Swad

In a word: The subcontinent of Monona.

The specs: #01076  
6007 Monona Dr., Monona 53716
Details at Yelp, official web site, Facebook, Twitter

Latest Swad news and reviews

Griffin, Iona, JM, Miranda, and Nichole all ate at the buffet.
The bill was $13/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole gave Swad an A-; Miranda and Griffin gave Swad a B; Iona gave Swad a C (see our grading rubric).

We had been told that Swad, Monona's contribution to the Indian buffet lunch market, was quite good.  We found it to be so, though there were a lot of things that could stand a revisit or revisioning, depending.

Swad

To start with, one of the nice things about Indian buffets is that our pescatarian friends can usually sample a wide range of the menu.  This was true here, but not a true as it could have been.  Firstly, there were a lot of chicken dishes.  Now, JM, he likes him some chicken, and CTM and the tandoori were very nice, but the presence of chicken (and a couple of goat items) took a lot of the buffet out. And then fish was not great, which led to even more concern from our youngest diner, who primarily gets fish when her family eats Indian.

Swad

The lentil and bean dishes, however, were pretty good and the kulfi was very rich.  Swad has a chaat table which was fun.  There were several desserts and a whole section of relishes, which leads to a combinatoric approach for some diners.

Swad is much bigger than its small entrance in the strip mall indicates, though parking can be an issue especially if La Rosita is having a special day.  Swad seems like a perfectly reasonable addition to the scene, but we wouldn't necessarily drive past Tandoori House, Mirch Masala, Swagat, Maharani, Amber, Dhaba or Minerva to eat there.  Which is just how spoiled we are.

Sushi Express

In a word: Fast, affordable, good (pick three).

The specs: #01076  
610 University Ave., 53715
Details at Yelp, official web site

Latest Sushi Express news and reviews

JM ate the beef short ribs.
Nichole ate the yellowfin and eel avocado rolls.
The bill was $22, or $11/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole both gave Sushi Express a B+ (see our grading rubric).

Given Sushi Express's neighbor A8 China, we were concerned. A8 had proven just how much campus denizens are willing to compromise for their fast Asian cuisine (answer: a lot, but hey, A8 is still open). We thought Sushi Express might be the same concept, only applied to a cuisine that is hard to get right and easier to make you ill.  We won't bury the lede: Sushi Express passes the test and then some.

Indeed, while no Fugu or Takara, Sushi Express truly lives up to its name in providing good, nourishing Japanese cuisine in short order, and the value structure is pretty much dead on.

Yellowfin roll & eel/avocado roll

Nichole got sushi (it's in the name after all) and her yellowfin and eel avocado rolls were fine. JM got the beef short ribs which were plentiful and filling, even if he did have to gnaw a little longer than he'd hoped.  Watching University Avenue bustle is always a pleasant experience and the front window counter is nice place to bask in the late winter.

Short ribs

The kitchen is hopping and even one of the chefs took our order when we didn't realize there was table service.  Everyone is really nice and pitches in to make this a low-cost alternative when time or money is in short supply and you really need your nori.

NEWS

Madison Food cover August 21 at the WHS Museum, we're giving a lunchtime talk on Mid-Century Madison Munchies. Come on down!

Info about our book Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine is here, or read it for free thanks to the library - print & ebook.


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