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Fish Type: Lake Perch     Price: $16.00

Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: Remember La Paella? If you don’t, it was way out on Fish Hatch and had some pretty good food (especially the namesake Paella). The Spanish themed restaurant closed up shop quite a while ago now, and the building has seemingly remained vacant since then (although a restaurant or two may actually have occupied it since then, I really have no idea). Regardless, a new place has (finally) moved in and is offering a similar kind of menu, but this time with the requisite Wisconsin Fish Fry that La Paella never had.

Veranda is the new kid on the (extremely long, semi-rural) block, and we decided to pay them a visit after seeing their Fish Fry listed on their Facebook page. We showed up early (having a pregnant wife will do that to you), and got a huge booth right near the bar (we could have visited the hostess station and got a table in the one of the dining rooms, but the big booth caught our eye so we just went with it). One of the troop of waiters came over not long after and was off instantly to get us a round of beers (the root variety for the lady). When he came back with the suds, he took our orders, and shortly after brought us a plate of bread with whipped butter. The French slices were soft and smooth, and capped off nicely by the equally velvety spread.

The fish arrived not long after that, and looked pretty. While it wasn’t bountiful by any means it definitely had “the look”. For sixteen bucks you get six pieces of fish, a surprisingly small allotment of fries, some house-made slaw, and a ramekin of sauce (notice I didn’t say tartar sauce). The perch fillets varied in size, but were all on the small side. They were high quality, and the fish itself was spot on, but the breading missed the mark. It definitely showed promise as it was light and really clung to the fish, but it had no, and I mean zero, flavor of its own. It was a letdown since the perch was pristine, but just needed a little something to give it a boost and the breading didn’t deliver.

The pittance of fries were actually really good, and clearly cut in-house. They were double-fried (frites style), and seemed like they’d be boring, but were uniquely delicious. They offered a great contrast in textures thanks to a thin, crispy exterior, and a marvelously plush, lovable interior. They were unexpectedly great, but I definitely wanted (a lot) more.

Sitting in for the tartar was a remoulade of sorts which, like the fish, had very little flavor of its own. It had a decidedly pinkish hue, but no taste to go along with captivating color.

Whereas the perch was plain, and the sauce was simple, the finely-shredded slaw was incredibly diverse. Unfortunately diversity doesn’t always translate to deliciousness with coleslaw and this mix had too much dill and what appeared to be bleu cheese. While the portion was ample, it didn’t taste great, so the bounty wasn’t necessarily a good thing. There were also a bunch of chives sprinkled here and there throughout the plate, which made everything look fancy, but didn’t add much (if anything) to the meal.

La Paella was a good restaurant, but didn’t make the grade out in Fitchburg for whatever reason. While I’d like to say Veranda won’t fall victim to a similar fate I’m afraid I just can’t do it. The food was okay, but there wasn’t anything special about it to draw us back in, and the $16 price tag certainly doesn’t help matters. Overall, we don’t recommend this Fish Fry, and fear that life on the Veranda might be short lived.
2784 S Fish Hatchery Road
Fitchburg, WI 53711

(608) 661-4161