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Fish Type: Walleye     Price: $13.00

Overall, I would recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: The third time is a charm, right? It is funny how often that old adage seems to hold. Regardless of the task, it sometimes takes a couple failed endeavors to help us figure out how to get something right. Well, after two subpar visits, at Picasso's original location, we’ve finally had a Fish Fry there that we feel confident in recommending.

I was actually very hesitant to try Picasso's again based on my two previous encounters, but since I was eating with two non-Fish Fry folks I had to be the bigger man and compromise. We arrived at their Madison/Fitchburg location around 7:30, and waited a curious 10 minutes or so at the front counter/makeshift bar while the host bussed us a spot. Once he finally returned he led us to our behemoth booth, only to leave us there with some menus and the promise that a waitress would be right over. She arrived a little more than 5 minutes later, and we wasted no time hitting her up with our orders – a veggie pizza for the little lady, chicken parm for her cousin, the “house favorite” walleye for me, and a couple of Spotted Cows for us gents.

She bolted away to drop the orders by the kitchen and came back with our beverages lickety-split. I quickly downed my Cow, and waited for her to promptly come back with the fish, but it was nowhere to be found. It would have been nice if she would have at least come back so I could have gotten another beer before dinner, but alas, that was also not in the cards. The food finally appeared around 20 minutes later, and thankfully, was nice and hot all around. I was famished by this point and tore into the walleye with reckless abandon.

The $13 walleye is served classic style, in one long fillet. I tend to prefer mine to be broken up into smaller chunks to increase the fish/batter ratio, but I really can’t complain about this stuff. It was definitely high quality fish with a nice flaky texture. It was adorned with a light, golden-colored batter that was reminiscent of the Spotted Cow beer battered on their cod. There was no claim of the bovine infused ingredient on the menu, so I have to assume it was different, but whatever it was, the neutral flavor of the batter allowed the fish to shine through. As you would expect with walleye there were a few tiny bones left in the meat, but MFF ain’t no wuss, and can handle that sorta thing.

While the walleye was an inspired piece of work, the artist’s masterpiece may well have been his French fries. While Cousin Garrett referred to them as “steak fries” I’m not sure I would classify them as such. What I would say is that they were perfectly fried and looked like the idyllic McDonalds fry, only a bit thicker, a lot crispier, and even a tad tastier. While these fries were clearly a seminal piece of art, the tartar sauce on the other hand must have come from the artist’s Blue Period.

Picasso’s tartar was acceptable, but it was a little queer, to be frank. While it housed no dill (which was a relief), very little, if any, relish was present either. What was there was a thin-ish mix with a weird hint of something on the backend that I attribute to lemon zest, but can’t be sure about. It was somewhat usable, but far from Guernica.

Trolling alongside the adequate portion of fish and fries was a wee piece of garlic toast that seemed to be slightly out of place. It was the same bread came with the chicken parm, and while it tasted fine, it was tiny, and really didn’t fit in with the Fish Fry mystique one bit. The slaw on the other hand was fairly traditional. Picasso’s serves the cool and creamy variety of slaw and it was quite tasty, although the last few bites were swimming in slaw-water - which is a little unappetizing to say the least.

Back in our pre-Fish Fry days we enjoyed numerous pizzas from Picasso’s, so I know for a fact they make a quality pie, and I’m glad I can finally say the same for their Fish Fry. My pervious two visits just didn’t quite cut the mustard due to the fact I was less than impressed by the beer battered cod, and the rest of the meal was not enough to pull them up from the depths. This time however, the above average walleye helped to bring it all together, and make for a total Fish Fry experience. We still aren’t blown away by any means, but we are a bit of a sucker for walleye, and when walleye is done well, all is well with in the Fish Fry universe. Odd service aside, this was a pretty good visit to Picasso’s. Overall, I feel fine about recommending their walleye and will probably be back to check out some of the artist’s other works eventually. After all, when you live with a vegetarian sometimes you have to make concessions, and, at the least, Picasso’s work pleases a diverse audience.
5266 Williamsburg Way
Fitchburg, WI 53719

(608) 271-8440