Ah, Ian’s. It may not be the city’s most authentic pizza place. Or the most historic. But it could arguably be the most creative. In recent years, the mad scientists who run the national franchise (it has local outposts at 5300 W. Bluemound Rd., 2035 E. North Ave., and 146 E. Juneau Ave.) have created lots of wonderfully weird pizzas, with names like Macho Nacho and Drunken Ravioli.
Right now, they’re serving up an especially zany menu item, which they’ve rolled out just in time for Lent. A fish fry pizza, complete with the requisite fried fish, plus French fries, tartar sauce and coleslaw.
The combination of ingredients is so staggeringly strange that I had to order up a slice. And I’m here to report that it does, in fact, taste a lot like a traditional Wisconsin fish fry heaped atop a pile of pizza crust. Whether or not that sounds appealing to you will probably depend on how much you like the idea of smashing one of your favorite foods into another one of your favorite foods and eating the two of them together.
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In my case, I’ve got to admit I liked the idea of the pizza more than its actual execution. I’m normally a tartar sauce enthusiast, but apparently don’t like it so much when it’s sandwiched between thick layers of pizza crust and melted mozzarella. The fish itself was also a little lackluster. It tasted like microwavable fish sticks. Which is to say, not bad. But not exactly great either.
Surprisingly, I did actually appreciate the addition of the coleslaw. It added a little acidity and tanginess to an otherwise creamy and carb-heavy Frankenfood.
Did I like it enough to order the pizza again? Nope. But, to be honest, if you were to offer me another slice for free, I’d probably take it. And eat it. Because it’s hard to actively dislike a pile of carbs and dairy products.
Ian’s Fish Fry pizza will be available every Friday from now through the end of Lent, the first week of April. Call your nearest Ian’s location to place an order for pickup or delivery.