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Fish Type: Lake Perch     Price: $20.00

Overall, I would recommend this Fish Fry.

Fish Score: Excellent
Potato Score: Excellent
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Good
Miscellaneous Score: Good

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Comment: Quivey’s Grove is a Madison institution. The culinary mainstay has been at its Nesbitt Road location for what seems like forever and is showing no signs of slowing down. Even though they’re always busy, they find a way to meet the demand and do it with grace and consistency. It is a special place, and the kind of restaurant you take friends and family from out of town since you know they will deliver. Quivey’s isn’t just in Wisconsin, Quivey’s is Wisconsin (as their menu is sure to point out).

Quivey’s has a few different dining venues and even though we’ve been there plenty of times we’ve never eaten in the famed Stone House. We’ve pounded parmesan potatoes on the Paddock, and sopped up suds in the Stable Grill, but for whatever reason we’ve never found ourselves Frying in the Stone House. This Friday was finally our moment since, unlike the Stable, the Stone House actually takes reservations (which was a necessity with a party of seven). We showed up a little early despite the confirmed timeslot and wound up having to wait for a bit while they cleared a large table for us.

Eventually we got our spot in what I believe to be “Grandmother’s Garden” on the upper level. Our waitress came by shorty after everyone was settled, and we got down to business. While the same AYCE Cod Friday Fish Fry served in the Stable is available in the House, I had other things on my mind. I came in search of perch this Friday, and even though it costs $20, and is available every day of the week, I just couldn’t resist.

Before the fish, a basket of lemon poppy seed muffins was delivered to the table. They were quite unexpected, and somewhat out of context, but exceptionally delicious. These were no mini-muffins either. Each was practically a breakfast, and finishing a whole one was almost too much to handle before the meal even really got going.

But go it did, and eventually the fish found its way to the table. The Potter Perch in the House is a little different from the Middleton Perch in the Stable in that it comes with green beans instead of coleslaw and parmesan potatoes instead of French fries (but I believe the fish itself is pretty much exactly the same). The five perch fillets on Potter’s plate were quite large and quite tasty. Their flaky meat was concealed in a crispy pretzel crust that gave it the feel similar to that of chicken fingers. The dark crust made the fish very ridged and easy to dip, however I usually prefer my perch a little more moist and limber. While the adequately-seasoned breading had a good flavor, and the fish was meaty, I mostly tasted the breading, which is great depending on who you ask.

The portion of parmesan potatoes was partially hidden under the plethora of perch, but that didn’t keep me from getting after it. As expected, the specialty spuds were superb. They boasted a creamy and crusty dichotomy of deliciousness that could only be improved upon through a larger portion size.

While the Parmesan Potatoes really put their mark on this Fish Fry, the tartar sauce continually comes up short. Quivey’s sauce is on the thin side, and missing the little zip that could have taken the perch to the next level. There was no zip to be found in the coleslaw either since there was no coleslaw to be found period. The green beans which filled their slot were well-cooked, and as green as can be, but certainly not the complement to the fish that the slaw is. (Full disclosure: I did steal a bite of slaw from one of the other Fryers. It was good. It made me want more.)

As far as I can tell, everything in the House is supposed to be a step-up from the more humble Stable, but honestly, I like the Stable a lot more. The atmosphere is more intriguing, the food is a little cheaper, and, of course, there is a bar. Overall, we still recommend the Potter Perch from the Stone House, but would much rather go for the AYCE cod in the Stable on future romps at the Grove.
6261 Nesbitt Road
Madison, WI 53719

(608) 273-4900