Fish Type: Lake Perch Price: $11.00
Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Fair|
Potato Score: Excellent
Tartar Score: Fair
Bread Score: Poor
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: There is always an inherent risk in trying something new. This risk is multiplied 10 fold when you talk about Fish Fry, since pretty much anywhere and everywhere will tell you that they have the best Fish Fry around, if you are only willing to try it. Well, I again found myself in the scenario where I needed to find a good Fish Fry, but at a place with a lot of veggie options. Since I had been saving the Atlantis Taverna in Sun Prairie for just such an occasion, I gave them a call to see what the deal was. On their website they just say that they have Friday Fish, but dont go into much detail on its contents. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that their fish of choice was lake perch and that it came with a side of smelt (yes, you heard right, a SIDE of smelt). Needless to say, I was intrigued.
We took the short jaunt to SP and found a spot on Main Street right in front of Atlantis. As we entered we could not help but notice the festive décor which is somewhat hidden from the street behind the bright blue awnings that cover the windows. We approached the bar and were immediately ushered to one of the open booths by the friendly host. The Friday special at Atlantis will run you $11 and consists of four small perch fillets, four smelt, a bunch of fries, a couple different tartar-like sauces and a salad of mixed greens. I anteed-up and put in my order while my fiancée picked from the many vegetarian options available to her.
The salad shot right out of the kitchen no more than 3 minutes after we ordered. The mixed greens were fresh and tasty, especially when coated with the supplied Greek dressing, mmm. I quickly polished if off and sat back to enjoy a couple sips of my New Glarus Naked (Spotted Cow was not an option). I got about 2/3 of the way through the beer before my steaming-hot plate emerged.
Even though the plate was sparsely populated I wasted no time in grabbing a piece of the perch and going to work. The perch fillets were paper thin and very firm. They seemed to be a little over fried, which is not surprising based on how little material was there. The light and crumbly breading didnt add much flavor either, resulting in tough little pieces without much to hang their hat on. The side of smelt was no better as they had a very strong fishy taste, but were also fried to a crisp. They were okay, but so fishy I thought for a moment that they were sardines in disguise.
In stark contrast to the underperforming perch and smelt were the Atlantis fries. These homemade wonders were nothing less than spectacular. I would never have suspected that a Greek restaurant could serve fries this good (save for the Parthenons infamous gyro-fry-pepsi), but the thick-cut fries were delicious and served as hot as can be. The only drawback being that they were so good, and so hot, that I burned the roof of my mouth repeatedly. Perhaps if the fish had been more temping I could have waited for them to cool down, but in my haste for deliciousness I paid the price.
Accompanying the fried items were two distinct sauces. The menu claimed a horseradish-lemon sauce would be along for the ride, but it mentioned nothing of an additional sauce. Whats more, I couldnt tell which, if either, of the sauces was actually the horseradish-lemon. The first cup contained a dilly mix, similar to the California Tartar I so despise, while the second was more of a ranch dressing blend, but was equally un-tartar-y. I really have no idea which was meant to go with the fish, but neither really did much to help it.
As many atypical Fish Frys go, Atlantis followed by not offering any slaw or bread. The mixed green stood in their place, and while good, are certainly not enough to make up for these staples.
After being so excited to try this Fish Fry I left with my head down, and my tail between my legs. The fish was in no way recommendable and I just cant see myself coming back for it. The fries were superb and the service was very courteous, but that is just not enough to make up for the lackluster fish and the lack of bread and coleslaw. Overall, I cant recommend the Fish Fry (the whole concept seemed Greek to them), but I would be willing to come back at and try some of the traditional Mediterranean specialties which looked very good and seemed to be very popular.
239 East Main Street
Sun Prairie, WI