Las Islas del Mar
JM ate the fish burrito with an orange Jarritos.
Nichole ate the grilled shrimp with a grapefruit Jarritos.
The bill was $27, or $13.50/person, plus tip.
JM gave Las Islas del Mar an A-; Nichole gave Las Islas del Mar an A (see our grading rubric).
Mexican seafood has always been a rare catch in Madison and, other than the brief experiment of El Pescador, the town has had to mostly make do with fish tacos on a handful of menus. Monona's Las Islas del Mar is out to change all of that.
First came the complimentary chip basket, which overflowed with goodies. Sure there were crisp tortillas and a kicky green salsa, but also there was a small spicy crab salad and Saltines. A generous serving of lime was also provided. We were already hearing their siren song.
The server recommended the grilled shrimp for Nichole. This was an awesome thing: several big, well-seasoned, grilled shrimp came out and had excellent flavor. Served with a scoop of rice with veggies, fries, and a small salad, the presentation paralleled the quality of the food itself.
JM opted for the most staid choice, a fish burrito, which he described as a "Mexican fish fry" in a tortilla. It came with the spiciest Thousand Island dressing he's ever had. The burrito came packed with the unexpected, like tons of small red kidney beans and huge slices of avocado. The fried cod, though, was pretty good, but the whole thing ended up a little dry without a lot of meat grease to cement it together.
The service was fantastic and we were one of three tables there for dinner, so it could have gone either way (too attentive, too distracted). They have some really cool outdoor seating that for an end-of-the year outing did not appeal, but as spring is coming and warm nights beckon, we can see taking another dip off the coast of Las Islas del Mar.