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Maple Tree

In a word:  Small town supper club with limited appeal.

The specs: #0366
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Madison Fish Fry, collected at del.icio.us; official web site; Maple Tree Restaurant on Urbanspoon

JM ate the biscuits and gravy with a side of ham and an apple juice.
Nichole ate the walleye and eggs with a coffee and a virgin Mary.
The bill was about $20, or $10/person, plus tip.
JM gave Maple Tree a B-; Nichole gave Maple Tree a C+ (see our grading rubric).

Latest Maple Tree news and reviews

Maple Tree is quintessentially Wisconsin. There's just something charming about a bar full of retirees sipping screwdrivers and Bloody Marys on a Sunday morning. And something simultaneously endearing and frustrating about the blatant apostrophe abuse on the Special's board. (Unless you just get one egg and that's meant to be Prime Rib and Egg is $11.99. Not likely.)

Maple Tree special's

We were seated near a window overlooking a park, where we could see late-waking campers groggily greet the day. Country radio played strongly over the intercom (worth mentioning only because it's so rare). The menus proclaimed that Maple Tree was founded in 1984, and we suspect it hasn't been redecorated since or even perhaps then. Sadly, some of the flatware seemed dingy as well.

Our drinks came up fast. The virgin Mary was spicy, but the salad was sparse (just a dill pickle and a lemon wedge). The coffee was on the weak side, but our server made up for it by leaving the whole carafe; another downside was that the half and half was a little scuzzy. JM's apple juice came in a large glass, but was iced, which seemed like a stretch.

Biscuits and gravyThe sausage gravy over biscuits included big pieces of sausage, a plus. The flavor was good and peppery, and disguised the fact that the biscuits  were burned to black on the bottom, which made them somewhat less edible. The ham was good, if also on the well-done side.

Walleye and eggsNichole is ashamed to admit she'd never had fried walleye before this. A Midwestern -expat friend recently informed her of all the attention Rocky Flats Lounge out in Boulder, Colorado is getting for their "Wisconsin style fish fry." So, feeling like she was taking the charms of Wisconsin for granted, Nichole risked the mercury and got the walleye and eggs. And Maple Tree did it well: it was a large fillet of fish in a crispy batter, perfectly salted, lighter than any other fish fry she's had (with the possible exception of JM's dish at El Corral). Sadly, the steam-tray-esque eggs and greasy, overdone potatoes didn't complement the fish very well.

We asked whether the pies were house-made, and in a refreshing dash of honesty (another Sconnie hallmark) our server said they came frozen and were baked in-house. So we decided to pass this time, which is just as well since we were pretty full.

Maple Tree strikes us as the kind of place where each menu and possibly each iteration of each menu item varies wildly.  This leads those of us who value consistency to look elsewhere because even our faves could suffer.  A coworker called it a good place to take a hungry teenager, and that sounds about right.

Comments

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"Nacho's"? Gimme that back, it's nacho's cheese, man! And what about "Desserts"? No apostrophe there?

I've always wondered what's going on in the brain of people who use apostrophes this way. What do they think they're communicating?

My guess: "I dont know how to use apostrophe's"

Every time you use a superfluous apostrophe, God kills a kitten.

PLEASE! Think of the KITTENS!

A related topic is the constant use of the redundant phrase, "with au jus." My favorite variant on this was a diner in Portage that advertises their French Dip as coming "w/ ow juice." Yummy! Ow juice!

Does ow juice come in cans of whoop-ass?

See: Badgerland Bar and Grill, Bourbon Street Grille, Big Ten Pub, Brass Ring, and Club Tavern for further discussion of the abuse of au jus.

I hate people who call facial tissue Kleenex.

"I could care less."

COULD you? Could you really? Grrr.

I've never understood the appeal of the Maple Tree. The food is, at best, ok, never, ever good, although the prices are low. We've been there several times (we're locals) and each time I walk out thinking *what* was I thinking???

We went there once for Thanksgiving. They served what appeared to be processed turkey roll. Ewwwww. I've never been back.

The Maple Tree is a wonderful place where the food has always been consistant and I have been going for 14 years. I think people are afraid to try places when you put it all through such scrutiny. Enjoy life and the Maple Tree breakfast has always been the BOMB!

I'm torn. We went yesterday evening and actually had a fairly respectable prime rib - and were by far the youngest people there. I like that dinner comes with soup AND salad, but the soup hadn't yet reached its full temperature potential (to be fair, we were early birds yesterday and got there shortly after they started serving dinner, so the soup probably hadn't been out for very long). The lemonade wasn't nearly lemony enough. The croutons were awesomely crunchy deep-fried cubes of their homemade bread, and any place that has cheese spread on the salad bar is fine by me. Our server was warm and friendly. So some things were good, some not-so-good, but I can see myself going back when I've got a prime rib craving and don't want to drop a lot of cash (the petite cut was more than enough for me).

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