In a word: Great dining and drinking in the laid-back Monona-style.
The specs: #00816
300 Cottage Grove Rd., 53716
Latest Chief's Tavern news and reviews at del.icio.us
JM ate the TLT with a Mountain Dew.
Nichole ate the Reuben with cole slaw and a 7UP.
The bill was $14.50, or $7.25/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole both gave Chief's Tavern an A- (see our grading rubric).
Go here and get the TLT - trout, lettuce, and tomato. It's a novel bar offering and it's done really well. The trout is reportedly farmed at Rushing Waters in Palmyra. From the first bite, the sandwich had a great grilled fish flavor augmented with a slice of cheddar and a spicy, paprika-y aioli. (It might have been even better with bacon.) The only way it fell short at all was with the woody, flavorless tomato slice, but expecting more of a tomato then and there would have been unreasonable.
The Reuben, too, was about perfect. It's always a sandwich that does well in Wisconsin because it doesn't depend on summer and sunlight, but Chief's version was above average. Toasted, buttered slices of marble rye, a thick but crumbly corned beef slab, classic kraut, and messy Swiss cheese and Russian dressing all came in a harmonious ratio.
On the downside, the sides. The cole slaw and potato salad were fresh and homemade but lacked salt and spice for our tastes. And after the whole Rap Illuminati episode of the Cleveland Show came and went (on a nice big HDTV) we were muttering things like "this better be worth the wait." It was.
PS We're finding ourselves at a lot of bars with meat raffles and it seems wrong that we've never participated in one. How do it work?