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Dexter's Pub

In a word: Big flavor in big portions.

The specs: #0347
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Wisconsin Fish Fry Reviews, Madison Fish Fry; menu at MenuPix, Dexter's Pub on Urbanspoon

Latest Dexter's Pub news and reviews

JM ate the Louie Luau burger with fries and lemonade.
John ate the Santa Fe burger with a Capital Doppelbock.
Nichole ate the Chicago dog with garlic chili fries, a cup of chili, and an Ale Asylum Ambergeddon.
Rose ate the black and bleu burger.
We split some onion rings.
The bill was $39, or $9.75/person, plus tip (thanks, Dad!)
Nichole gave Dexter's Pub an A; JM and John gave Dexter's Pub an A-; Rose gave Dexter's Pub a B (see our grading rubric).

Dexter's Pub

Dexter's is doing something interesting with the bar food genre. Taken along with Alchemy and Bradbury's, we interpret this as evidence of a fresh breeze in the mid-priced Madison dining scene with a new emphasis on earnestness and craft. These places are not catering to the masses but carving very small, but important, niches that we should be happy to see in town.

ChiliThings were off to a good start with the house chili. It was a winner, chock full of tender ground beef, velvety kidney beans, and chunky tomatoes. It didn't shy away from the heat, either - this chili had a good spicy kick.

Black and bleu burgerRose said simply "yum" to her black and bleu burger, though she admitted it might have been a tad salty with the additional bacon. JM's "Louie Luau" burger was topped with ham, pineapple and Swiss cheese. It was very good, with big flavorful toppings that were somewhat dwarfed by the large bun, but ultimately they swung like a good combo should. Both the fries and the pickle spears were of superior quality.

Santa Fe burgerJohn's Santa Fe sandwich was spicy even with the jalapeños served on the side. Without mayo or any other sauce, the bun was too dry, but overall the sandwich was very good. John enjoyed his Capital  Doppelbock as well, a recommendation from the knowledgeable bartender/server.

Nichole, too, was delighted with the beer selection, but then all it takes for her to be delighted these days is for a place to offer Ale Asylum beyond the gimme-Hopalicious. And partly because so few places do, her alcohol tolerance has been significantly reduced, so her endorsement of the hefty, fresh Chicago-style hot dog may stem more from a beer buzz than from any resonance of authenticity (notably absent: celery salt, bright green relish, yellow mustard, and poppyseeds; plus cucumbers crashed the party). The dog itself had a good snap despite having been grilled and split. The side of hot pepper relish that replaced the traditional sport peppers was a joyful medley in oil of jalapeños, onions, bell peppers for sweetness and - possibly - a Thai hot pepper or two. The chili-garlic fries were an easy but smart twist on the classic, simply tossed with garlic and chili powder while hot out of the fryer, and worth eating, every one.

Chicago dog

Comments

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As you noted in the links, the DailyPage chatter indicates that there's a killer Friday fish at Dexter's. Now, though, I'm definitely getting there, since I don't have to target a specific day of the week.

I was shocked to see Dexters listed as one of your "will be back" places. My best friends live right down the street from Dexters but we will not go there. The service is rude, the prices are high, the beer isn't cold, and the food is disgusting. Must have been a good night for them.

I've had the fish fry here twice now and it's awesome. Right now it's my number one choice for Friday nights. If only they had malt vinegar...
The salad I had on a weeknight was good. The fish sandwich I had on another weeknight was far from good.
They do have a great beer selection and the owner (I'm assuming) is usually hanging around and seems to be a nice guy. You can't argue with free popcorn either.

Best reuben I've ever had. Made with REAL corned beef, not deli slices. Messy (I'd eat it with a knife and fork) but or so yummy.

I live in the neighborhood behind Dexter's and have been there on multiple occasions at this point, and was curious to see if you guys share my enthusiasm for the place--looks like you do. Friday Fish Fry is definitely the way to go. On other nights, I'd second the praise for the black and bleu, and add that it's especially delicious with crispy chicken instead of a burger. The brew fries and waffle fries are my favorite in town. Prices are more than fair, beer is good, and most servers are very good and friendly. On occasion the food has been dry, service off, and for better or worse, the menu is definitely less self-consciously gastro-pubby(?) than a place like Alchemy, but overall I find Dexter's delicious, and a bargain.

Popped our Dexter's cherry - finally!!! - today. Service was incredibly friendly - it was a late lunch (2PM) and we were nearly the only people in the place so we had two smiling, helpful gals at our beck and call. Nice beer selection but with all that variety, only one Scotch ale was available and that was a "Christmas" something, so I wonder what they'll have next month, say. Anyway, my sweetie enjoyed his brisket sandwich. The bite I had was excellent - very lean and juicy, not fatty-greasy. My burger was good, too, with sauteed peppers and pepperjack, but the habanero/pineapple glaze, which I was looking forward to, was either absent altogether or applied very, very sparingly. The stars of the show, however, were the delights that came out of the deep frier. Dexter's curds are among the best I've had in Madison and the chile-garlic fries are now served (unlike when you had them with a dry "sprinkle") with house-made garlic-chile sauce. HEAVEN!! Next time we go back, all I'm having is beer and those fries, and maybe my first Dexter's stout-battered O rings, too.

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