Fish Type: Cod Price: $9.50
Overall, I would highly recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Excellent|
Potato Score: Good
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Excellent
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: Going out of the way to grab a Fish Fry at a bar can be a risky proposition, especially if it’s a bar you’ve never been to before. A few weeks back we got bit in the ass attempting this feat so we were somewhat hesitant to try our luck again, but having heard nothing but good things about DJ’s Shortstop we decided to throw caution to the wind. This time around, our gamble paid off big time. Jackpot!
Miah, Melsa and I arrived on the south shore of Lake Koshkonong around 6:30 and had no problem locating the “small bar in the middle of a trailer court.” The cramped parking lot practically overflowed into the lake, but we happened upon an open space and snatched it up. We walked in the back door, rounded a corner, found a gap at the jam-packed bar, and ordered a round of drinks. The dining area was abuzz but well orchestrated by a single ultra-diligent lady, who, even though we merely made eye-contact with her figured out our situation and put us on her mental waiting list. Within five minutes, her busboy had cleared a spot and she pointed us towards it. She was doing an amazing juggling act. It was impressive to say the least.
It took her a little while to come over (which she adamantly apologized for even though it didn’t bother us in the least) at which time she informed us the walleye was sold out and the bluegill was no more (at least for the time being). While the allegedly “huge” walleye fillets are what drew us in, their absence wasn’t the end of the world and I simply shifted my focus to the bluegill’s surrogate – the $12.50 lake perch. Miah was feeling even more adventurous than I, and chose the catfish special, while Melsa played it cool with the classic cod. Of course, since the Lady Melsa was with us, we also got an appetizer of mini-corndogs which hit the table before the fish and were exactly what you would expect they would be – corny-wienie goodness.
Our aquatic trio was ready in no time flat and set before us (and a lone remaining corndog) in pristine condition. The two “lake perch” fillets were absolutely HUGE and measured somewhere close to a foot each. The length alone had us all wondering if these were some sort of super-fish, or if maybe, just maybe, DJ’s was passing off some other perch species as the famous Wisconsin lake perch? While the skin had the classic LP appearance the size alone made it dubious and I assume the fish might actually have been pike perch, which, while in the lake perch family, is not exactly the same thing. Regardless, it had the classic taste and texture you come to expect from perch, and the flaky, tender fish was still very edible.
Like the perch the catfish came in two chunks, but contrary to purported perch the pieces were smaller than you’d expect. The bottom feeder fillets were not flaky, but you wouldn’t necessarily expect them to be. They were slightly-mushy, but featured a velvety texture with good flavor. While it, and perch were passed the test, the cod was terrific and basically stole the show. The ubiquitous breading that adorned all the options worked best with saltwater surprise as the smooth flaky fish gave it the perfect field on which to play. Both breading and meat were delicate and flaky which resulted in a great flavor combination. With the walleye out of the competition the cod easily claimed the top spot on the podium with the catfish and “lake perch” taking silver and bronze, respectively.
Unlike the fish, the potato options weren’t great. The potato pancakes were basically two pre-formed hash brown patties served alongside a big cup of apple sauce. The factory-fresh spuds were fine, but just were not up to snuff. The waitress-recommended cheesy potato casserole was better, but still nothing to write home about, although it was ultra-cheesy.
A large cup of tartar brought its A-game and paired perfectly with the cod and adequately with the other two fish. The thick and creamy mix had the proper proportion of mayo to relish and featured a little something extra… some red pepper perhaps?
The crowning jewel in this fish crown was a pre-buttered half-slice of marble rye. It was soft, fresh, and simply excellent. The only drawback was the fact that we weren’t allotted the full slice which would have pushed it into near-perfect territory. The slaw was also great as the creamy blend featured copious amounts of mayo blended with subtle horseradish undertones.
We were certainly disappointed that the walleye was sold out by 6:30, but that is the way it goes sometimes - the early bird gets the worm (or the fish in this case). However, the three additional options more than made up for the deficient fish, and when combined with all the sides make for three easily recommendable Fish Frys. What’s more, it was nice to see a waitress at a bar as diligent as DJ’s was. She simply dominated the room, doing all manner or task, from cleaning tables to serving food and bringing drinks. 10 tables of varying sizes? No problem-o for JD’s waitress extraordinaire. Overall, we recommend the Fish Fry at DJ’s Shortstop and will be back again soon (probably around 5pm) in an attempt to get our hands on some of that walleye.
11601 N. Lake Street
Milton, WI 53563