« Laurel Tavern | Main | Laz Bistro and Bar »

Lava Lounge

Lava LoungeUpdate: Lava Lounge is closed.

In a word: Pumice Pub.

The specs: #0326
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Yelp; Lava Lounge on Urbanspoon

JM ate the grilled ham and American cheese with a Mountain Dew.
Nichole ate the burger with Swiss cheese, fried onions, lettuce and tomato and fries.
We split an order of mac and cheese bites.
The bill was $14, or $7/person, plus tip.
JM gave Lava Lounge a C+; Nichole gave a Lava Lounge a D+ (see our grading rubric).

Latest Lava Lounge news and reviews

Thousands of years ago, when the Earth was new and Nichole and JM were still in the engagement part of their life together, Nichole's two summer roommates invited the couple out for a few drinks. Lava Lounge and the Red Shed were the two places that they went. While that night passed without incident, it also never again occurred.  This triumphant luncheon return to Lava Lounge seemed like a good time to recall that portion of our youth. Fortunately, the Lounge's denizens still included nice but oafish guys and a hottie showing an acre of midriff with a tattoo 'round the back, but this time they were the servers.

Mac and cheese bites and ham and cheeseLava Lounge does have enough island and tiki kitsch set up to justify its moniker. It didn't take us long to choose lunch from the spartan (which is OK for a bar) menu posted above the grill. We sat on a well-used red futon/couch under a window to survey the room and eat our humble repast.

JM's ham and cheese was just OK. He observed that he could have made the same thing at home with better ingredients, but nothing was wrong with the sandwich per se. The deep fried mac and cheese bites were quite good in that uniformly, freezer-to-fryer, sinfully delicious way they have. Warm and cheesy, they hit the spot, if you avoided dipping them in the terrible little side of ranch dressing.

Burger basket

This burger wins the meretricious award: never has Nichole seen a prettier lunch that turned out to be so crummy. Applying Kate's burger rating guide, we see:

  • Bun: soft sesame seed, toasted on both sides but the bottom was utterly sogged out.
  • Meat: tasteless, textureless. Designed to be steamed, it somehow manged to smell great on the grill and taste like nothing at all. See below for closeup of factory stamp marks.
  • Bun/meat ratio: not enough bun, not to say there should be more of any part of this sandwich in existence.
  • Cheese: Swiss, while not great, added some much-needed flavor.
  • Misc.: mealy tomatoes were to be missed; fried red onions were the best part of the whole deal. A 2 of 10 overall.

Burger patty

This isn't to slag the hardworking and friendly (despite what we'd read) staff who prepared our lunch. We get the feeling they do a workmanlike job with what they're given. We just think a tiny bit of imagination from the management - a fraction of the effort that went into the tiki decor theme - would go a long way here. How about keeping a can of Dole slices around to throw on a burger? Call it the Big Kahuna or something. You can thank us later.

Basically, JM sees no reason to come here, but doesn't necessarily see any reasons to avoid it. Nichole would rather walk barefoot on 'a'a, but to each her own.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

You missed 'All You Can Drink Thursday'. But seriously, I'm impressed with your dedication to following the list. I would have skipped over this one.

What is that bottom photo of? It looks like someone stepped on sheep's brains with cleats.

Or for some more authentic Hawaiian flavor...sides of rice and macaroni salad instead of fries. And spam. Always with the spam on this island...

I think that LL could handle Spam. But only just.

The comments to this entry are closed.


Listen to The Corner Table podcast "Remembering Restaurants," aired December 24, 2020, where Chris and Lindsay talk with us "about the menus and memories left behind when restaurants go away."

Madison Food coverInfo about our book Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine is here, or read it for free thanks to the library - print & ebook.



About Follow madisonatoz on Twitter Contact
Blogroll Ad 
Free Blog
Read our book and food tour
Dish du jour Creative Commons License subscribe to RSS Subscribe
Memo to restaurants Bloggers' Rights at EFF Quizzes
Reflections BlogWithIntegrity.com Tip jar
Banner image by Kayla Morelli, Red Wheelbarrow Design