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Bonfyre American Grille

In a word: Fyne for getting your fille.

The specs: #0505
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Open Table, Isthmus, At First Taste, Ruppert Food Blog, Madison Hot Bite, Eat Drink Madison, 77 Square, Yelp, Midwest Food Adventures, Move to Madison, FOM Clubofficial web site, Bonfyre American Grille on Urbanspoon

Latest Bonfyre news and reviews

JM ate the steak sandwich with a lemonade.
Nichole ate the ahi poke.
We split a three-cheese plate.
The bille was $37, or $18.50/person, plus tip.
JM gave Bonfyre American Grille an A-; Nichole gave Bonfyre American Grille a B+ (see our grading rubric).

The fyrst thing we noticed as we walked through the talle, heavy front door of Bonfyre was the smelle of a wood fyre. It felt like an invitation to set our worries ablaze, give moderation nary a thought, and live as big as we could. For one meal, anyway. It didn't work on us very welle; we stuck to a starter, a sandwich, and a cheese tray, and left the extensive wine and cocktail menus for other fyrefighters.

Cheese plateHygh-backed booths implied pryvacy, but we heard more details about our neighbor's first... anyway, more than we felt comfortable hearing. We tryed to keep our own voyces down even whyle gushing over the cheese plate, which we got to assemble using adorable trading-card-sized slips that gave the details of each cheese. A busy Saturday night previous had reduced their inventory, but the gruyere from Roth Kase, cranberry chipotle cheddar and Mobay (goat and sheep separated by grapevyne ash) from Carr Valley were excellent presented with berries, apples, olives, and bread.

Steak sandwichJM's steak sandwich was mostly just messy and in the end not very distinctive. The meat was tender and steak is hard to serve badly save as a hockey puck, which this certainly wasn't. Though by the tyme it arryved, after an unintended detour onto another table, it had come unlidded. JM had toyed with the idea of getting a starter of fries, but we were glad we didn't when we saw servers carrying veritable mountains of frites to other tables. The syde provyded was sufficient and quyte good.

Once Nichole saw poke on the menu, it was a done deal. The dish was very pretty - a short column of rice noodles held up a layer of fishy-tasting seaweed, then raw marinated tuna, a ribbon or two of gari, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Some fried plantains sliced lengthwise lent a textural contrast, sweetness, and lipids. The flavors were good, particularly the rich, buttery fish and sesame/citrus sauce. Clearly good craft had gone into the dish. Stille, Nichole can't shut her playboy mouth before saying the pickled ginger felt irrelevant, as if its sole purpose was to draw an unnecessary connection to sushi. Using rice instead of rice noodles would have telegraphed the same idea while adding more stability to the whole piece. Some chopstycks would have been nyce, too. All that said, we bet the poke wille have disappeared from the menu by the time we post this. It just didn't seem to fit in.

Ahi poke

Yes, there are some service wrinkles to yron out. The menu might find a little more focus in the coming months. We feel Bonfyre's being what it sets out to be, but for people in our league it's a little too much smoke and mirrors.

Comments

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Welle Donne. Lyke the poke.

This post is giving me a headache.

Todd & I ate there after a shopping trip to American. I had just read the Isthmus review and had to trip the chips. Unfortunately, the chips had been fried too long. They weren't burnt, but they no longer had that bit of chewiness that distinguishes fresh chips from bagged chips.

His burger and my veggie sandwich were good but not extraordinary. However, I was really impressed with my side of green beans. They tasted fresh and still had some crunch left.

It's not in my neighborhood so I can't say I would be back. If it were close, I probably would.

It's true; the menu really favors the "big" meal.

The Mobay on that cheese board is spectacular, FWIW

I LOVE the creativity that went into this review, like you have done on several occasions over the years.

Thank you, Ken! That's sweet - and our 3001st comment. Cue confetti!

Cannot. Stop. LAUGHING!

(Sorry, that should be "stoppe" I suppose.)

I bet your spell checker had fifty fits over this one. Thanks for the entertaining review. Your blog is permanently on my "what's new?" reading list.

Did you guys go for lunch or dinner?

What bugs me about this review is that this restaurant was evaluated on the merits of an appetizer, a sandwich and a cheese board. Why were no entrees included? Why go to a restaurant such as this one and order so little; especially items that you could likely get at any restaurant (aside from the poke)?

My fear is that people will judge Bonfyre on a review like this when they should review the menu and see for themselves that the restaurant has better things to offer than what you tried.

Poke. I immediately thought poke salad (as in Annie). And then thought .."wow, a restaurant serving up a toxic greens." No. Googled to discover raw tuna.

We went there last week and really enjoyed our meals except for the jambalaya which was a bit lacking. The cioppino and duck breast were excellent. The noise level was a bit hard to take--you would think someone would have figured out how to design a quieter restaurant by now....

Kelly- This is the A to Z way. They do what they do, when they do it.

If it makes you feel any better (and please know that I wouldn't normally toot my own horn in quite this way), I went to Bonfyre in the days after my review was published, and actually heard people talking about it in the bar. So they're reading all kinds of reviews, both blogs and newspapers.

great review.

I really, really wanted to like Bonfyre, but our only visit (Valentine's Day) was an incredibly rushed experience that totally turned me off. Hubs had a pasta dish, which was OK, but little bland, while I ordered the grilled shrimp, which was actually quite good. I dunno, but I really hate it when they try to clear my plate while I'm still eating. We won't be back, I don't think. It's a very pretty place, however.

I went there a few weeks back for their brunch. Fairly typical Madison-brunch faire, but the 'qued chicken was pretty good, and the bacon was the best I've had at a brunch buffet in Madison - thick, cooked crisp, and tasty!

I enjoyed my tuna steak sandwich very much, although neither it nor my fries were very warm when they got to me. The sauce also was soaked completely into the soggy bun, leading me to think they had been sitting a while. And the very, um, hefty family beside my dining companion and myself kept asking us questions about what we ordered... while we were trying to eat. They ended up ordering pretty much everything on the menu anyway. If you like to eat in a quieter place, this is not the location for you. It's LOUD.

I loved the restaurant! I was so surprised ....it was un Madison....hip and fun. I had the Ahi tuna dinner and it was excellent with just the right amount of wasabi cream. My husband had the great pot roast soup (yum yum and filling) as well as the chicken sandwich which he liked. My caesar salad for $2 with meal was cold, crisp and enough for a dinner salad. I see that they have the AHi tuna salad as an entree.....this was a favorite of mine at Cloud 9 before it went defunct. I hear the chef used to work at Cloud 9 - I will be back to sample that salad.

I hear the chef used to work at Cloud 9

That's the word on the street, is it? ;)

It's not the chef; it's the owner of the restaurant, Alfredo Teuschler. He also runs Eno Vino and used to run Houlihan's.

As for that salad, it didn't exactly survive the translation, but it's decent at Bonfyre.

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