Fish Type: Rockfish Price: $15.00
Overall, I would barely recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Good|
Potato Score: Fair
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Poor
Miscellaneous Score: Excellent
Comment: First and foremost, if you've never had pizza at Sal's do yourself a favor, skip the fish and get a couple of their specialty pies. They are without a doubt some of the best the area has to offer and I'd wager some of the best that will ever grace your lips. Sal's can pizza to say the least. If however, you are like me, and have previously perused a plethora of their pies, branching out to their other cuisine makes sense.
This Friday was a special one and Sal's went off-script with a $15.00 3-piece Rockfish to benefit friends impacted by hurricanes of 2017. It was a great cause and since I figured they might Fry as well as they pizza I scurried right over there with the little man and the little lady. Ocean perch is an amorphous term that encompass several species of fish and Rockfish is one of them that gets lumped in so I'll classify it as such. For starters, this Rockfish was fresh as all get out. It was clearly never frozen as the meat was supple, moist and flaky. In addition, the cuts were large, which they needed to be since they were entombed by a thick beer batter that essentially suffocated them. In my experience it's common for places that don't batter fry that often to leave the coating thick and this was seemingly the case at Sal's. The places that have the system down tend to coat the fish, then let the excess batter drip off for a bit before they take the plunge. This results in a thin coating that doesn't plump in the fryer resulting in a crisp skin. Sal's batter had a nice exterior, but a lot of the gelatinous goo between it and the meat. The flavor of the batter itself was rich and delectable, but the gooey girth was definitely detracted from the deliciousness.
Sal's can be classified as more of a "fine dining establishment" than your average Fish Fry spot and as such they went beyond regular French fries with some coarsely cut potatoes. These spuds had a lot of lemon or lemon zest on them which dominated the flavor and even overtook the visible garlic pieces. It was too bad, as there was definite potential here. The tartar was also house-made and had a nice sweetness, but was super thin. While it wasn't bad in any regard it wasn't a show-stopper and with such a beefy batter the sauce was an afterthought. A batter this bold really needs a thick sauce that can go toe-2-toe with it and this stuff met it on the flavor foot, but treaded lightly on texture.
As an initial foray into Friday Fish Fry Sal's chose to go beyond the basic slaw with a "market vegetable" version that just missed me altogether. There was so much going on in this market that nothing stood out and it was basically a melee that resulted in bumps and bruises all around. There was also no bread which made me ever more annoyed by this anti-gluten craze.
While I can't be 100% sure, I have a feeling this was a one-off which is really too bad because there is a ton of potential here. I think with a few more Fridays to work out the kinks this Fry could be something special. Of course, pizza will always be Sal's calling card so maybe being even busier on Friday nights isn't something they are after, but damn, I can only imagine... Overall, we barely recommend this Fish Fry as the quality still came through, but was overtaken by a couple less-than-savory elements.
121 E Main Street
Sun Prairie, WI 53590