The specs: #0714
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Becky ate the cheeseburger with American cheese, hush puppies, and a beer.
JM ate the prime rib sandwich with fries and a lemonade.
Nichole ate the bacon bleu burger with a Tom Collins.
Shawn ate the double cheeseburger with a beer.
We split the house nachos.
The bill was $15/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole gave Village Green an A (see our grading rubric).
We waited so long for these burgers. When we finally reached them, they were just right.
A few months ago, our companions brought us on a Middleton burger tour for a Times-Tribune story Becky was working on. We sampled Club Tavern (which is haunted), Sprecher's (which was not a very pub-propriate burger a'tall), and Midtown Pub (which Madison Fish Fry also recommends), and wanted to finish with Village Green but it was a Sunday and they were closed.
On the burger tour we had a hard time deciding which burger was "best," but had we made it to Village Green, our decision would have been much clearer. Let's take a look with Kate's burger rating guide:
- Bun: not toasted, but sturdy. Topped with sesame seeds.
- Meat: done to order, hand-made patty, delicious. Crispy bacon.
- Bun/meat ratio: a single is nearly perfect, leaning to too much bread, yet a double is a little too much meat. Eh, nobody's perfect.
- Cheese: both the fine, semi-runny bleu/sauce and the archetypical and perfectly melted American are both strong cheese contenders. There's no cheddar available at Village Green, but maybe that's part of the place's charm.
- Misc.: this is a straight-shooting cheeseburger. There's nothing fancy about it but it truly approaches a Platonic ideal. About a 9 of 10 overall.
We admit there is some sentimental grade inflation here. Besides our fervent anticipation of this meal, it was also an occasion to bid Becky and Shawn a temporary goodbye and good luck on a big adventure. But objectively, we still think it's a mighty fine burger.
"Mighty fine," by the way, is an in-joke, but you, too, can be in on it if you read Becky's book of short stories, I Look Better in Binary, which is freaking amazing.
We thought it would barely be worth mentioning the non-burger food, but the "famous" nachos were more id-gratifying than we expected. They were a massive platter of deep-fried flour tortilla strips under the house's also-famous bean and beef chili, cheez sauce and jalapeños, with sour cream and salsa on the side.
JM threw himself on the grenade of a non-burger item and was rewarded with a fine prime rib sandwich which was tender but sloppy. The fries were just OK, while the hush puppies were livened up with onion and were a wee bit overdone.
The lemonade was good. There was some sort of retro-cocktail special night happening, which gave Nichole a chance to learn that she doesn't care for Tom Collins. (Old Fashioneds are great here, though.)
Dinner at Village Green was, for us, like meeting a new friend when you didn't even know you were looking for one. Finding you share the same enthusiasm for life, the same random quirks, the same predilection for cocktails on the patio on a late summer's day. Sure, it can make you wistful for lost time - but it also makes you glad for the times shared and for the future, which will involve more burgers, more sharing, more fun. At least we hope so.
So, here's to burgers, beer, and mighty fine summer nights. Cheers to Village Green.