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Draft House

Draft HouseIn a word: The Very Good Dane.

The specs: #0348
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Yelp, Madison Beer Review, 77 Square, Madison Fish Fry, collected at del.icio.us; official web site.Draft House Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

JM ate the barbecue chicken sandwich with chips and a lemonade.
John ate the ribeye steak wrap with fries and a diet Sierra Mist.
Nichole ate the vegetable beef soup and the Irish egg rolls with a diet Pepsi.
Rose ate the spinach artichoke dip and an iced tea.
We split an order of onion rings.
The bill was $44, or $11/person, plus tip.
Rose gave Draft House an A; JM and John gave Draft House an A-; Nichole gave Draft House a B (see our grading rubric).

Latest Draft House news and reviews

In the middle of three make-up trips to Verona, the Draft House seemed to us like just another new building amidst development along the Madison side of Verona. It's hard to say what to expect from such places since other newbies like Byrd's and Erin's have been somewhat disappointing - marginal in more than one sense of the word - and how is it even possible that the area needs another pub?

A large chalkboard above the Draft House door taunted us with beer selections that were no longer offered, leaving fair-to-middling options that failed to sell us on the "draft" part of the house. (As an aside, Draft House's web site is one of the more better-maintained sites we've seen, with daily specials and soups posted with today's date every time we checked. How often is the web more up-to-date than the chalkboard?) We appreciated the way our server broke the beer news to us gently as well as her all-around skill and tableside manner.

Beef vegetable soupAs for the food, there's nothing like starting on a high note, namely this homemade beef vegetable soup. Tomatoes, carrots, corn, green beans, mushrooms, celery and even broccoli and cauliflower - an interesting choice but not too bitter - accompanied tender corned beef  in a savory broth. Potatoes were not missed, as the soup was plenty hearty already. It did benefit from a dash of salt but that's so much better than the alternative that we can hardly call it a flaw. Half-joking, we asked for the recipe, but the soup expert wasn't working during our visit. Being homemade, the soup may have its good and bad days; we'd be interested to hear if it's always up to par.

Artichoke and spinach dipRose found the party-food dish of spinach and artichoke dip to be excellent, warmed up and flavorful. The quantity was large enough for leftovers as well.  At no time did she stop commenting on how much she was enjoying her dish.

Prime rib wrapThough John's prime rib wrap fell apart due to not being tucked in sufficiently, it was very tasty, with tender meat, melted cheese, onions, and red and green bell peppers.

BBQ chicken sandwichJM's barbecue chicken sandwich was a little dry, but ultimately was what he was looking for.  The burger dynamic of such restaurants is a little tiring and having just come off Dexter's, he was glad for another option. The fries were coated and delicious and the lemonade was good. He was very happy for the meal.

"Irish egg rolls"The only thing that really stood out on the menu to Nichole was the weirdly compelling idea of the "Irish egg roll." (Mock her if you will.) The standard egg roll wrapper was laid in with the right ratio of ingredients: a thinly sliced piece of corned beef, a forkful of sauerkraut, and just enough Swiss cheese to hold it all together. Fried to medium-toughness, yet still easy to bite through, the rolls could not escape the predictable fate of getting sogged out on the bottom. Still, it was an interesting Reubenesque twist on bar food.

The menu needs a little more inventiveness to warrant notice by foodies. But on the whole we were not disappointed by this place and though Dexter's Pub may have overshadowed our experience because of their advantage in the novelty of menu items (including beers), Draft House is all clean lines and finished wood for when your pub dining experience needs to look corporate.

Comments

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Ate there last night. Very tasty deep fried, beer battered perch for me, blackened walleye for My Love. We both were well satisfied. I was actually surprised at the tasiness of the wallleye considering that the fillet was quite thin; the walleye stood up to the seasonings as well as the cooking method and didn't dry out. Cheers to the cook! The perch were terrific - perhaps heavy on the batter for some, but not me. Our taters - waffle fries, sweet potato fries - were standard but the cole slaw was quite good. The dinner rolls were fresh, which is kind of a coup when it comes to fish fries.

Ate there again last night (we live somewhat nearby and had to have a quick early dinner). I wasn't very hungry so all I ordered was an app - their jalapeno popper wantons. They were a fun diversion, something different, until I dipped the second one into the chili sauce that came with them, and that kicked them into high freakin' gear! My Love had the blackened walleye again and it was gone before I could even ask for a bite. As you noted, their beer selections are indeed poor, especially when it comes to their namesake.

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