In this series, we’re trying out some of the city’s most popular fish fries. You’ll find commentary, pro tips and ratings of the three staples of a classic Wisconsin fry: namely the fish, the potato pancakes and the classic Wisconsin style brandy old fashioned. View all fish fry reviews here.
Paulie’s Pub & Eatery
8031 W. Greenfield Ave.
Since 2004, Paulie’s Pub & Eatery has functioned as more than just an average watering hole in West Allis. In fact, the bar and restaurant consistently serves up a menu of well-executed beverages, better than average bar food and dependably friendly service. And that’s part of the reason we made a trip to this popular pub to try out its Friday fish fry.
Like most bars in the area, Paulie’s is outfitted with a traditional bar, a healthy group of regulars, plenty of televisions (on which there's always a game or videos playing), and a dining area that doubles as an entertainment area where the pub features live music multiple nights a week.
On the fish fry menu, you’ll find four options: Fat Tire beer-battered cod loin ($12.99), baked cod (buttered and seasoned with your choice of lemon pepper and paprika, cajun seasoning or Paulie’s secret zesty blend, $12.99), breaded cod ($12.99) and deep fried lake perch ($16.99). Each comes with a choice of potato (french fries, house parmesan ranch chips, buttered red potatoes or potato pancakes), creamy coleslaw, marble rye, lemon and tartar sauce.
Pro Tip: The clam chowder at Paulie’s is also worth your time. Served every Friday, it’s ultra-creamy and a bit smoky with plenty of meaty clam pieces. Grab a cup for $3.49 or a bowl for $4.99.
At Paulie’s, the fish portions are generous and the kitchen gets notable points for its efforts in hand breading and battering the fish (worth the wait, even on a busy night). Perch came lightly floured and crisp with a good amount of seasoning. The breading was light (just a dusting of seasoned flour), and the fish maintained a fairly good texture, though it erred a tiny bit on the dry side.
Breaded cod includes three good sized loins that are well seasoned with a light, crisp breading. The fish wasn’t at all greasy, its texture was moist and the fish itself had good flavor. All in all a winning choice.
The potato pancakes
The two potato pancakes at Paulie’s were medium in size. They sported a nice potato-forward flavor and were well seasoned. Texturally, there were tender and not overly heavy. My only critique is that they could have been just a smidge crisper.
The old fashioned
The old fashioned at Paulie’s is a nice rendition of the classic. It was pleasantly sweet with a nice showing from the addition of bitters and fair amount of brandy flavor. Muddling was also evident, with both cherry and orange in the bottom of the glass.
Got suggestions for our next fish fry? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions. Suggested fish fry menus must include lake fish (walleye, perch), potato pancakes and a stellar old fashioned.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.