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Fish Type: Bluegill     Price: $11.00

Overall, I would highly recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Great fish? The Pickle Tree’s got it.

Hash brown with cheese and onion? The Pickle Tree’s got ‘em.

Creamy tartar sauce? The Pickle Tree’s got that.

Coleslaw, dinner rolls AND relish trays? You’d better believe the Pickle Tree’s got all of those.

Supper Clubs are famous for their relish trays, but apparently junkie-looking-mini-mall-stores-turned-restaurants can be too. The Pickle Tree’s version is served in one of the red fryer baskets, and while not overstocked, came with enough fresh carrots, celery and radishes to get the ball rolling. Paul and I took the “tray” to task, me crushing the carrots and Paul chomping every last bit of celery. A radish or two was also sampled, but mostly cast aside since we aren’t the radish eating type. Likewise the bread, which came in its own red basket, also conformed to the supper club mold featuring soft, fresh dinner rolls AND the famous cellophane wrapped breadsticks. A great start to any Fish Fry.

The main event occurred 10 minutes or so after we ordered, with my $11 bluegill and Paul’s $9 cod entering our bar-side arena. We didn’t witness the undercard of ocean perch and beer battered lake perch, but if these contenders are anything like the heavy weights we did see, they would have put on quite a show in their own right. My bluegill was very good and the 10 tiny fillets pretty much filled the plate. The menu didn’t clarify whether they were breaded or battered, but they appeared to be battered to me. The alleged batter was nice and thin and had a very good flavor. While they tasted great they were generally a mixed bag, with some being tiny and others quite meaty. Regardless of their stature the fish were flaky, well-fried, and worked flawlessly with the light batter.

While the sunfish I supped was nothing to scoff at the cod stole the show. The saltwater surprise was incredibly flaky, and fell apart effortlessly – no chewy, greasiness here. It hosted a superb batter which was unbelievably thin for a beer batter and just amazing. The tasty coating paired perfectly with the smooth and flaky cod making for a inspiring experience. In fact, it was so good that even Paul ate every last morsel which threw me for a loop since he usually hedges his bets on the fried foods and I was hoping to scarf up his leftovers. Shite.

On the side came a plate of hash browns with cheese and onion which were also excellent. They were served in a unique rectangular shape, with a run-of-the-mill slice of American cheese and 1” square onion chunks scattered evenly throughout. The shredded spuds complemented the bluegill so well that they challenged it bite for bite, both being finished off at the same time in one massive mouthful of fried nirvana.

Pairing profoundly with the cod and the bluegill was Pickle Tree’s homemade tartar. The thick topping was simply superb as a subtle amount of relish allowed the magnificent mayo to shine. The pleated paper cupful even passed the inversion test as I flipped it, Blizzard-style, gave it a squeeze, and watched the sublime sauce defy gravity. Awesome.

Finishing off the Fish Fry was some finely chopped coleslaw which was chockfull of carrots and radish. The creamy concoction was clearly homemade, but a little heavy on the radish which gave it a strange twinge. The base-sauce also lacked any zest which really allowed the radish flavor to overpower the mix.

Apparently the Pickle Tree lays claim to the title of “Best Fish Fry in Deerfield” and even though I have never had another Fish Fry in Deerfield I know it to be true. I mean, it would be very unlikely for another place in a town that size to offer a Fish Fry this good. It is simply top-notch, complete with all the trimmings, and at a good price. What’s more, even with all elements in place the fish is still the star of the show, which is the way it should be. Overall, we highly recommend both the cod and the bluegill at the Pickle Tree and are already ready for a reprise. Deerfield, here we come!
625 S Main Street
Deerfield, WI 53531

(608) 764-8060