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Madison, WI dining


Elizabeth Ann
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Ok, the cheese sauce on those chillified tater tots doesn't look so great (ironic for WI), but still, that is one helluva mouth-watering pic and a delicious-looking snack. :smile:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

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ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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You gotta be kidding...you can't put real cheese on chili cheese tots. That cheese sauce looks delicious!

And today, the first really chilly, blustery day of the year, I may be making a stop for chili...thanks for the tip, Daniel.

"It is impossible not to love someone who makes toast for you."

-Nigel Slater

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You gotta be kidding...you can't put real cheese on chili cheese tots. That cheese sauce looks delicious!

And today, the first really chilly, blustery day of the year, I may be making a stop for chili...thanks for the tip, Daniel.

I never mentioned real cheese; I was envisioning a better-looking grade of the fake stuff. :wink::smile:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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  • 1 month later...

There seem to be scant few Madisonians on egullet, but nonetheless, I report for the benefit of any visitors to our fair city...

A wonderful new restaurant opened at 225 King Street, just off Capitol Square, in the past few weeks. Cocoliquot is on the first floor of a new condominium and it's a beautiful space. The restaurant is comprised of a traditional bar to one side, a long "cuisine" bar on the other side looking into an open kitchen (and pastry room), and a series of high-top and regular tables amdist the middle and against the windows. Web site [under development]: Cocoliquot.

The menu is all small plates, ranging from $6-15 each. Sections include: viande (house-made charcuterie with cocliquot mustard, cornichons and country bread; salt-cured foie gras with quince marmalade and toast; biftek hache with shallot confit); selections changeantes (omelet of the day, tartine of the day, fish of the day); fruits de mer (mussels steamed with cider and cream; roasted scallop, smoked bacon and aged balsamic vinegar); legumes et fromage (pommes frites; onion soup; roasted beets, autumn greens, walnuts and mint balsamic vinaigrette; desserts; coffee and tea.

My wife and I ordered a number of items upon our first visit last Monday. The most stellar dishes were the manila clams steamed in saffron broth and the wild mushroom and gruyere tartlette. The poached leeks and truffle vinagrette, the smoke-roasted leg of lamb, flageolets and herb jus, and the escargots de bourgogne were also very good. The trio of rillettes--rabbit, pork and duck--were rather underwhelming. The house bread ($2 per basket) is excellent. And the fresh goat's cheese, figs and lavender honey--which we made our dessert--was to die for.

The wine list is also stellar--heavily French- and European-influenced--and all selections are available by the glass, carafe, and bottle. The restaurant uses Riedel stemware--only the best. And it has a VERY reasonably priced wine list! (For example: 2003 Catena Malbec for $28/bottle and $7/glass; Jolivet Sancerre for $32-bottle and $8/glass.) We ordered carafes of the very sleek and sophisticated 2004 Lemelson Tikka's Run Pinot Gris (Oregon), $17; and the 2001 Jaboulet Crozes-Hermitage (Syrah, Rhone Valley, France), $13.

The people behind Cocoliquot are the owner and chef of Harvest--perhaps the best restaurant in Madison at the moment IMHO--and the owner of Maduro. The chef at Harvest plans to be on site at Cocoliquot--and we saw him there last Monday. Eventually, the owners plan to open a smaller space around the corner on Wilson Street for retail as well as for cooking and wine classes.

Cocoliquot is definitely worth a visit--particularly if you're looking to be transported from the Midwest through culinary adventure and eye-catching decor. It's a worthy edition to the downtown culinary scene--and would also appear to be a swell place to grab a drink.

Hours: 2pm-close, M-F; 5pm-close, Sat; Sunday brunch beginning Thanksgiving weekend.

Liam

Eat it, eat it

If it's gettin' cold, reheat it

Have a big dinner, have a light snack

If you don't like it, you can't send it back

Just eat it -- Weird Al Yankovic

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Oh, man, how I miss Real Chilli! One was right around the corner from my apartment in Milwaukee in college and It was our favorite drunk food. Also good chilli for those cold days in WI. Yum! Those pics are awesome and really make me nostalgic. Definitely eat there and get extra onions.

I've only been to Madison a couple of times, but each time I go I'm sure to get ice cream on the UW campus (in the union, I think). It's made about as fresh as you can get from the dairy school cows. Plus, this time of year they have the best pumpkin ice cream I've ever tasted.

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

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  • 3 weeks later...
A wonderful new restaurant opened at 225 King Street, just off Capitol Square, in the past few weeks. Cocoliquot is on the first floor of a new condominium and it's a beautiful space. The restaurant is comprised of a traditional bar to one side, a long "cuisine" bar on the other side looking into an open kitchen (and pastry room), and a series of high-top and regular tables amdist the middle and against the windows. Web site [under development]: Cocoliquot.

The menu is all small plates, ranging from $6-15 each. Sections include: viande (house-made charcuterie with cocliquot mustard, cornichons and country bread; salt-cured foie gras with quince marmalade and toast; biftek hache with shallot confit); selections changeantes (omelet of the day, tartine of the day, fish of the day); fruits de mer (mussels steamed with cider and cream; roasted scallop, smoked bacon and aged balsamic vinegar); legumes et fromage (pommes frites; onion soup; roasted beets, autumn greens, walnuts and mint balsamic vinaigrette; desserts; coffee and tea.

My wife and I ordered a number of items upon our first visit last Monday. The most stellar dishes were the manila clams steamed in saffron broth and the wild mushroom and gruyere tartlette. The poached leeks and truffle vinagrette, the smoke-roasted leg of lamb, flageolets and herb jus, and the escargots de bourgogne were also very good. The trio of rillettes--rabbit, pork and duck--were rather underwhelming. The house bread ($2 per basket) is excellent. And the fresh goat's cheese, figs and lavender honey--which we made our dessert--was to die for.

The wine list is also stellar--heavily French- and European-influenced--and all selections are available by the glass, carafe, and bottle. The restaurant uses Riedel stemware--only the best. And it has a VERY reasonably priced wine list! (For example: 2003 Catena Malbec for $28/bottle and $7/glass; Jolivet Sancerre for $32-bottle and $8/glass.) We ordered carafes of the very sleek and sophisticated 2004 Lemelson Tikka's Run Pinot Gris (Oregon), $17; and the 2001 Jaboulet Crozes-Hermitage (Syrah, Rhone Valley, France), $13.

The people behind Cocoliquot are the owner and chef of Harvest--perhaps the best restaurant in Madison at the moment IMHO--and the owner of Maduro. The chef at Harvest plans to be on site at Cocoliquot--and we saw him there last Monday. Eventually, the owners plan to open a smaller space around the corner on Wilson Street for retail as well as for cooking and wine classes.

Cocoliquot is definitely worth a visit--particularly if you're looking to be transported from the Midwest through culinary adventure and eye-catching decor. It's a worthy edition to the downtown culinary scene--and would also appear to be a swell place to grab a drink.

Hours: 2pm-close, M-F; 5pm-close, Sat; Sunday brunch beginning Thanksgiving weekend.

The Wisconsin State Journal, based in Madison, ran a review of Cocoliquot in its Sunday edition: http://www.madison.com/archives/read.php?r...20ENTERTAINMENT

Liam

Eat it, eat it

If it's gettin' cold, reheat it

Have a big dinner, have a light snack

If you don't like it, you can't send it back

Just eat it -- Weird Al Yankovic

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  • 4 weeks later...

Another welcome addition to the Madison culinary scene is The Old Fashioned, located on Capitol Square. Apart from the great Wisconsin food and nightly specials, don't miss out on the specialty old fashioned drinks (including a terrific bourbon old fashioned) and the bar built from the floor of a former Buster Brown shoe factory.

The Old Fashioned

Wisconsin State Journal review

Liam

Eat it, eat it

If it's gettin' cold, reheat it

Have a big dinner, have a light snack

If you don't like it, you can't send it back

Just eat it -- Weird Al Yankovic

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  • 2 weeks later...

Cocoliquot is incredible. Small plates, while admittedly overdone, are good for low-income foodies such as myself. I can feel like I'm really doing it up even if my friends and I just order a bottle of wine and a dish apiece.

I highly recommend the crispy confit duck leg. I also sampled the best cheese I've ever had: a Pecorino Toscano which was just explosive with flavor, hard, crumbly texture giving way to creamy finish. Perfect with the fig preserve that accompanied it.

I'll be going back very soon.

"It is impossible not to love someone who makes toast for you."

-Nigel Slater

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  • 3 weeks later...
Cocoliquot is incredible. Small plates, while admittedly overdone, are good for low-income foodies such as myself. I can feel like I'm really doing it up even if my friends and I just order a bottle of wine and a dish apiece.

I highly recommend the crispy confit duck leg. I also sampled the best cheese I've ever had: a Pecorino Toscano which was just explosive with flavor, hard, crumbly texture giving way to creamy finish. Perfect with the fig preserve that accompanied it.

I'll be going back very soon.

A favorable review of Cocoliquot by Raphael Kadushin appears today at thedailypage.com:

There is a lot of culinary talent bending over pots and pans at Cocoliquot, and it is hard to miss. Carrying an open kitchen to new extremes, the dining room is really designed like a culinary meet-and-greet (or maybe, on bad days, like a rumble). The chefs work out in the open on an invisible stage, just behind a literally snaking counter, while the bug-eyed diners watch their every move.

High concept

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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  • 1 month later...

Tubb's Taco Palace is a fantastic addition to the Atwood neighborhood on Madison's East Side and a terrific place to grab a bite before a show at the Barrymore Theater. The fish tacos are the best I've had since San Diego several years ago.

The restaurant is located at 2009 Atwood Avenue. Kevin Tubb is the owner of Eldorado Grill on Williamson Street, the best Tex/Mex restaurant in town by far.

Wisconsin State Journal review

Isthmus review

Liam

Eat it, eat it

If it's gettin' cold, reheat it

Have a big dinner, have a light snack

If you don't like it, you can't send it back

Just eat it -- Weird Al Yankovic

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Other Madison food reports:

* My wife and I had breakfast last weekend with another couple at Monty's Blue Plate Diner on Atwood Ave. I had pancakes which were average-to-good. The service was quite poor. I ordered regular pancakes, but got blueberry ones. A friend got toast with his order, but the server reported that he dropped a piece on the way over but would replace it. He didn't until it was requested.

Based on one visit, I'd continue to rank Marigold Kitchen, Lazy Jane's, the Original Pancake House, and Sophia's above Monty's. Frankly, one can eat as well or better and less expensively at Cleveland's Diner.

* My recent visit to Monty's evokes memories of a visit to Mickey's Dairy Bar on Monroe Street (across from Camp Randall) last summer. There I had what were probably the worst pancakes I've ever had in my life. They were pasty, flavorless and completely unedible. Beware.

Liam

Eat it, eat it

If it's gettin' cold, reheat it

Have a big dinner, have a light snack

If you don't like it, you can't send it back

Just eat it -- Weird Al Yankovic

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  • 2 weeks later...

A recent discovery (for us, not for the rest of Madison) is the outstanding Greenbush Bar on Regent St. Formerly some kind of Italian men's club this restaurant-in-a-basement serves outstanding thin crust pizza (try it w/ prosciut & chevre), pastas, and antipasto in a very cozy casual environment. Strung xmas lights across low ceilings, a full roundish bar where you can wait, friendly servers and low prices. Just a perfect little place, and a real joy.

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Isthmus, a weekly Madison newspaper, recently reviewed Cocoliquot. Here is the review. Cocoliquot's web site is now up and running.

Liam

Eat it, eat it

If it's gettin' cold, reheat it

Have a big dinner, have a light snack

If you don't like it, you can't send it back

Just eat it -- Weird Al Yankovic

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  • 2 weeks later...

Cocoliquot is featured in the CityScene section of the April 2006 edition of Wine & Spirits magazine -- http://www.wineandspiritsmagazine.com/pages/cityscene.html

Liam

Eat it, eat it

If it's gettin' cold, reheat it

Have a big dinner, have a light snack

If you don't like it, you can't send it back

Just eat it -- Weird Al Yankovic

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My siblings and I took our parents to dinner for their anniversary at Ocean Grill located on Martin Luther King Blvd on Saturday night.

The food was EXCELLENT. We had the bruschetta which had sun dried tomatoes and (I think) fresh mozarella cheese, as well as the shrimp enchiladas. Two people had the pork tenderloin, 2 had grouper, one had chicken and the lone vegaquarian (me!) had the ravioli. I will say tha everyone else's food looked much better than mine. I will also say that I think the ravioli dish was only there as a concession to those who don't eat meat...I was disappointed that ravioli dish was supposed to consist of four different raviolis all seemed to be the same, covered in tomato sauce.

The best part of my meal was the salad - fresh greens, vidalia onion, chevre cheese and blueberry vinaigrette.

Despite the fact that my dinner was not as good as it could have been, everything else was excellent, and I am looking forward to when I return...and I will return someday!

Erin

"American by birth, Irish by the grace of God"

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  • 1 month later...

There was an article in today's Capital Times about Madison Originals, a local chapter of the Council of Independent Restaurants of America. It has 34 local restaurant members, including Avenue Bar, Harvest and L'Etoile.

Liam

Eat it, eat it

If it's gettin' cold, reheat it

Have a big dinner, have a light snack

If you don't like it, you can't send it back

Just eat it -- Weird Al Yankovic

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  • 5 weeks later...

My husband and I will be spending two nights in Madison in July (a Sunday night and Monday night) and I'm looking for some restaurant recommendations. I've read the whole thread, but it goes back pretty far and I know sometimes quality slips and places close. We are not hugely into the finest of fine dining and are more interested in good ethnic foods, fantastic breakfast, a really good burger, etc. We're also interested in knowing if there's anywhere in town to get a good cupcake or good baked goods, period, keeping in mind that we will not be in town on Farmer's Market day (unless I'm misinformed). Oh - and Greg's a Milwaukee native, and is interested in seeking out whatever the best local frozen custard is so we can compare.

Thanks!

Cupcake Planet: my (possibly obsessive) cupcake-centric 'blog
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Hi

Yes, it makes sense to double-check. Indeed, IMO Cocoliquot's food has slid a bit lately, for example.

To experience the best Madison currently has, I'd go for:

a burger at Dotty's Dumpling Dowry

a pizza at Greenbush Bar (NOT to be missed!)

a doughnut at Greenbush Bakery

a lovely seasonal meal at Harvest

brunch at El Dorado

perhaps some fish tacos at Tubby's, and...

and ice cream from the Chocolate Shoppe

Since that's a lot for 1.5 days and given your specific dates (which are too late for brunch and Sunday is when Greenbush Bakery is closed) let me propose an itinerary:

Sunday evening: a bourbon old-fashioned at the Old Fashioned followed by dinner at Harvest. Monday: lunch at Dotty's + an afternoon stop at the Chocolate Shoppe on State St, then dinner at Greenbush Bar, finished with an awesome cannoli.

You should leave very happy, I hope!

ps. If you want to compare custard, I'd hit a Culver's or Michael's. The custard is great, but the ice cream at Choc.Shoppe is even better.

Edited by sara (log)

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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  • 3 weeks later...

We're off to Mad City in a few days, and will be hitting L'etoile one evening.

We have 2 more dinners to plan, and we've been to Harvest many times and enjoyed it, though sometimes had helpful but uninformed servers. We've always wanted to try Magnus for their wine program, but have been turned off by the loud music we've encountered there when checking it out. I'm not sure how their space is organized, but when I want a restaurant experience, I don't want live music, though perhaps tapas at their bar would be the way to go?

And then there's Cocoliquot, which is at least intriguing.

We might end up doing one other "big" dinner (Magnus, Cocoliquot or Harvest) and one small one (any of the ethnic diners we've enjoyed there), so if we have to pick one, what would it be?

edited to add: just read about Fresco, which seems to be in flux a bit? Hmm.

Edited by Michael M (log)
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Hi

Not sure what is special about Magnus's "wine program"--never struck me as a terribly interesting list, nor do I love their food. Wouldn't bother.

We're giving Fresco some time to settle in before going over there, only seems fair...

If you've not been to Greenbush for pizza, that's an absolute MUST-- yes, I know there is other pizza in the world, but this is worth the trip.

I don't find the upscale places in Madison all that impressive--so in lieu of spending a lot you might be happier trying El Dorado for very good tex-mex-- terrific drinks and very flavorful food, or maybe Eno Vino out in Middleton for small plates--or Cocoliquot.

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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Not sure what is special about Magnus's "wine program"--never struck me as a terribly interesting list, nor do I love their food. 

Oh, good, I was hoping you or Liam would answer!

In regards to Magnus, among other bottles, their wine list includes a Rioja Blanca, a Basque Txakolina (the huh?! grapes being Hondarrabi Zuri and Munemahatsa), two Priorats and two reds from Ribero del Duero. Beyond that they have an extensive and interesting selection, and not just because of those more esoteric offerings.

But not impressed by the food, huh? You also mentioned Cocoliquot was slipping, too, so maybe Harvest will be our other selection. Thanks for the input! We'll try to check out the pizza, too.

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I'm headed to Madison next week for Monday, Tuesday. I'm going to be staying west, Middleton, I think? Just trying to figure out a good plan of action for eating. Probably going to be able to do two nights of dinner and lunch on one or two days.

So L'etoile and/or Harvest and/or Cocoliquot seem to be the happening places. I saw some people going on and on about Lombardino's, is it still the goods? I'm pretty demanding, but I don't have to go to upscale. I'm not much interested in Tex-Mex (coming in from San Antonio). Anyone have any other options for myself and Michael M?

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