesauce, Coleslaw, Tartar Sauce, Potato Pancakes, Sweet Corn Fritters and Lemon. Why wife ordered the baked and I ordered the fried, and we added the aforementioned $5 relish tray to round out our dinner.

The relish tray was out quickly and it wasn’t quite like the relish trays I’ve had before. A handful of pretzel sticks, a mound of almond cheese spread, some variety of loose green goddess dressing, and a few vegetables. This was a rather meaningful miss. If I had a fish fry restaurant I’d serve the best relish tray known to mankind. Make the relish tray something people can’t live without. Make the tables who don’t order it feel like they’re inferior. Here the relish tray is just a thing to order and nibble on, but it’s not memorable nor was it something I’d order again. The bread that was served while we waited was a garlicky butter roll and I very much enjoyed it. The accompanying garlic butter was soft enough to spread and even though I felt that the butter should have been sans garlic given the garlic in the roll, it was still good.

The fish was out quickly and it looked the part. The fried cod was three pieces of battered cod fried to a deep golden brown. The baked was a similar portion. Each plate with two potato pancakes, two small sweet corn fritters, and the coleslaw, tartar sauce, and lemon. The sweet corn fritters were small, dry, and lacked any discernable sweet corn flavor. If you’re telling me something has sweet corn in it, let me see some sweet corn. These were more like lightly corn flavored fried balls of fritter. The fritters at Popeyes are vastly superior. The potato pancakes were fine, if overly onion forward. They weren’t memorable, but what I did find interesting was the lack of potato option. It was pancake or nothing, with no menu mention of fries or baked potato as an option. The tartar sauce was solid, and my wife liked the coleslaw. I have an eating problem, but coleslaw escapes my gluttony.

The fried fish was crispy and only a touch dry. But the issue here was the lack of salt. Great fried cod is both a whisper salty and sweet, and this fish was neither. It was flat. I sampled the citrus butter baked and found no citrus present. If you tell me something is citrus butter baked I should eat it and think, “wow, this is citrusy and buttery”. Instead I ate it and thought it tasted like unsalted, slightly dried cod.

The service was terrific. Our waters remained filled and our waitress was attentive and lively. The restaurant was full and the diners appeared happy and well fed. The space is beautiful, although I think they should turn down the temps on the LED cans and dim them as well. The restaurant will be jammed up all summer, and it deserves the attention. New spaces here are few and far between, so it makes good sense that the new Village Supper Club should be on your summer dining rotation. But the meal was a let down on that night, and I admit I’m holding them to a higher standard. You cannot show me a beautiful new restaurant and expect me to abide a mediocre fish fry. Thankfully, the meal was close to being good, as just a bit more salt and 15 fewer seconds under heat would have made this a more successful fish fry. Add the Village Supper Club to your summer rotation and let me know what you think.

The Village Supper Club

1725 South Shore Drive, Delavan, WI

$22 for three pieces of Cod, fried or citrus butter baked

5.9/10

About the Author

I'm David Curry. I write this blog to educate and entertain those who subscribe to the theory that Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is indeed the center of the real estate universe. When I started selling real estate 27 years ago I did so of a desire to one day dominate the activity in the Lake Geneva vacation home market. With over $800,000,000 in sales since January of 2010, that goal is within reach. If I can help you with your Lake Geneva real estate needs, please consider me at your service. Thanks for reading.

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