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Dining Room

In a word: Another drive in the country yields another winner.

The specs: #0129
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Isthmus, Madison Dining Online; official web site; Dining Room At 209 Main on Urbanspoon

Latest Dining Room news and reviews at del.icio.us

JM ate the pan seared salmon filet with sauteed mushrooms, parmesan garlic potato cake, and caramelized onions, with a lemonade.
Nichole ate the butternut squash risotto with seared spinach, toasted pumpkin seeds, and maple creme fraiche, with an old fashioned, sweet.
We shared a peanut butter mousse.
The bill was $53, or $26.50/person, plus tip.
JM gave the Dining Room an A-; Nichole gave the Dining Room an A (see our grading rubric).

Dining Room exterior, with ghost

What a gem the Dining Room is! The real question may be whether Monticello can be defined as "the rough."

Maybe it's that fresh food tastes better at harvest time, but we'd be willing to bet that the Dining Room is great year-round. Nichole was taken with her squash risotto and JM quite enjoyed his salmon (although he did admit it was the only thing he was willing to eat on the short, adventurous menu).  Once we noticed that both our entrees had four main elements, we enjoyed trying each combination of flavors - i.e., JM would sample a bit of salmon with mushrooms, a bite of potato with onions, a forkful of mushrooms and potato, etc.  Mathematicians and librarians do that kind of thing sometimes. 

JM cannot say enough about the peanut butter mousse.  Rich, creamy and elegantly presented in a martini glass, it is simply PB served liked whipped cream.  While chocolate mousses run the gamut of quality, JM's recollections of the peanut butter variety can only go down from here. Nichole had a nibble, but it was too sweet for her.  The bill was quite sweet too, given the high quality of the meal preceeding it.

Comments

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I've been wanting to try this place forever and we finally went last night. We *loved* it. It's pretty much L'Etoile-quality food (though much more reasonably-priced), with some of the dishes having an ethnically-inspired twist. I had the cornmeal & haberno-crusted pork cutlets in poblano cream sauce with cheese grits - it was just exquisite. My husband had roasted chicken & mashed potatoes with oyster mushrooms in a garlic reduction sauce which was also very good. He ordered the obligatory toffee pudding for dessert, and I got the chocolate hazelnut semifreddo - both great. The service was excellent - some of the best I've ever had. We'll be going back again and again - it's now on our short list of places to go for special occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, etc) - just an overall wonderful restaurant!!

Hooray! I'm really glad you liked it!

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