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Fish Type: Walleye     Price: $11.75

Overall, I would recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: There was a time when Madison Fish Fry had a Cross Plains address. While the house was actually closer to the west side of Madison, it was more or less in Pine Bluff, and thus, bestowed the Cross Plains moniker. We lived there for two very happy years, but only made it to Hilltop Inn a couple of times, even though it was right down the road. The Hilltop is one of those kinds of places that you tell yourself you are going to make an effort to go to more often, and then for one reason or another, you just don’t. I decided that we simply couldn’t put it off anymore and had to pay them another visit to give them a proper review. I corralled a full crew of supper club lovin’ folks, and agreed to meet at The ‘Top at 8pm, sharp.

Well, sharp may be a bit rigid of a term. Thanks to the Pedro’s Happy Hour (which is pretty frickin’ sweet, by the way), a couple of us didn’t get there until about ten-after. As soon as we sauntered in we saw our “buddies” at the bar. We grabbed a couple beers, and in no time were headed to our table - nestled lovingly away in the corner – under the bright pink, electric Easter egg. We chatted for a bit, sipped our drinks (Jeff was loving his Old Fashioneds), and waited for Dave to come over. Eventually Dave stopped by. Hi, Dave.

The Hilltop has a good variety of fish available on Friday nights, beginning with their $11 full portion of cod. They round out the Friday menu with a small portion of walleye for $11.75 or lake perch for $10.75. As Dave worked his way around the table he seemed pleasantly surprised to take an order for each. Classic Gabe, of course, opted for the classic cod. While “LP” Brice, landed on lake perch. I branched out and went with walleye, but woefully, Judas Jer, having fried once earlier in the day, opted for the broasted chicken instead. Equally woeful was the fact that when presented with side options, he picked the soup over the tomato juice. Not many places offer tomato juice as a side, and kind of like potato pancakes, when one is presented with it you invariably take it, if out of nothing more than mere curiosity. Unfortunately, the same option was not presented to anyone else and I eventually settled on coleslaw. No tomato juice was drunk at our table this night.

The slaw was pretty decent, but largely forgettable, especially when compared to the tiny bread loaf that came at the same time. The loaf comes with its own cutting board and knife to slice it, and most know that if you take charge of it, it becomes your duty to cut the loaf for the whole table. MFF is a bread-cutting kinda guy and portioned it out for everyone at the table after Gabe snuck one for himself quick. We finished the bread, our friend Dave brought more drinks and within 15 minutes the fish hit the table.

The walleye was served nice and hot and from first appearance looked very good. It was adorned with a light batter (in texture and color) which was very brittle. The fish was equally delicate and was nice and flaky, but didn’t have a ton of flavor. It was so light it was barely even like eating, and the tartar easily overwhelmed the fish if not properly portioned. Speaking of portions, the amount of fish was underwhelming and certainly reflected in the, relatively cheap, $11.75 price tag. Let’s just say, I could have eaten more. Luckily for me, there was more fish on the table.

While the walleye was perfectly acceptable the piece of the cod I received from Gabe and was much more impressive. The pure white cod had a near perfect beer batter and much more flavor than the blandish walleye fillet. LP also claimed it to be superior to his perch as the full order of cod was more than Gabe could handle and he doled it out to any interested party.

Accompanying my walleye was a fair amount of crispy and delicious fries. They were a homemade Julienne cut, and superbly fried. The tartar was also made in house and simply a classic blend, with a good amount of the relish and a classic mayo base. Both of these items complimented the walleye well, but worked just as well, if not better, with the cod.

Overall, this Fish Fry is easily recommendable, and probably highly so. While my walleye wasn’t out of this world, the cod was very good, and certainly worth the drive to The Plains. The Hilltop is a classic old school supper club, complete with all the old school charms. Yeah, it might be a little dingy for some, but where else in this day and age are you going to find the table-top Ms. Pac-Man? Nowhere, that’s where. In addition, Dave did a great job, and got their homemade fare into our hungry hands lickety-split. This is a great all around Fish Fry and we will definitely be hitting up the Hilltop again.

4173 County Road P
Cross Plains, WI 53528

(608) 798-2893