When I learned that a friend of mine bought the Painted Parrot in West Allis all I could think of was the line ‘Don’t worry be happy’. I thought he must have been dipping in the ganja vat a bit too much.
Being a true fish fry guy I asked him how his fry was, his immediate response was the best in Milwaukee and then went on to tell me he would do 350+ on a Friday night. This may sound like a lot, but then it is West Allis and it is Friday night. I had to check it out.
I got on the horn and called my friends Jan (the guy with a girls name), Yvonne, and Robin. We decide on 7:00 pm for cocktails and to see what the Parrot has to offer. 6:45 pm we arrive, no place to park. I circle the block, and find nothing in the immediate area. 6:55 pm a spot in front of the Parrot opens up but I am going the wrong way, I make a U-turn in the middle of National Ave. just narrowly avoiding a multi-colored Yugo. Just as I make the circle some schmuck zips around the corner and takes my spot. 6:56 pm I am getting pissed off. I cannot believe there are this many people here. 7:01 pm I slip into a spot in the funeral home parking lot figuring no one will need it this evening. It’s a nice evening and the walk back to the car will probably do me good.
We walk in and the joint is jumping. There is the sweet smell of a good fish fry floating through the air. We wiggle through the crowd and find Mike Polacheck one of the co-owners behind the bar. He asks Robin what she wants to drink, and she comes back with a Jim Beam and Coke (gack), Mike gives me the WTF look and I can only hang my head in shame. I go with a Blue Moon and since I am a guy… hold the orange. I send Robin halfway down the bar to stake out an impending opening and a few minutes later our butts are firmly planted on a barstool. Life is looking pretty good right now but I am feeling the need for a Martini infusion.
DJ Martin Sertich the other owner comes over to say hi. I sheepishly admit my initial disbelief when we first talked about his Friday night volume. WTF I have been wrong before and I am pleased that this time I was. Jan and Yvonne show up and Martin seats us at a table. I always love watching people in a restaurant; the waitresses are weaving in and out of the crowd with trays held high and massive amount of food on them. One of the most intriguing things I see is the waitresses carrying what appear to be large garbage can covers heaped with various kinds of food. Martin points out one of them and tells us they area the ‘Big Ass Nachos’. I can see myself some night with my beak full of Martinis face first in that tray. For those with a less aggressive appetite they have the ‘Half-Ass Nachos’. Right now I don’t care what I have as long as it comes on a can cover. Our waitress assures me she will make it happen.
Martin assures us we have to do the Clam Chowder, so we order the chowder and three fish frys. Yvonne orders the Fish Tacos. There is something about a fish taco that reminds me of bar jokes about fishing boats and out-houses.As I start to tell the story Robin gives me the look…which in this case means ‘I don’t know what your going to say, but don’t say it’. Yvonne said they were great, I will never know. The Chowder however, is excellent, full of clams and had the WI thickness I like. The Easterners I know like Chowder with the viscosity of clam urine. You can think about that twisted thought for a while! Our waitress was true to her word and the fish came out on a big ass cover, she placed it on an elevated stand so everyone could enjoy the massive amount of food we were about to devour. The cod had a light breading and was flakey and full of flavor as were the Sweet Potato fries. The slaw was different. This was due to the mango vinaigrette dressing. Although it was good it was not my favorite, however, some people a few tables back asked to purchase 30 lbs. for an upcoming party. Our waitress comes back a while later and asks us if we want more, and the we find out the fish fry is all you can eat. I really do love Milwaukee!
Martin and Mike have done a great job cleaning and revamping the Parrot. Stop in for a fish fry and have a few cocktail while you wait. You will not be disappointed.
The Big Ragu gives this joint a 4 outa 5