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Monty's Blue Plate Diner

Monty's Blue Plate DinerIn a word: Just short of the blue ribbon.

The specs: #0389
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Dane101, Yelp, Madison Date Night, Happy Cow; essay at New Colonist; official web site, Monty's Blue Plate Diner on Urbanspoon

Latest Monty's Blue Plate Diner news and reviews

JM ate the ham and cheese omelet.
Nichole ate the salmon hash with poached eggs and cheddar jalapeño toast.
The bill was $18, or $9/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole both gave Monty's Blue Plate Diner an A- (see our grading rubric).

We really don't have much to say about Monty's other than it's a Madison institution, probably one of the best of the nine Food Fight restaurants, it's a little pricey and a little overhyped, but that comes with the territory.

Ham and cheese omelet

JM's ham and cheese omelet (not really a sandwich, so not his ham and cheese #41) was standard, made with average quality ingredients - though it did cohere. The biscuit was good if not flaky enough. And the potatoes were adequate, with some sort of powder that didn't really change their flavor.

Salmon hash

Nichole's salmon hash, a new menu item, was roughly 96% hash - the kitchen seems to be capitalizing on the strong flavor of salmon to skimp just a bit on the protein. Though the order arrived with the wrong kind of eggs and bread (and pineapple instead of melon, yum) at first, our server quickly corrected the error with a smile. Which was nice, because the cheddar jalapeño bread was much better than the biscuit, and the poached eggs were pretty good.


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That's one thing that's good and bad. While I've had a screwed-up order there too, the response has always been above-and-beyond.

Otherwise, I've got to be in a specific Monty's mood to go there.

Are you all starting to skip? I was looking forward to the review of Monroe Street Bistro!

Monroe St. Bistro was not on the list when we ran the M list in June. It will be in the make-ups that follow the Ns. (Current estimated review posting date: May 2009)

Monty's is a fun diner and its multiple vegetarian options are much appreciated by friends and out-of-town visitors who don't eat meat. But I have to say, there isn't one standout dish on the menu, and I've been here over 10 times. It's a wholly mediocre establishment with OK breakfasts, OK burgers and sandwiches, OK to less than OK meat replacements, and very good pies and cakes. Avoid on weekends when lines get too long, but worth a visit for a soda and a sandwich once in a while--especially for the vegetarian options.

I gotta say, your description reads to me like a "B" description, not an "A-" description. But maybe that's just because I think Monty's is a B.

I always found foodfight restaurants to be decent and reliable, but not stellar. That said, we visit them fairly often - but again, because they're decent and reliable!

I think that because I lived on that side of town for a while and am eating a lot of vegetarian food, I love Monty's. While the Meatless loaf of the gods is oily, it's still good, and it's great for a vegetarian ruben and the vegetarian BLT. But for "stellar" and "exciting" I go with the Weary every time.

Plus they have better beer at the Weary.

I should have mentioned that in addition to visiting Foodfight restaurants for decent and reliable food, we also like the variety - there is always something for everyone, including vegetarians. It's a good option for out-of-town guests, especially if you don't know their food preferences. Plus, they all feature a fun atmosphere.

Went to Monty's tonight, catering to a pancake craving on the wife's part, and a recalcitrance to go to Perkins on mine.

The pancakes were really good tonight, and I didn't even miss the butter that she refuses to put on her pancakes.

I had a "big bowl" of smoked pork salsa verde, and it was incredible. Definitely worth $8. Ample, spicy, and filling. The cornbread was bland, but good for soaking up moisture and oil from the stew.

Tall stack and a bowl of pork stew, two Cokes, for $18? Not gonna argue. That's Perkins-level cheap.

While Monty's remains a neighborhood institution, in part for it's reliable Sunday breakfast atmosphere, I feel that they have done little if anything to improve some of the elements that have become tired, if not worn out. Many of the soups are so homogeneous that a patron is left feeling duped by soup. The sandwiches are generally overpriced, but tasty (with rolls that are too large and merely filling). Adding a section of the menu that is designed to be low carb and high protein would also be a plus.

When I went to Monty's for the first time, I was impressed. When I went there again, and other times after that, I was disappointed. They need to work on better service for seating people that walk in the door. Also, they should re-test their recipes. I agree with Dave. Some things are worn out. I was intrigued by the Hungarian soup, but its dull two-tone blandness was borderline offensive. (If anyone wonders what two tones I'm talking about, it's potatoes and salt. Lots of salt. Are there no other seasonings? Come on, guys!)

Monty's is absolutely one of the best resturants in town. If you don't think so, that's OK, it leaves more for the rest of us. Now that Tim is back I'd like to see the specials board return to more prominence. I loved ordering off of the specials board. One veggie, one not and one big bowl.

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