I really wish I would of done this review sooner but I've been quite busy lately, but for those of you who can still find a nice day to do some outdoor dining, this is the place for you. Barnacle Bud's is a place that I think gets it's name around from word of mouth because before I came here, I've never heard of it before or saw anything about it. The even more interesting about it is that driving there makes you feel like your going to a back alley drug deal. Getting there involves driving down a street that is surrounded by what looks like warehouses and an area that you wouldn't think would even hold a place to eat. After driving some distance through this abandoned looking area, you finally come to a sign that says Barnacle Bud's. This place is actually pretty difficult to find, but I would say worth the search.
When you enter, you are taken to an area that looks like a large dock covered with tables, which makes sense since people with boats can drive up right to the place and dock for something to eat. I don't know if it's as busy now since Summer is almost over but when I went, this place was packed. There were a lot of tables to sit at but almost no room to move around. If you do happen to get a seat outside, you get a nice view of the river and all of the boats that go by, which makes for a really perfect summer view. The environment is a fun one and the people who work here are quite friendly also. While I liked what I saw around me, the food is what is really important here.
The menu had a great selection of different seafood's, such as a poboy, oysters and different seafood baskets. They also had 2 different kinds of burgers along with a pork and chicken sandwich and a few other choices. They even have different special's for all the different days of the week. What I was most surprised about were the prices. For being a place in Milwaukee it's usually tough to find something for less than $10 but at Bud's, I don't think there was one thing that was more than $10 (except a few of the specials.) I was with my family so they decided to get an appetizer which happened to be the Barnacle Bud Wings.
While I usually wouldn't order wings at a seafood place, I would have to say that I must change that policy after trying these. While not the best wings I've ever had, they were up there for sure. They only had 1 flavor of wings but that is perfectly fine in this case. They weren't very spicy but had a little bite to them, which makes sense because I believe that they used jerk sauce for the wings. They also had a sweetness to them and the jerk flavoring is always something that never fails to taste good. The amount of meat on them wasn't anything spectacular, but it gave you enough food to hold you over for your next meal. For being $8.95 and getting 10-12 wings its a little pricey but what you'd find at most places I guess, but these are worth checking out if you have the chance. For the main course though, since it was a Friday, there was only 1 thing that I could get.
Nothing is usually better than a good Wisconsin Friday Fish fry, and Bud's was great because you didn't just have to order cod like at most places. You got the choice of 4 different types of fish! There are not many places I've been to where you can do that. The choices for the fish included cod, cat fish, smelt and grouper and being that cat fish is one of my favorites, it was an easy choice. As for the price, it was pretty normal for what you'd find at most places for a fish fry, $9.95 and it also included bread, fries and coleslaw. One thing that made it a little different though is that it also included clam chowder. As you can see in the picture, you get 2 pieces of cat fish, which are a pretty decent size and a good amount of fries. While the cat fish tasted alright I have to say that I was still a little disappointed. I just think that there wasn't enough flavor in the fish, you could tell that they put some seasoning and such into the batter and everything but it ended up being more of a bland seasoned bready flavor than fish flavor. There were moments when the cat fish came through quite nicely but it was drowned out by the batter. I tried the grouper I believe and that was quite tasty and had more fish than breading so you could taste the fish a lot more. The same thing went with the cod, which was also very good. Lastly, while clam chowder is one of my favorite soups, I don't really know what they did with there's here. While most clam chowders are nice and creamy, they replaced this creamy with a thick potato soup that had small bits of clam in it. While I've had other clam chowders like this, I think this one was the thickest but if you don't let that bother you, it was still really good. Overall the meal was decent but I was a little saddened by the flavor of my cat fish but all the other fish I tried was delicious.
I have to say that this place is worth going to just because it's a perfect example of a summer restaurant. Watching the boats and the river on a sunny day just gives off a perfect summer atmosphere. If you are one for fried seafood or your basic sandwiches for a good price, this is the place for you. Be it a grouper Reuben ($9.95,) a brat ($6.95,) a 10 oz Big Bud Burger ($8.95) or some Kinnickinnic Chicken ($7.95) there's something for everyone to try for a good price. This is for sure a place to check out if your looking for a fish fry or just a good place to sit outside and eat on a nice day.