Fish Type: Lake Perch Price: $11.00
Overall, I would highly recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Excellent|
Potato Score: Good
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Poor
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: Every year I head over to Mankato, MN for a hockey tournament over St. Patty's Day weekend, and every year I stop at Red Pines on the way. I've made it my own little tradition, and it's a hell of a good one.
Red Pines has a fish special on Friday, but it's walleye and shrimp, and while I like shrimp, I don't swing that way on Fridays. So, I stick to the lake perch (which is available every day) that comes either pan or deep fried...today I stuck to the stove-top. It's only $11.00 for a "stringer-full" of lake perch and it was easily worth every penny. They pan-fried perch stay a little firmer than their deep fried counterparts and maintain a lovely sheen throughout the meal. They are home to a light breading (which is apparently Mies brand) that really complements the subtle flavors of the fish well. While I know there is MSG in Mies, I also know I don't really care. It's superb stuff.
The Pines fries have a lovely orange tint to them and are perfectly fried such that the crisp crunch is offset by their pillowy pototo-y innerds. Not many places can do it as consistently as RP does, but every time I've had these spicy buggers they have been spot on.
Tartar is often overlooked at a Fish Fry. They're all the same after all, aren't they? That couldn't be further for the truth and a bad tartar can ruin a good fish. The Pine's smooth and zippy sauce is the opposite of that and takes the fish to the next plateau...some said it was Greenland, and some said Mexico. I decided it was nowhere except for excellent. All others were just guessing, wouldn't help you if they could.
Since it's not a Friday special, there's not bred with the perch, which is a bit of a bummer, and while you can choose Texas toast as a side I'll be damned if I'm compromising my fries or slaw for gluten. Speaking of slaw, the vinegar-style stuff shakes things up in the best of ways. It's perfectly balanced with just enough caraway seed that one is bound to get one stuck in your teeth. It's a thoughtful blend and definitely adds a welcomes zest to the meal. Traditional sides win at Red Pines!
Any Friday where you get to eat fish is a good Friday. A Friday where you get to eat fish AND play hockey is a great Friday, and when the fish is from Red Pines it's even better. Overall, we highly recommend this Fish Fry and only wish we could have it more than once a year. Road trip!?
W7305 County Road Z
Onalaska, WI 54650