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Fish Type: Walleye     Price: $16.00

Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.

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

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Comment: You can tell a lot about a restaurantís culinary philosophy from their Fish Fry. Is it a pull-it-out-of-the-freezer-and-drop-it-in-some-hot-oil kind of place, or is it a carefully-choose-the-most-pristine-sustainably-sourced-freshwater-fish-we-can-find-and-lightly-pan-sear-it-to-reduce-fat-intake kind of place. Both speak volumes about the rest of the menu, and while both can be good, in actuality, the best Fish Frys tend to come from restaurants that fall somewhere in the middle Ė not lowbrow, but not too snooty either. The Breakwater trends towards the snooty, but not overly so.

The Friday special at Breakwater is a $16.00 walleye plate that is clearly unique and fresh, but maybe trying a bit too hard to be so. For starters our waitress was on the slow side. From simply coming over to say hi, to getting the initial round of drinks, to delivering the food, everything was a step behind where youíd like it to be. When the fish did show, it was cooling and looked unlike any other walleye Iíve seen.

Instead of one large fillet or even a couple smaller baby walleye filets (like youíd expect) Breakwater serves their fish in four petite pieces. The quartet was probably only 6 ounces or so total, and on the thin side. Each was coated in a very unique salt & vinegar potato chip batter that had a distinctive flavor and a big crunch. This batter would certainly have worked wonders on a fat fillet, but totally took over the waifish cuts leaving no walleye flavors to be found.

Where the cuts of fish were a bit pretentious, the house-cut fries were the genuine article. They came in a huge portion which dwarfed the wee walleye and supplemented it to some extent. While itís not a one-to-one tradeoff these damn-near-perfect spuds did their best to make this Fish Fry all it could be.

The tartar was good, albeit on the thin end of the spectrum. It had a good pop but was more of a dripper than a clinger and more ranch-y than mayo-y.

Like the fries the slaw was also clearly made in-house and composed of roughly a 50/50 cabbage/carrot blend. It was big on the vinegar, but also had some cream which struck a surprisingly pleasant compromise.

A unique bread choice could have been the starch to pull this Fish Fry back from the brink, but alas it wasnít meant to be. No bread came with the meal, and when taken in context with the other shortcomings it might be the straw that breaks the camelís back on this one.

Breakwater has a great culinary philosophy as near as we can tell and it was reflected (although not capitalized on) by the Fish Fry. Fresh and unique seems to be the vibe here, and while the fries did all they could, they couldnít salvage the other weaknesses. Overall, we donít recommend this Fish Fry, but the pizza my wife got was superb so we have to believe there is hope for smoother seas ahead.
6308 Metropolitan Lane
Monona, WI 53713

(608) 416-5388