This was not my first rodeo, I mean fish boil. Years ago, with no prior knowledge that there was such a tradition, Etta and I ate at Pelletier’s. When the chef threw the lit kerosene and ignited the fish fat into a huge fireball, it was an elemental shock, an unexpected thrill on par with my first cliff jump at Cave Point County Park. It was part of what hooked me on Door County.
White Gull Inn is the best fish boil I have ever been to. They are doing everything right. The boil itself is outside, with a bar. Maybe it says something about the Door County tourist demographic, but I was not the only drinking Clausthaler at this backyard boil, if you know what I’m saying. The chef, Tom, explained what he was doing, and the explosion of whitefish fat lit the eager faces of all of us gathered around.
This place does it right: you watch the fish boil outside, and eat in comfort inside the historic inn. Guests are served freshly boiled whitefish from an efficient and friendly buffet line, and servers attend to tables for drink and fish refills. It’s all you can eat. Let me be clear, the amount of whitefish you are able to eat will be in direct proportion to the ratio of drawn butter and tartar sauce you garnish with. Etta partied too hard and got knocked in a classic Wisconsin butter coma.
The whitefish was perfectly cooked, the potatoes and tartar sauce were tasty. Our server demonstrated de-boning so well I was confident and successful with my fillet. I quickly forgot her lesson and butchered the tail piece, but that’s my fault. The cherry pie was out of this world delicious It was the best fish boil I have ever eaten. No fish boil is complete without a walk to Sunset Park.