Fish Type: Lake Perch Price: $14.00
Overall, I would barely recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Good|
Potato Score: Good
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Poor
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: A few months back I wrote a piece for the Isthmus highlighting some of the best new Fish Frys in the area, one of which was the Flying Hound Alehouse in Fitchburg. The Hound gained instant acclaim for their Friday specials (specifically their cod) and have since spawned another restaurant called the Waypoint Public House in Monona. The Waypoint has its own Friday offerings which are akin to, but uniquely different from its Fitchburgian brother. I visited both places on the same Friday in order to draw a comparison between the two. You might be surprised at what I found.
The first stop was lunch at the Flying Hound which consisted of lake perch and French fries. The perch costs a reasonable $13.50 and comes with everything it should except bread. Ive had perch at the Hound three times now and this was best of the lot although it was still exceedingly salty (and this coming from a guy who loves his salt). The fish was pliable and flaky, but all of the subtle fishy goodness was lost to the hyper-seasoned breading. It was simply overbearing and needed heaps of tartar to mellow it out, and even that couldnt quite do it.
Tons of skin-on matchstick fries are piled next to and beneath the perch, and fried right to the sweet spot. They were golden sticks of deliciousness, but like the fish, salted more heavily than most people could handle.
A unique house-made tartar accompanies the fish and has a good flavor. While mayo-based, it has much more in there than just relish. As an aside: there is a kids fish and chips available as well. Its one piece of cod, served with fries, and ranch dressing instead of tartar. Weird I know, but that must be what kids are in to.
The Hound has some very interesting slaw which is clearly made in-house, but kind of runny. Much like the other items is also has a very unique seasoning applied. I couldnt say exactly what it was (coriander or something out of the ordinary), but it really overpowered the blend making for a very unbalanced dish.
While I really appreciate all the effort the Flying Hound goes through to make their Fish Fry unique the heavy-handed seasoning gets to be a bit much. What we found at the Waypoint draws a stark contrast. Ive had the cod at the Waypoint in the past and thought it paled in comparison to that of that of the Flying Hound. This time I decided to try their $14.00 walleye and found it to be markedly better.
For starters, the Waypoint (and the Hound for that matter) are both exceedingly accommodating to families with young children. They seat smartly to ensure families have the space they need without taking anything away from the experience of other diners. The food also comes quickly at both places which is a godsend when youre sitting there with a hungry child. If you have a kid you know what Im talking about.
The Waypoint walleye fillet was on the small side, and covered in a dark and crispy coating that melded well with the flaky fish. Since it was clearly a young fish it didnt have any musty flavors or anything which allowed the breading to take center stage (which it did thanks more to its texture rather than its taste). Since it was small, it went fast but was still better overall than the salty perch I had for lunch.
Both Point and Hound appear to serve the same fries although they more conservatively portioned at the dinner destination. The Waypoint tartar was noticeably different however, with more zip and much smoother consistency than its comrade.
The Waypoint mimicked its sibling in that there was no bread provided, but stood apart from it with a peppy, much more balanced slaw.
While the Flying Hound made my write-up in the Isthmus those many months ago, the Waypoint might actually have the better Fish Fry at this point. The perch at the Hound was again too salty, but I will say that of all the fish Ive had between the two places their cod is still the best. The Waypoint is doing a better job of striking a balance, and while the Hound has the highest highs, it also reaches the lowest lows. Overall, we still recommend the lake perch and the Flying Hound, but recommend the walleye and the Waypoint Public House more. Both are good, but staying on the beam is critical and Public House strikes the right balance.
6317 McKee Road
Fitchburg, WI 53719