The Takeout Fry

(page 3 of 3)

Photo by Angela Wong

Picasso's

5266 Williamsburg Way, Fitchburg
271-8440, picassosonline.com

The sign above the door says “pizza,” not “perch,” so you’d be forgiven for not realizing that one of Madison’s better takeout fish fries is located in a place that makes most of its profit margin off mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce.

Fried cod and perch were already on the menu when owner Chad Leppien bought Picasso’s thirteen years ago, and he only briefly thought about spiking them; instead, he upgraded the quality of the fish, a move that’s kept the fry a popular staple, whether you take it out, have it delivered or dine in. It’s easy to understand why: One of the main ingredients in the beer batter on the Norwegian cod and perch is New Glarus’s Spotted Cow (continuing a local-beer batter trend we’re only too happy to encourage). The result is a crispy batter that goes just about perfectly with the homemade capers-and-lemon-zest tartar sauce.

Leppien divides his staff and kitchen space to accommodate multiple operations (the cod’s available only on Fridays). That organization effectively solves the conundrum of whether pizza and fish fry can happily coexist.

“It’s not even a question,” says Leppien. “It’s become too easy.” 

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