Fish Type: Lake Perch Price: $17.00
Overall, I would highly recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Excellent|
Potato Score: Good
Tartar Score: Excellent
Bread Score: Good
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: If you’re here looking for a Fish Fry that’s close to Madison it’s probably best you stop reading now. If, on the other hand, you are looking for great Fish Fry the world over read on, my friend. Wendt’s on the Lake is obviously not close to Madison, but believe me when I tell you, it’s a great one…and the world already knows all about it.
I happened to be in the area on a Friday and had heard so many amazing things about Wendt’s perch I resolved to get there no matter what. There’s no doubt that Wendt’s is the place to be any old Friday, but today it was magnified by the start of sturgeon spearing season on Lake Winnebago. The place was buzzing, the entire parking lot was full, and a bus full of senior citizens was unloading to make things even more hectic. Ice shanties dotted the ice, stretching as far as the eye could see in all directions. And, not to be outdone, the Wisconsin Foodie was even there filming a segment for the show. It was madness, but I somehow managed to snag a stool at the bar without issue, which was a small miracle unto itself.
As soon as I could get a bartenders attention I ordered my food (which was a difficult choice to say the least). Wendt’s fancies themselves the lake perch specialists, and as such have a few sizes to choose from - starting with a single order of three butterflies ($14) and topping out with the triple order ($25). Apparently this system has been instituted since my visit as my order was the regular (10 ouncer) which was made up of 5 butterflies for $17. I have no idea why the change was put in place, all I know is my portion was hearty and came alarmingly fast considering the number of orders pouring into the kitchen.
The perch was nothing less than magnificent. It was light and flaky and the 10 full fillets filled out the plate. The succulent swimmers were home to Wendt’s classic breading, which claims to have been in use for nigh on to 80- years. While the coating wasn’t super seasoned it had the perfect consistency. It was light and crumbly which complemented the pristine perch underneath just right. While I’d like to see the salt quotient dialed up a notch, I also like the fact that they let the perch speak for itself and this stuff can definitely orate.
Wendt’s homemade tartar comes in a big squeeze bottle and I went back for multiple squirts. It was clingy, but not overly thick, which only served to enhance the delicate perch. The relish was finely chopped which kept the nozzle clog-free, and the pop was there, but like the breading didn’t usurp any of the perch’s inherent majesty.
Lots of potato options are available although none are cut in-house. I debated between the “cross-cuts” (waffle fries), regular fries, and steak fries, eventually settling on the cc’s. The spud lattices were very good, and came dashed with season salt. While the tasty tubers aren’t quite on the same level as Dexter’s they aren’t far behind either.
Maintaining the theme of excellence was Wendt’s slaw which was nothing short of wonderful. Purple cabbage and a few carrot shards were swimming in a pool of sweet and zesty vinegar that was perfectly balanced by a shot of sugar. I’m not even kidding when I say it’s some of the best I’ve had, and as you know, I’ve had my share.
A fat slice of French bread comes pre-buttered, split down the middle, and laid face-to-face. While it was nicer than what most place serve with their fish it was clearly the lowlight or what is a show stopping Fish Fry.
All I can say is wow. This Fish Fry had it all and was nothing short of amazing from tip to tail. Wendt’s was vibrant, it was busting, it was the essence of what a Fish Fry is all about. In addition, more merchandise flew out in the half hour I was there than most places probably do in an entire year. Hats, tees, sweatshirts, all were fair game. People clearly love this place and it shows. Overall, we highly recommend this Fish Fry and think it’s easily on of the best we’ve ever had.
N9699 Lake Shore Road
Van Dyne, WI 54979