Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Night Out: J. Lotti's & Montecito

A few weeks back, I met up with a friend and her friends for a fish fry. It had been about a year since I had a fish fry in Waukesha and I was very glad we chose J. Lotti's. We got there around 6 and the restuarant was starting to fill up but we were sat in a large booth that comfortably fit the 4 of us, and could have easily fit 6.

After the long work week, I was in need of a tasty cocktail and decided on the Superfruit Mojito that had Acai and pomegranite liquerers on top of the mint and lime. It was served in in a stemless wine glass and had a light mauve tint to it. I could see the fresh mint floating around the drink as well as the lime slices. I was a little disheartened that the mint had started to brown on the edges, but I mixed it all in and forgot that I saw it.

The mojito was exactly what I wanted - slightly sweet, refreshing with a cool after taste. I sipped it slowly to enjoy it throughout the meal.

When the friends arrived, I described how the J.Lotti's All-You-Can-Eat fish fry worked. This is an amazing deal -- for $14 you get fried chicken, "Poor Man's Lobster (baked haddock w/ drawn butter)," fried haddock, hush puppies, french fries, coleslaw and rye bread. You can choose to get the order however you want. If you want them to bring it all out for you, you can. Or you can ask for just chicken or fish first and get the rest later. I ordered the two fish dishes, fries and hush puppies.

We had just got into discussion when the server started bringing out the meal. The coleslaw came in two dishes to share and a basket of rye bread with plenty of slices was placed on the table. Next came a basket of hush puppies and french fries. We began nibbling while waiting for the fish to come out but realized that we shouldn't get too full on the sides, so as to save room for the fish.

About 15 minutes later, our fish came out and was piping hot. Everyone's plates looked great. For an AYCE, the plates come loaded for the first serving. I had two pieces of fried haddock and two pieces of baked. Those that ordered chicken had that much fish as well as a huge chicken breast on their plate.

I went for the baked haddock first because I wanted to make sure I ate it while still hot (nothing like luke warm fish to turn me off from a meal). The haddock was lightly seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika and then I squeezed a lemon over it. It flaked apart wonderfully and after a dip in the drawn butter, I was very pleased with the flavor. Haddock isn't a fishy-tasting fish and with the seasonings, I didn't want to stop eating. I took a break and dug into the fried haddock so as to save some of the baked for last. The fried fish was lightly battered and perfectly crispy. I too squeezed lemon over the fish and dipped it in the tartar sauce. It tasted great but wasn't the best fried fish I have had. This is a hard list to top because...well...I live in Wisconsin and fish fries are part of every restaurant's Friday menu (or should be).

The coleslaw was nice and crisp and not too oily, just how I like it. Rye bread is rye bread and I was told that the chicken was nice and crispy and one friend even asked for a second helping of just the chicken.

I highly recommend stopping in some Friday for the fish fry but also stop in to J.Lotti's any night of the week and check out the atmosphere and specials. The restaurant has something special going on every night.

I'm really glad to see that J.Lotti's has made such a success not being on Main Street in Waukesha. With the stigma that businesses off the main drag not being able to make it being stated around Waukesha, I give John and Tiffaney major props for proving that wrong. Before the location was J.Lotti's, it was two other restaurants that both lasted less than a year. Finally a great business model was put in place and the restaurant seems to be here to stay!

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