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Fish Type: Lake Perch     Price: $11.00

Overall, I would highly recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that not all Fish Frys are created equal. That the best are endowed by their creator with certain unknown spices, among these are season salt, pepper and secret blends that culminate in the pursuit of perfectly fried fish. That to secure this deliciousness, expert fry cooks are instituted among men, deriving their genius from years in the kitchen and countless hours of frying. That whenever any Fish Fry becomes incredibly tasty, it is the right of the people to eat it, and to tell of its glory such that others who may not of known of its delectableness may do so. To prove this we will eat every Fish Fry, and let facts be submitted to a candid world.

Madison Fish Fry is declaring its independence from any and all tyrants who would say that bars cannot be held up amongst the best in the Fish Fry universe, for we have been to Cahoots. Cahoots is a very unassuming looking bar, but packs a wallop when Friday night rolls around. We stumbled into Cahoots right around 8 o’clock, grabbed a pint of the Cow at the bar, and found ourselves a table right near the door. Having noticed that we were in the mood for more than just booze, the petite waitress pranced over and took our order almost immediately. Since MFF has patronized the establishment previously we knew that the cock of the walk was the lake perch, and had no trouble convincing Melissa that she should follow her Fish Fry friend in ordering. Jer, being the delightful character that he is, changed it up a bit and chose to canoodle with some cod. We also procured an appetizer of mini corn dogs ‘cause the lady of the table was just in that kind of mood.

The little cornies came well before the fish and were not great, but certainly tasted just like a corn dog. When the fish hit the table a few minutes later they were quickly put into the back of our minds as the pristine perch stole the show instantly. Wasting no time (as per usual) I grabbed one of the six fillets and went to town. Just like Dexter’s earlier in the day I was immediately greeted by excellence. The perch enjoyed a flavorful, crumbly batter which complimented the moist, flaky fish underneath perfectly. This is easily some of the best perch around town and one of the few places that gives the Villa Tap a run for their money. In no time flat I exhausted my portion and moved on the “help” my friends with theirs.

Jer, being the generous soul that he is, also allowed me a bite or two of his cod which was also good, but not in the same echelon as its freshwater counterpart. While it dawned the same breading as the perch, it was much richer and tasted like it had be drown in butter prior to meeting its maker in the fryer. Overall, it was still very good, but the perch was clearly superior.

Being that we are a diverse group of individuals we chose diverse potato options, which seems fitting. The best among them were the good old French fries which were straight-cut and delicious. They resembled McDonalds fries and were every bit as good, if not better. The twice baked potato that Jer paired with his cod turned out to be not so hot, while the baked potato was, well, a baked potato. All reports were that the fries were easily the best among them, which reinforced what I already knew in my heart to be true. Fries people, fries.

As you may know, Madison Fish Fry likes tartar with his fish, but when the percentage of dill present rises, this is not the case. Cahoots hasn’t fully fallen victim to the dill-craze, but they do slip a fair amount into their sauce. While it still tastes pretty good, the dill/relish ratio is close to pushing it over the edge. That said, at this point it still helps the fish, but the perch is so good, and so flavorful on its own, the assistance was minimal.

Putting the finishing touches on this Fish Fry were some zesty coleslaw and a wee dinner roll. The slaw was actually pretty good, but the roll was a little below average and Jer and Melissa didn’t even give it a chance. I found them both to be edible and perfectly complimentary to the spectacular fish.

Being that Cahoots has kind of an odd layout it is pretty remarkable just how good of a job they do feeding the flock. The young waitress was quick and attentive, while the owner/manager dude went around to just about every table to check on the satisfaction of his guests. Overall, this is one spectacular little Fish Fry and a pretty good value at 11 bucks. It is easily recommendable and we’ll even go beyond that to say the perch is no doubt, some of the best in the city. The French fries were also great and when amalgamated with a suitable tartar, some creamy slaw and a plain old roll were just what the doctor ordered. Christ Cahoots, where did you even come from? I guess I don’t really care as long as you stick around and keep that perch a-comin’. Score another one for the Fish Fry guy, and ya’ll make sure to put Cahoots on your Friday night wish list.
102 West Railroad Street
Verona, WI 53593

(608) 497-1230