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Kaminski Bros. Chop House

In a word: Its eyes are bigger than your stomach.

The specs: #0293
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; official web site.

JM and Nichole split the 12oz filet mignon, sauteed mushrooms, and garbage salads.
The bill was $69, or $34.50/person, plus taxes (state, county, and resort) and tip.
JM gave Kaminski Bros. Chop House a C+; Nichole gave Kaminski Bros. Chop House a D+ (see our grading rubric).

Latest Kaminski Bros. Chop House news and reviews

View from Kaminski Bros. windowIt took us a long time to get to Kaminski Bros. Chop House (or KBC in corporate parlance) both because it was in Wisconsin Dells and because we practically had to crash a wedding to get a table. Also, Chula Vista? In the middle of freaking nowhere. It's in Adams County, people. (No offense, Rome, Friendship, Easton, et al.) After terse directions from a gas station attendant who was so sick of the tourist season she had little time for our citified demeanor, we did make it despite, aha, a bridge being OUT.

Once there, we enjoyed the gorgeous view from the window over the changing woods. The dining room itself was sort of rustic chic, with plain wooden chairs and a few booths. Servers wheeled long, narrow butcherblock carts between tables, showing off cuts of meat and fixing salads.

We started off with a generous basket of warm bread and whipped butter. The bread was light inside and crusty outside.

Jumbo shrimp

Theatre is a big part of the experience at Kaminski Bros. The aforementioned carts are used to serve up the "garbage salads" tableside, and not one but two are stocked with saran-wrapped cuts of (uncooked) meat, lobster tails, and the biggest jumbo shrimp we'd ever seen (above). This all made Nichole a little uneasy about the conspicuous consumption of the whole affair - there must have been 20 pounds of meat on those carts, destined to be trashed after their night on display. But Chula Vista is no place to hold a vegan convention.

Garbage saladThe garbage salad was actually very good. After the garlic cream dressing went on our greens, we asked our server to add tomatoes, onions, romano cheese, and baby shrimp. JM cut his losses at that point, while Nichole added banana peppers, olives, and a slice of bleu cheese. It all made for a zingy, filling salad.

Steak and mushroomsThen came the steak and mushrooms. We were immediately glad we'd decided to split an entree. We counted 19 big mushrooms on our plate, which we brought home and 1) ate with leftover steak 2) chopped into tomato soup and 3) mixed into a brown rice salad. So, no shortage of quantity.

Quality, however, left almost everything to be desired. The meat was just not very flavorful. It may have been cooked at too low a temperature, since the outside was dry while the inside was medium rare (to order). Our server had warned us that this cut was not dry-aged because it was too small, so maybe we only have ourselves to blame. Meat aficonados may enjoy the specifics of Kaminiski Bros. which are, again, part of the show.

To Nichole, the whole place just felt too decadent, while falling short in the taste department. There are at least 5 places in Madison she'd rather drop $70 for dinner, leftovers or not. We skipped dessert because, well, truthfully, we didn't want to double our mass in one meal.  A neighboring table got the brownie ice cream dessert which basically looked an ice cream burial mound (actual size).  You get a lot of food at KBC, but that's the beginning, the middle and the end.

Comments

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Nichole and JM: Love your blog! I almost went to this place while in the Dells recently and am now glad I didn't bother. And since you mentioned this in passing, I'm curious: what are Nichole's "at least 5 places in Madison" where you'd rather go for an expensive (or semi-expensive) dinner out? I'm wondering what your favorite splurges are since you two have plenty of culinary experience under your belts (and I generally agree with you about places where I've already eaten).

Hm, good question! I confess I didn't work it out before I wrote that. :)

But in the straight-up chophouse vein, I'd rather spend $70 for 2 at Capitol Chophouse or Johnny Delmonico's. If we expand the list to fine-dining in the same price range, I'd include Fyfe's (RIP - is that cheating?), Bon Appetit, Cocoliquot, Deininger's, and Dining Room. Those last two are significant drives, like KBC. Unlike KBC they're worth the trip.

To make it an even 5 in Madison, let's add Glass Nickel. Anyone else see their recent price increase? Yowza.

That's more mushrooms than Jerry Garcia.

I felt inspired to write something. I know that you review Madison restaurants, but if you ever go to Portage, don't missed Cathay Gardens downtown.
They have the BEST chinese food, humungous portions and very inexpensive prices. We went today for the second time. I had sweet and sour shrimp. The shrimp is HUGE and delicious. For $4.50 you get a huge portion of shrimp (that are HUGE!!!) The batter is delicate tempura. You also get a BOWL of soup...hot and sour or egg drop, fried rice, a fortune cookie and the most awesome eggroll you will ever eat.
I highly recommend it.

As far as Cathay Gardens, Please. It's one of the worst chinese restaurants I have ever eaten at. They used to be good about 4 years ago, but the sessame chicken was very dry and tasteless, chop suey was bland, and rice was very dry and halfway cooked. As far as KBC, I agree! Way overpriced for the quality you get, There are even better steakhouses in the Dells, much less the ones in Madison.

I'm glad I didn't read your review before my husband and I went to KBC. It was the best steak either of us had ever tasted. I would definetly go again.

Ditto, Julie. I was far more impressed with KBC than Delmonico's, who sat us at a cruddy tall table by the bar and brought us overcooked steaks.

My husband and I just ate at KBC Wisconsin Dells this past weekend. It was an awesome experience. The food, and presentation is something everyone should experience at least once! It is something we will talk about for a long time!

WOW!! Just stopped in for a convention and ate at KBC...the waitress mentioned that the steaks were ranked #3 in the State or Nation, can't remember which. However, there is nothing I will remember more than dropping $46 for a ribeye that was dry and tough (no I didn't order it well done, actually medium). I have had MUCH better ribeyes at Texas Roadhouse and that scares me!! She asked us point blank if our steaks were the best we have ever had....even after I asked for A1 steaksauce (and people, I only put steaksauce on steaks I do not like). If it were a truely good steak (try Wildfire restaurants in Chicago!)I would never had asked for steaksauce. Don't waste your time on fancy side shows (bringing out steak carts) if the meat isn't prime beef, I can only assume it was choice or that they get their meat from an unreliable source....

Give it another chance and order the filet! Kaminskis is our favorite! We splurge there every special occassion. Each time we go we talk about it for days...its such a treat! I love Blue Cheese filet and DH loves Horseradish. Mocha Martinis, Garbage Salad, and the BREAD!!! So great! Cant believe the review above. Well worth the $$$!

Just ate at KBC for the second time. Similar to the first occasion a month ago, the petite filet was excellent. It had great flavor and was cooked to specification. Love the creamy garlic house salad dressing and the fries and onion rings are also very good. My fiancee thought the ravioli was quite tasty and also enjoyed the asparagus. Although I can't speak for the other cuts of meat, I just don't believe you will go wrong with a filet at this restaurant. I've been to Morton's, Ruth's Chris, Three Forks and Double Eagle in Dallas, Chicago Chop House, Gibson's in Chicago, Manny's of MN, etc. In comparison KBC holds its own pretty well and is not overpriced for the quality of the prime meat that is offered. By Dells standards, KBC offers an exceptional dining experience and I've happily dropped $100 on each occasion.

I had written a review on "KBC" on tripadvisor.com and thought I would also share it with you as well,

My husband and I went to the Kaminksi Bros. Chophouse awhile back and we were absolutely ASTONISHED by the lack of professionalism. Not only by the servers, but by the manager AND the owner!!! We were sitting in the bar before our dinner having some drinks. A man walked in wearing dirty hunting gear, and looked very sloppy. We later come to find out, (because of his extremely loud cell phone conversation in the middle of the bar) that he is in fact one of the Kaminkski Bros. His language was absolutely vulgar and he was sharing what I can imagine would be private business details. Not only was he slobby looking, and loud, and crude, he drank like a fish. I'm not one to look down on someone having a bad time, but I feel if you are the owner of a restaurant, having a little tact would be nice. We were appalled. Next step, we go up to let the hostess know we are ready to be sat. We get up there and the hostess(who turns out to be the manager) looks at us and puts her finger up indicating for us to wait. She continues her phone conversation(which from the way it sounds was personal) and makes us stand there. Probably 4 different servers walked by us(2 of them bickering at eachother) and no one says a single word to us. We FINALLY get into the dining room and get a server who we feel was cramming a bunch of "bull" down our throat. Giving us a presentation of the food, telling us it's the "best crab, and best steak you'll ever have in your life" Did not appreciate this. It ended up being sub par at best. I ordered a petite filet, Med Well... it came out Med. My husband ordered the "Best Crab Legs He'll Ever Eat" which were comparable to the seafood buffet we had been to a few nights before. We also ordered the Loaded Mashed potatos which ended up being the only satisfying part of the evening. Overall I would tell anyone and everyone to not even bother to set foot into this establishment. Everything down to the Kaminski Brothers themselves is an absolute joke. Absolutely void of any professionalism. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME OR MONEY.

Yeah we stopped by here once passing through that area. Pretty bush-league service, ambiance, and food preparation. Too bad they charge fine dining prices for Ponderosa-level dining. If it was closer to diner pricing this place would be OK. Avoid.

Went there yesterday for a special occasion. I had the bone-in Ribeye, and my wife had the Filet. Best steaks we've had in years. Excellent food, GREAT service, and terriffic drinks made for a memorable evening. Worth every penny.

The best dining experience you will ever have. We have been to several top restaraunts and this is the best. I think some reviewers here have an agenda beyond what they are revealing.
Sounds like the way the JM and Nichole starts this review they were looking for it to be a bad experience. Much of what they write bad has nothing to do with Kaminski's at all.

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