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: We've hit Dexter's up a couple times recently - once during the Indeed Brewing Company tap takeover before the Great Taste of the Midwest, and once for a little Wednesday night Fish Fry action post-skating lessons at Hartmeyer. Both visits were stellar (as expected) and both featured freshwater fish (also as expected).
We'll start with the $16 bluegill during the tap takeover and we'll also start by saying we love Indeed's beers...if you like "craft" and have never tried theirs we'd highly recommend you do. As far as the fish goes, it was simply superb. Each of the 9-10 tiny fillets were light and smooth with an equally light and pleasant breading. Just enough of the fishy bluegill flavor comes through to let you know it's the genuine article without being overbearing. It's GOLD, Jerry!
Dexter's is no slouch when it come to sides and their waffles are the gold standard...I'm sensing a theme here. They are heavily-seasoned to a rich amber color and come in a portion that would make Zeus blush. The same goes for the gilded tartar which takes the cake when it comes to creaminess. Is thick and bold, and offsets the seasoning in the fish just right.
Some oh-so-traditional rye does the deed and the onion-laden slaw pays the piper. Separate they might turn some folks off, but together they rise to the top. When you couple everything with the quartet of high-octane IBC beers all went smoothly and I left feeling on top of my game.
Our Wednesday night rendezvous was more of the same, except this time it was lake perch that found its way to our table. Like the bluegill from a couple weeks prior the perch runs $16 and is essentially perchfect (see what I did there?). The six fillets are light and fresh tasting with the wispiest breading you could imagine...almost like gold dust. The fish itself was slightly sweet and not fishy in any way shape or form. It would make a prefect foray into freshwater fish for those fearful of fishy flavors who may be stuck in the cod rut.
Just as it does to the 'gill the tartar takes the perch to the top of the podium with its thick consistency and pungent flavor. This round we went for the brew fries since the little man was with and he has waffled on the waffle fry seasoning in the past and we wanted him to have a fall-back. The brews are fine but take the silver when the aurelian lattices are around.
The same Friday slaw comes on Wednesday and this one was packed in the cup like a fresh tub of Play-Doh and didn't want to relinquish it's hold. The rye also seemed like a holdover from the previous Friday as it was a little stale - certainly not the gold standard by any stretch.
It may come as a shock to some but Dexter's recently took the gold medal as the Best of Madison Fish Fry and I for one don't totally disagree. Sure, there are a lot of great contenders but for me this one has it all - fantastic freshwater fish, superb spuds, terrific tartar, special slaw, real rye, and an outstanding beer selection. That's the full meal deal and the full Friday Fish Fry experience (they also have a good whiskey selection and make a good brandy old fashioned sweet as far as I've heard). Overall, we highly recommend these Fish Frys and will come back periodically for their "Au"some fish.
One more note: we went back for the lake perch a couple weeks later and it was equally excellent.
301 North Street
Madison, WI 53704