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Country Place Cafe

Country Place CafeIn a word: Hotter than a boiling kettle.

The specs: #00832  
233 Douglas Dr., Brooklyn 53521
Details at Country Place Cafe on Urbanspoon
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JM ate the two-piece fish fry with a lemonade.
Nichole ate the burger.
We split some cheese curds.
The bill was $27, or $13.50/person, plus tip.
JM gave Country Place Cafe an A-; Nichole gave Country Place Cafe an A (see our grading rubric).

Country Place Cafe was a treat. We read about it last summer in the Oregon Observer (and the short-lived but well-done MadTable), which reported that the little cafe in Brooklyn had changed hands and would transform from a standard family restaurant to a venue for locally-sourced ingredients.

The best aspects of a family restaurant - casual atmosphere, fair prices - have been retained, but the food is more than 1.96 standard deviations above the mean. Each dish we tried (granted, that was only three off the solid-looking menu) was put together with good ingredients and a creative twist.

Cheese curdsFirst off, the deep-fried cheddar cheese curds had spice. Cayenne, fennel, and (maybe just a little too much) salt rocketed them into the next dimension of cheese-sistence. These curds were both ambitious and delicious.

The fish fry (covered in detail at MFF) was a 2-piece tilapia affair. The fish was the flakiest in our recent memory, but the batter held it together. The rustic applesauce was so good JM exclaimed, "if all fruit tasted as good as that, I would eat more fruit." The homemade tartar was a nice touch as well, as these affairs are usually creamier than processed brands. It even survived a little accidental reheating in the next day's lunch.

Burger time. Let's use Accidental Hedonist's burger rubric again:

  • Bun: Toasted and buttered. Gorgeous.
  • Meat: Handmade patty with ample black pepper and without question THE juciest burger we've ever tried. So moist, in fact, we wouldn't be surprised if it were butter-injected. Culvers, eat your heart out.
  • Bun/meat ratio: Decent. The bun held up, barely, and there was meat overflow around the edges.
  • Cheese: Havarti dill curds at the right melt point. If curds on a burger are not your thing, sliced cheeses are available too.
  • Misc.: Basil leaves mixed in with the lettuce on the burger might have crossed the line into "foofy" territory, but were tasty. Even better was the tomato, another absolute best - it was probably the ripest restaurant tomato we've had. Homemade bread & butter pickles and a general "holy cow, you guys love to make food" feeling pushed this burger into the 9.5 of 10 range.

Fish FryCheeseburger

It's worth saying again that the tomato was amazing. (It's January in Wisconsin, remember.) The server said the tomatoes come from a nearby farm, and the kitchen waits to use them until they're perfectly ripe. Man, if Nichole had known the tomato was going to be that good, she would have gotten the BLT.

When the bill came, JM exclaimed that he was prepared to pay twice that much for that quality of food. Maybe that's a little over the top, but for fare comparable to the Old Fashioned's (only more novel, and less crowded), Country Place Cafe is definitely worth the trip.

Comments

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This place is a real gem. Haven't been there for dinner yet, but we've been several times for weekend breakfasts and once or twice for lunch. Great food, great staff, really friendly owner. It's well worth the drive from Madison.

P.S. I'm glad you made it out there because I've been meaning to suggest that you go!

I just went with the hubby, stopping during a bike ride for breakfast. I thought we were in a food desert out here, but this place is amazing!

I live in Albany and it is so wonderful to have a place this good closer than Madison. I second the burger review. The fried green beans are really good, and I've had several top notch desserts. It's not uncommon to come in for lunch and see tomatoes ripening on one of the tables. They just celebrated their one year anniversary--check them out if you haven't yet!

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