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Fish Type: Lake Perch     Price: $18.00

Overall, I would recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: Dateline: March 13, 2020. A.K.A. The Friday before COVID closed everything; A.K.A. The Black Friday; A.K.A. The Last Hurrah; A.K.A. The Friday Fish Fry Funeral March

I knew in my bones that this was it. The writing was on the wall, and I could sense that it wouldn't be long before I was frying my own fish. I also knew Dexter's had lake perch on the menu, and realized I'd have a hell of a time getting lake perch on my own, so I did what any fish-obsessed individual would do - I paid my $18 and went to town.

Lake perch had been almost impossible to come by for almost two years before the pandemic thanks in no small part to over-fishing and exploding walleye populations in Lake Erie. When I saw Dexter's had them I was skeptical (many places had been passing pike-perch or zander off as real yellow perch), but figured they wouldn't try to pull a fast one (and I was right). Unfortunately, despite being the genuine article, the fillets were the tiniest I'd ever seen. The 10 or so diminutive divers were fried (overly) crispy and ate more like smelt than true decadent lake perch. While I was thankful to even have them this was far from ideal eating.

Everything else seemed to be up to the usual Dexter's standard - superbly seasoned waffle fries, a mild onion-flavored slaw, their tremendous tartar, and some real rye.

The lockdown went into effect mere days after I locked-down this fish and while COVID changed our world forver I can't say the same for this particular plate of perch. Yes, I was happy to have it, and it was the genuine article, but it was far from pristine. Overall, I would still recommend this Fish Fry, but here's to hoping the fillets are fatter in the post-pandemic America.
301 North Street
Madison, WI 53704

(608) 244-3535