Sonny's Bar and Grill

Sonny’s Bar and GrillIn a word: Stoughton after dark.

The specs: #01060  
151 E. Main St., Stoughton 53589
Details at Yelp, Facebook

Latest Sonny's Bar and Grill news and reviews

JM ate the ribeye steak sandwich with a soda.
Nichole ate the cheddar cheeseburger.
The bill was $29, or $14ish/person, plus tip.
JM gave a B; Nichole gave a B- (see our grading rubric).

Sonny's offers the traditional Wisconsin bar experience with a few notable exceptions. The first is that it is very, very dark.  Main Street barrooms (this time, in Stoughton) are rarely this dark, but this one manages to be so unlit as to make most internal photography nothing but black fog. We sat in the front window to let in some ambient street lighting. While Pepsi is on the gun here, you can get Coke in cans as well. This, too, is common in main street taps.

On to to the food, Nichole's cheddar cheeseburger was a little above average with really good toppings, including thick, juicy tomato slices. Each plate came with coated fries that should have been better, but sadly weren't. JM's ribeye steak sandwich with all the trimmings was the best steak sandwich he'd had in a bar. The best! We both got sides of slaw that were not too sour for JM nor too sweet for Nichole, making this a rare "just right" recipe.

Burger bottom

We don't get to bars too often off list; we get to bars in Stoughton even less often. But Sonny's gets some serious points for providing fall-appropriate Iron & Wine as the ambient, atmospheric music. We're not saying special trip or anything, but Sonny's is decent.

Ribeye sandwich

Sol's on the Square

Sol's on the SquareIn a word: City center Seoul food.

The specs: #01059  
117 E. Mifflin St., 53703
Details at Yelp, official web site, Facebook

Latest Sol's on the Square news and reviews

JM ate the jeyuk bokum.
Nichole ate the chopchae.
The bill was $35, or $18ish/person, plus tip.
JM gave Sol's on the Square a C+; Nichole gave Sol's on the Square a  B- (see our grading rubric).

Sol's on the Square has some qualities that seemed odd to us.

#1: Why does it say that it is on the square, when clearly it is almost a whole block off the square?  The old Mercury space has been thoroughly remodeled though some of the walls and half-walls are a little cramping. But gone is the shabbiness of Mercury, and more's the better.

Banchan

#2: Why, when we hear the name "Sol's," is a Jewish deli the first thing to come to our minds? The hearty Korean food here is good, though individual dishes can vary.  Our meal came with four bowls of quite good banchan. The kimchi was outstanding, the potatoes and the fish cake were cold and in the mid range.  JM couldn't bring himself to chow down on seaweed because, well, he just doesn't like it. But this is not a place to get a pastrami on rye and, with a name like Sol's on the Square, it feels more like one could.

Chopchae

#3: What was the bitter flavor in JM's dish? It tasted a little of burnt sesame, but there was not burnt sesame visible in any of his food. The flavor was just there and a little disappointing.  Otherwise his pork was fine and well sauced.  Nichole's dish was tasty, with classic clear sweet potato noodles and loads of vegetables.  It was a balancing act with sweet and salty meeting filling and rich. 

Jeyuk bokum

#4: Why didn't we order bibimbap or something that we've ordered before? Well, we don't want to eat the same  thing at every Korean restaurant in Madison either.  Though this seems like it would have been a good place to try some of our faves.

#5: Why does Sol's have a customer loyalty program? It's not like Subway or coffee shop punches, but like a card you buy, and then your meals at Sol's are cheaper.  It kind of weirded JM out because he had not seen an eatery with that kind of loyalty program before and, of course, we are unlikely to use such a thing. If you often find yourself wanting Korean downtown, though, maybe you should consider it. Anyway, Sol's is a good place to eat.

NEWS

Madison Food coverOur book Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine is out. More about it here. Read it for free thanks to the library - print & ebook, or read an excerpt on Carson Gulley and some bonus bits on Porchlight, Argus, Sunshine Supper, and Babcock.


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