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Dardanelles

Update: Dardanelles is closed.

In a word: Nice place for a light dinner. </Billy Idol>

The specs: #0120
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; dessert review at Dane101; reviews at Yelp.

JM ate the tomatoes Andalous with rice.
Nichole ate the Tangier stew with couscous.
The bill was about $25, or $12.50/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole both gave Dardanelles an A- (see our grading rubric).

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Once upon a time, long before Eating in Madison A to Z was born, Nichole tried to get JM to take her out to a nice meal. She chose the Dardanelles, and JM tried in vain to enjoy himself - not because of the Dardanelles, but because it wasn't JM's idea of a good time. This visit was much more relaxed and fun. It just goes to show what a little direction and purpose can do when applied judiciously.

Both of our meals were excellent and the server was nice. The Tangier stew lived up to both senses of the word, leaving Nichole's tongue tingling. Yet the portions were smallish and not inexpensive - a perfect combination, JM pointed out, for a date, where taking home leftovers or appearing cheap are both romance quashers.

Chris, our silent partner at this outing, has highly recommended the chicken doner sandwich. With a cold drink from Barrique's, you can have yourself a satisfying picnic or lunch break at a reasonable price.

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My "in a word" review for The Dardanelles: "You might as well go for broke, because you're going to end up there regardless."

I had the sigara borek ("egg rolls" of spinach and very little feta), and the Dardanelles pasta with chicken doner. The little missus had the eggplant tower and coban salad.

BO-RING. The highlight was the sigara borek, and only because it at least tasted like something (read: SPINACH with a capital SPINACH). The eggplant was lukewarm and nondescript, and the field greens were too bitter for what was otherwise a perfectly pleasant salad. Oh, except for the fact that there were four count 'em four olives. And one wasn't even pitted.

The pasta was tasty enough, although very bland for what was in it. Let's just say that there isn't much walking distance between that dish and the penne rosa at Noodles, and one has quite a bit more ooomph. So utterly not worth $17.50, even if I did take some home.

Given that the lamb dishes and other "exotics" were only a buck or two more, it makes sense to at least try something less mundane. I have to say that a light, frivolous meal is not what I would look for at The Dardanelles. Not when a reasonably sized pile of bland rang us up for $40.

Nevermind the too-bright lighting and uncomfortable chairs.

If there was a C minus minus, we'd give it that.

...and also nevermind the paper placemats! I was disappointed that there wasn't a maze or word-find and a shot glass of crayons on the table. For what they are charging they should be able to get a desperately needed visit from Stanley Steemer. Even if our bill had been half as much, I wouldn't ever feel the need to have a return visit. Our waitress was nice, but when it was time to pay the bill I felt that we were interrupting the hostess' conversation.

My wife and I went here years ago and didn't like it very much. I can't remember exactly what she ordered, but it was some sort of chicken dish that was so dry you felt like you had to have an entire glass of water with each bite.

The rose petal ice cream for dessert was very tasty though. Not tasty enough to draw us back though.

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