"S" is for Something good
So, the S's we liked the most were also among Madison's favorites (Smoky Jon's, Sushi Muramoto, Swagat), with many memorable breakfasts (Stella's, Sophia's, Spring Green General Store) and a super fish fry.
Looking back it became clear to Nichole how getting buffaloed can make it difficult to enjoy a meal (Sardine, Springers, Stamm House), but also how biking somewhere can make already-great food amazing (Sow's Ear, Schoolhouse Cafe, and what the heck, Bike the Barns). Whatever Chris Berge is up to already has that going for it.
Looking forward it became clear to JM that make-ups will dominate the remainder of the List. Only the next letter, T, features an above-average number of restaurants. After that it is clear sailing to Z. (Knock on wood.)
The timing of this post couldn't be better. Madison Magazine's Winter 2011 Restaurant Week is coming soon, and the participants only go up to letter S. That means it's the first time we've eaten at (almost) every restaurant on that list.* And yet we've never been to a Restaurant Week offering.
So, dear readers, tell us something good about it, please - let us live vicariously in a world where most of the restaurants are on the Honor Roll, where all are putting their best foot forward for every guest, where no one says, as we often do, "we had to eat there." We love to hear what you think.
For what it's worth, this is our short take on the participants.**
- 43 North (menu): Sneak preview! Double A-
- Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano (menu): JM A-, Nichole B+
- Blue Marlin (menu): JM A, Nichole B+
- Bluephies Restaurant & Vodkatorium (menu): Double A, with a rim of salt: we went before it got re-visioned.
- Bonfyre American Grille (menu): JM A-, Nichole B+
- Brickhouse BBQ (menu): Double A
- Brocach Irish Pub (menu): Double A-
- Capitol Chophouse (menu): Double A-
- Captain Bill's (menu): Double B+
- Continental Fitchburg (menu): Nichole A-, JM B
- Daisy Café & Cupcakery (menu): JM A-, Nichole B+
- Dayton Street Grille (menu): JM A, Nichole A-
- Delaney's Charcoal Steaks (menu): JM B+, Nichole B-
- Eldorado Grill (menu): Nichole A-, JM B
- Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar (menu): JM A-, Nichole B
- Fresco (menu): JM B+, Nichole B
- Graze (menu): Sneak preview! Double A
- Harvest (menu): Double A
- Icon (menu): Double B+
- Inka Heritage (menu): JM A-, Nichole B+
- Johnny Delmonico's (menu): Double A-
- Johnny's Italian Steakhouse (menu): JM B, Nichole C
- La Brioche True Food (menu): JM B+, Nichole C+, but nota bene, the bakery we visited on Midvale is much different than the current incarnation of True Food on University. So we hear.
- Liliana's Restaurant (menu): JM B, Nichole C
- Lombardinos (menu): Nichole A+ (!), JM A-
- Mariner's Inn (menu): JM A-, Nichole B
- Melting Pot (menu): JM A, Nichole B+
- Ocean Grill (menu): JM B+, Nichole B-
- Osteria Papavero (menu): Nichole A, JM A-
- Quivey's Grove (menus: Stable Grill, Stone House): Double A
- Ruth's Chris Steak House (menu): JM A-, Nichole B
- Sa Bai Thong (menu): Nichole A-, JM B+
- Samba Brazilian Grill (menu): JM A-, Nichole B+
- Sardine (menu): JM A, Nichole B
*Some are on the post-S makeup list, which we've eaten at and written up already, but haven't posted yet. Some are quite different now than they were when we went. Hence "almost."
**Please remember that our grades are entirely subjective and we know our limitations in writing about food on the internet. Our posts are based on one visit and mostly serve to indicate how likely we are to return. Your mileage will vary - that's why we love to hear your opinions.