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Update 4/15/10: Kickshaw is closed.

In a word: Perfectly cromulent.

The specs: #0523  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; photos at Eat, Drink and Be Sassy, reviews at Isthmus, gastropacalypse, EatDrinkMadison, TDPF; announcement at Isthmus; official web site, Kickshaw on Urbanspoon

JM ate the ribs and a lemonade.
Laura ate the proscioutto-wrapped trout with a white wine.
Nichole ate the braised duck manapua and a Bibb salad.
Tiffany ate the eggplant lasagna.
We split some cherrymisu.
The bill was about $70, or $17.50/person, plus tip.
JM gave Kickshaw an A; Tiffany gave Kickshaw a B+; Laura and Nichole gave Kickshaw a B (see our grading rubric).

Latest Kickshaw news and reviews

Kickshaw's location holds the dubious distinction of being the first place we have visited to house three distinct restaurants. Before Kickshaw, it was Good Times; before that, Fitch's Chophouse. To Kickshaw's credit, they made more of an effort to retheme the place than Good Times had. The mafia murals were gone, as was the game room. Still, a split-personality feel lingered. The menu was upscale, but there were parties made up of dressy adults next to post-soccer-practice kids; our server was in training as well.


Laura opted for the prosciutto-wrapped trout, which was presented with a great deal of presentation (for want of a better term). It was a meaty, succulent dish, but the tail and skin threw her off a bit, and the pile of capers seemed to convey a forced nonchalance.

Eggplant lasagnaTiffany found the eggplant lasagna to be very well done. A parmesan cracker, flying like a flag above the entree, was twee but tasty.

Nichole's Bibb salad with pear, candied pecans, craisins, and Green Goddess dressing was a bit gritty and left her mostly feeling eager for spring farmers' markets. The braised duck manapua was basically a Hawaiian-style steamed bun with sweet/smoky sauce and roast duck. It was on the appetizer menu, but had we intended to share it would have been awkward. As it was, it was flavorful, if a little salty and dry.

Bibb saladSteamed bun

RibsJM was the most pleased with his meal. A giant rack of meat candy is hard to argue with, falling off the bone as it did. This photo scarcely does it justice; see another angle to get the full scale. He was in the clean plate club on this meal.

Another winner was the cherrymisu dessert. Liberated ladyfingers jutted from a martini glass filled with mascarpone and a dash of kirschwasser in a festive, jaunty sweet.


Kickshaw seems to be trying to compete for the locavore/foodie crowd that Madison nourishes in abundance. Their menu is so seasonal as to be unpredictable, according to folks we'd compared notes with. But Kickshaw is neither a downtown classy stop before Overture or a near-east side funky bistro. In further-flung Fitchburg, it may need to consider developing a more regular clientele looking for a specific kind of comfort and work out from there.


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I doubt I will ever go to a restaurant in this location again. I cannot forget the two blah overpriced meals I had at Fitch's. Too many better places in that same price range.

We weren't overly impressed with this place. The food wasn't bad, but it was just OK - and in this price range, we were expecting great. Our dining companions all had pretty much the same reaction. For that kind of money, Lombardino's or L'Etoile is a much better choice.

Also, the setting isn't really a good fit for fine dining. It seems more like the kind of place you'd go to after work and have hors d'oevres and a couple of drinks. I think upscale pub food might work a little better here.

Seems to me that if you're going to serve a whole fish, you should, y'know, serve the whole fish. Lopping off the head actually makes it more disconcerting than serving it mit Kopf.

But that crispy trout skin...damn. Ain't nothing wrong with that.

Closed? Already? I didn't think this place would make it, but I'm surprised it closed this quickly.

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