Wisconsin March 08, 2019
The Most Massive Fish Fry In Wisconsin Serves Up 21 Different Types of Fish
In Wisconsin, Friday means a fish fry. We all have our favorites and there are places big and small, super-famous and hidden gems, all across the state that serve up this delicious and iconic meal every week, like clockwork. Most folks know what they like and stick to what they know. They love their cod or haddock or white fish and most fish frys don’t deviate too far from a pretty standard menu. But there’s a place on Milwaukee’s west side that takes the fish fry to a whole new level. At last count, Thistle & Shamrock was serving up 21 different types of fish for their weekly fish fry. The number varies based on availability of fish and I’ve seen stories claim everything from 14 fish on up, but regardless of the exact number, it’s truly a ridiculously large number of fish options when most places offer a choice of maybe two.
The Wisconsin fish fry is iconic and though it's a bit more popular during Lent, we certainly don't limit our fried fish consumption to those 40 days. Here in the Dairy State, we line up for the deliciousness of potato pancakes, bread, coleslaw and of course fish year-round. No need to limit yourself when it comes to fried fish.
Thistle & Shamrock is a pretty unassuming place. You definitely wouldn't imagine that a place like this on Milwaukee's west side would be serving up Amazonian fish, but you'd be wrong. These folks have taken the iconic Wisconsin fish fry to a whole new level. Baked or fried, they are offering up so many different fish options you'll have a hard time deciding.
The different fish fry options take up a whole page on the menu, and they often have a small flyer with all the additions. At minimum, you'll find pollock, catfish, cod, haddock, smelt, northern pike, shrimp, salmon, bluegill, lake perch, rainbow trout and walleye. But you'll also find Barramundi and arapaima - an Amazonian fish that actually tastes like chicken. Local and exotic, they're always looking to add options. Crappie is the next fish they hope to put on the menu.
Smartly, they offer a combo option because they know you'll never be able to pick just one of those unique and fabulous fish. All dinners include marble rye bread, freshly made coleslaw, homemade tartar sauce with your choice of potato: french fries, baked potato, potato pancakes (with applesauce or real maple syrup), loaded baked potato (add $2.50) or thistle chips. They also offer an amazing house-made seafood chowder that comes with a buttered roll that is so good it almost overshadows everything else.
We in Wisconsin love a fish fry and we tend to prize our comfort. We know what we like and we don't deviate much from that. But if any place is worth shaking yourself out of your comfort zone, it's Thistle & Shamrock. There's just really no other fish fry like it anywhere else in the state, which is really saying something.
Sure, a standard fish fry is amazing and wonderful and there's a reason that it's proliferated so well and so far across the state. Thistle & Shamrock isn't messing with what's good, they're elevating it and making it better. Who needs the same-old, same-old when there's something similar but different in the best possible way available. It's a simple change, but getting to discover so many different types of fish is really an awesome way to put a twist on the classic.
The meals here are generous and run from $12.95 for cod loin up to $19.95 for Walleye Pike or the arapaima. You'll get a plate full of food, well-made sides and more unique and interesting fish than you can possibly imagine. It's a totally awesome take on the Wisconsin standard and you're going to want to check it out.
You won't be disappointed in whatever you choose, but the best way to do this might be to take a few friends, have everyone get something different, and do a sharing and taste test to find the one that makes you the happiest. Mahi mahi is very different from bluegill, which is very different from perch, and each fish gets the preparation that's most appropriate. This isn't a one-size-fits-all, dunk it in batter and fry it up situation. These folks know their fish and they treat it right.
Thistle & Shamrock is really one of the best fish frys you'll find anywhere in the state. It's a totally unique fish fry experience, which is not something most places can say. Usually when a place has a giant menu, it's because they're trying too hard and instead of doing one or two things really well, they just do a massive amount of things in an ok manner. That's just not the case here. These folks take pride in having this massive fish selection and they serve it all up perfectly cooked and created to give you the best fish fry of your life.
Thistle & Shamrock is located at 3430 N 84th St., Milwaukee, WI 53222. You can check out
their website for more information or head over to their Facebook page.
If you love a Wisconsin fish fry, you have to check out this list of spots that are doing it right.