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Old Fashioned

In a word: Everyone dining merrily.

The specs: #0440 
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JM ate the #52 mac and cheese with ring bologna and a lemonade.
Nichole ate the #41 pork sandwich.
Ross ate the #42 beef sandwich with a beer.
Sam ate the #36 walleye sandwich with a Furthermore Knot Stock.
We split the #7 Lazy Susan appetizer, a root beer float, and beer-nut ice cream.
The total of the numbers is 178.
The bill was $82, or $20.50/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole gave The Old Fashioned an A-; Ross and Sam gave The Old Fashioned an A (see our grading rubric)

We chose the Old Fashioned to welcome an expatriate Sconnie back after a tropical adventure, and to introduce the wonders of Midwestern regional cuisine to our uninitiated companion. While the food resonated with authenticity, we were reminded that Midwestern also can just mean "mainstream" in America today. Some dishes on The Old Fashioned's menu, like the Miesfeld Market double brat, really push the Wisconsin angle, others are takes - skilled takes, to be sure - on things you'll find anywhere. Testament, perhaps, to Mark Kurlansky's observation that the Midwest the part of the country that nearly everyone wants to leave, and that's how the accent and the food has come to mean "common."

Lazy Susan

Philosophizing aside, we had a great time - according to Sam, this is impossible to avoid anywhere that Furthermore beer is sold. We started with the amazing #7 Lazy Susan, which included:

  • Pickled beets - less sweet than our family recipe but more subtle
  • Grilled bread and Ritz crackers
  • Dilly, zingy potato salad
  • Grilled vegetable and red pepper/bean dip, which were both a titch bland - or, as one of us proclaimed, "If I'm putting something on a cracker it's going to be cheese."

The assortment of goodies evoked memories of others, like the canned, tart red apple rings that sometimes appeared on our holiday table.

Pork sandwichThree of us opted for sandwiches and were not disappointed. Nichole's tender pulled pork sandwich came on very buttery Texas toast, topped with mild Muenster cheese, sweet relish, and (apparently a dab of) smoked paprika sauce. The accompanying green salad was on the wilted side. Ross' chilled roast beef tenderloin sandwich had just the right kick from its "tiger sauce," with average fries on the side.

Walleye sandwichThe walleye was melt-in-your-mouth with a light batter that held up well to the wait while Sam had her popcorn-garnished beer cheese soup. It was topped with a kind of deconstructed slaw made of shaved radish and cabbage and came with a side of house-made tartar sauce.

Each entree was garnished with a sweet pickle slice, which polarized our party across gender lines. No winner was declared in this debate, unless you count the sweet pickle fans who got double portions vs. the dill dogmatists who got none.

Mac and cheese and ring bologna

The mac and cheese was the star of the table and beautiful to behold - JM found the grainy mouthfeel, probably the Sarvecchio's contribution, to be ever so slightly challenging. A side of grilled ring bologna and excellent brown mustard filled out the meal.  And JM knows from macaroni and cheese.

Beer nut ice cream and root beer floatWe made room for dessert. Hearing beer-nut ice cream as "Beer Nut" ice cream, Nichole was sort of disappointed that the bar treat was not part of the deal. She was not disappointed in the ice cream itself, which is made at Lombardino's from an Old Fashioned recipe. It was, again, quite buttery, with skin-on Spanish peanuts adding a pleasant saltiness but virtually no hint of beer. The root beer float was likewise wonderful.

We heartily recommend the Old Fashioned for its star turns of downhome cuisine. Everything on the menu may be "normal," but nowhere will it all be served with such care and thoughtfulness.

Comments

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You did not just refer to Old Fashioned's fries as "average."

Impressive that no one ordered a burger. But that's okay; their reputation rightfully precedes them. Make sure you try the summer sausage sandwich. It might be the best sandwich on the menu.

Looks like I'm in good company - the macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite Madison dishes.

We have taken many an out-of-state visitor to The Old Fashioned and have never had a less than stellar meal.

That Mac and Cheese looks amazing! I've tried to go here a few times, but the wait has always been ridiculous. Now I know I really MUST go there!

Other comments:

Neither Kristine nor I know what those apple ring things are. Never heard of 'em.

You do know that Beer Nuts don't have beer in them, either, right? The ice cream is meant to be evocative of that bar snack, not beer + nuts.

The apple pie with cheddar is disappointing, or at least it was when I finally left room to try it.

Sadly, the walleye sandwich did not withstand a re-heating very well. It's best while the batter is still crunchy.

They've raised their prices nearly 50% in the past few months for what is basically high-level bar food ($12 for a burger?!), but in general this is a fun and of decent quality sandwich shop. They use fresh local ingredients, and that paprika mayo is out of this world. I'll probably be coming here 50% less than before, though, due to the surprising leap in cost.

Since when is a burger $12? You'd have to add a LOT to the Build Your Own to get to $12.

I'm a fan of the fries - never found them average here. But then, they ARE to my taste in fries, so YMMV.

Nice pic of your burnt mac and cheese crust. YOUR MAC AND CHEESE IS BURNT. CHRIST. THAT RING BOLOGNA COULD BE PFERDESCHWANZ FOR ALL YOU KNOW. YOUR TOTAL IDIOTS WHO CAN'T EVEN FORM CORRECT SENTANCES. Who do you think you are.

Never say "sconnie" again, please.

We sure won't.

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