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Fish Type: Lake Perch     Price: $12.00

Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Damn. I want to like this Fish Fry, I really do. It is so close to being great, but it just doesn’t get there and it makes me kinda sad.

Today we stopped at Next Door for lunch and the specials were a $9 cod or a $12 lake perch, which seems like a square deal, but man, the portions are TINY. First off, there is no bread so let’s just get that out of the way. Next, both the cod and the perch are served as a 2-piecce (yes, a 2-piece perch, you heard that right). Both share same APA beer batter as well and come with a maple glaze, which is something no one else does (and probably for good reason). MFF Jr. hated it the glaze, but I thought the sticky substance was acceptable and made the fish unique (at the very least). Both fish seemed to be of decent quality with the flakiness you expect, but there was just so little of them it was hard to get a good read on it even at a petite price.

The best part of this Fry were probably the house-cut fries which were plentiful when compared to the fish and pretty much spot-on all, supple, stupendous. If only the fish could live up to them. If only…

A ramekin of tartar with a twin ketchup sat confidently atop the plate as if to say, we’re here and we are perfectly ready to serve you. The sauce was on the thin side, and more ranch-y than mayo-y, but still improved the fish. Its subtle sweetness offset the glaze to some extent and although it was thin, it stuck to the slippery fish well.

Keeping with a recent trend, the slaw was stupendous. I’m not sure if I’ve just warmed to it over the years or what, but it seems that I’ve had a ton of great ones recently. This mix was pungent, and although simple, it tasted fresh with a smattering of lettuce to coincide with the crunchy cabbage.

It’s hard to judge any place based on a single visit and I wanted to think our first trip to Next Door was just fluky, but after a second time I feel like I’ve got a pretty good bead on it. I’ve been teased by their alluring atmosphere and promise of “neighborhood favorite” perch, at the end of the day the portion is just way too small. Overall, we still don’t recommend this Fish Fry, and although there are a lot of element we like about it, they’re not the most important ones.
2439 Atwood Avenue
Madison, WI 53704

(608) 729-3683