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Fish Type: Smelt     Price: $10.00

Overall, I would highly recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: We’ve been to the Beachhouse plenty of times now, and there isn’t much they could really say or do to change our impression of their Fish Fry (which is a good thing). We know we are always going to get great fish, good sides, and not have to wait forever to get them which is more than enough to keep us coming back.

For being a Friday the Beach was relatively quiet, but that didn’t bother us one bit. We basically had our choice of tables and just grabbed one in the old smoking section since it was right near the bar. It took a good five minutes for our well-seasoned waitress to make her initial appearance, but once she broke the ice she was back fairly frequently.

The fish list at the Beachhouse is impressive as any and pretty much features every frying fish under the sun. From cod to lake perch, and bluegill to walleye, you’ll find them all on special at the ‘house – hell, they even have smelt for those who really want to get freaky. In addition to single orders of any of the aforementioned fish, they also had a perch/bluegill combo on special this Friday which was incredibly tempting… So tempting in fact, that Jer just couldn’t help himself.

Before any fish made its way to our table we got a full mini-loaf of white bread slices with the BH’s signature honey butter. The squishy starch served as the perfect conveyance for the sweet spread, and basically devoured every last bit of it. Our soup/salad option also came before the fish, and while Jer’s chowder was made in house, he remarked that is was just so-so. My slaw was much better and the cool and creamy concoction really hit the mark. It was just as a slaw should be.

While the smelt entrée goes for ten bucks, you can get an “appetizer” version for seven skins, and that’s just what we did. Our mammoth plateful showed up about five minutes after we’d polished off the bread and looked divine. The pile of petite bites was flanked by a couple tubs of tartar, and we wasted no time getting after them. The smelt were lightly dusted with a well-seasoned breading which was simply superb. They were so good (some of the best we’ve had), they definitely give the North Bristol Sportsman’s Club’s smelt a run for their money.

We had no problem polishing off every one of the sassy smelt, and before long Jer’s combo and my walleye wandered in. As per usual, the walleye fillet was huge – fat, juicy, and pristine. Unfortunately, the breading lacked the seasoning we accustomed to (the same stuff that seemingly graced the smelt) which left us wanting more of it. Yes, the fish was still great, but not as great as legend in our memory.

Jer’s bluegill was also dynamite. The fillets were large and meaty, but the combo only featured two of them. The duo buddied up with a couple lake perch fillets which were fine (according to Jer), but like the walleye, lacked the expected spice.

For our potato we both picked the hash browns with cheese and onion and they turned out to be fine, but had a very a prominent crispy layer. Jer’s were actually on the burned side of done, while mine were closed to over-fried, but still edible. It seems the BH philosophy is basically fry the hell out of one side, add some cheese and onion, and fold it over into a big hash brown taco. When it’s not totally burned the crunchy coating plays off against the gooey cheesy interior, but when it is, it makes for one unhappy Jer.

A terrific tartar joined cavalcade, and bordered on perfection. The slick sauce was thick and creamy and perked the fish up without overpowering it (which is exactly what tartar is supposed to do).

While this wasn’t the perfect Fish Fry, it was still better than 90% of the fish you’re going to find out there. Sure, it’s not Toby’s, but it also doesn’t come with the hour+ wait that Toby’s does. Overall, we highly recommend the smelt, walleye and the bluegill we had this visit, and loved the no pressure atmosphere the Beachhouse affords. It was simply a great meal, and from now on any time we’re up for a relaxing Fish Fry, we’re hitting the Beach.
4506 Larson's Beach Road
McFarland, WI 53558

(608) 838-7248