Fish Type: Lake Perch Price: $16.00
Overall, I would highly recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Excellent|
Potato Score: Excellent
Tartar Score: Excellent
Bread Score: Good
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: Dexter's has really settled into a groove over the last couple years. It used to be their menu shifted around a bit, with bluegill one week and lake perch the next which made it hard to tell what to expect on any given Friday (or Wednesday for that matter). All that has seemingly changed recently with Fridays featuring cod, bluegill, and walleye; while lake perch is consistently, and exclusively, part of their Wednesday lineup. We went a couple Wednesdays in a row recently and were tickled pink with the perch plates.
Both of these trips basically yielded the exact same results (save for the potato option) so I'll just roll the reviews into one (save for the potato part). The perch at the Pub comes six to an order and are 100% the genuine article yellow perch. Each lovely little panfish is dusted with a light flour breading that has just enough seasoning to let you know it's there while still allowing the inherent perch flavor shine through. This is the good stuff and among the best perch you're likely to find this side of Minoqua.
We almost exclusively go for the waffle fries when we visit North Street since they are the best around, but the garlic chili fries we opted for on the 12th may have just stolen the thunder. These babies get a subtle heat from the chili oil, which pairs surprisingly well with the pungent garlic aromas. Of times, they drown the shoestring cuts in the oil (which necessitates a fork and/or slick fingers), but this round had just enough to keep the fries crisp. It was a prefect balance and one that has me leaning G-C from here on out.
Just as the menu has stabilized Dexter's has found the sweet spot with their tartar. For a while it was a hit and miss mix, but they're crushing it every time now. Thick, creamy, zesty, sweet...this stuff has it all and then some. They are also one of the only places in town willing to roll with the rye bread, and although it was a little stale on both recent visits (likely holdovers from the previous Friday), it's still better (and more traditional) than a dinner roll. The slaw still has onion overtones, but those notes strike the rye just right.
Consistency is king when it comes to Fish Fry, and Dexter's has hit their stride. They are out-distancing much of the competition making it easy to see why they are in the running (and winning) Best of Madison competitions year after year. Overall, we highly recommend this Fish Fry and think its some of the finest perch on the planet, period.
301 North Street
Madison, WI 53704