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Rodeside Grill

In a word: Fine dining for people who haven't had any better.

The specs: #0554  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Yelp, Madison Fish Fry, collected at del.icio.us; official web site, Rodeside Grill on Urbanspoon

JM ate the apple-baked pork chops with a lemonade.
Nichole ate a burger with French onion soup.
We split a dessert.
The bill was $26, or $13/person, plus tip.
JM gave Rodeside Grill a C+; Nichole gave Rodeside Grill a C (see our grading rubric).

Latest Rodeside Grill news and reviews

French onion soupRodeside Grill, just off the highway in Windsor, almost shares a parking lot with a Days Inn. It does seem to cater to the traveler with its chain-like, family dining atmosphere, but as far as we could tell it's an original. There's a bar in the center of the building and an entire room for kids in front, with a Claw game and assorted other toys. The table service was perfunctory but the host was solicitous and chatty. The food itself was very hit-or-miss, so we'll just tell you about the hits, as is our wont.

The French onion soup and roll were misses.

The apple-baked pork chops were a hit. They were two light, tender, boneless chops in a zippy glaze with (uncored) red apple slices baked on top. A reasonable portion of thin, crispy fries came on the side. This reinforces a subrule of A to Z: get the craziest thing at a restaurant where you're worried the quality might be low (as long as it's not a burger with cream cheese and olives).

Pork chops

A bit of chopped onion, tomato, and black olive garnished JM's plate but ended up on Nichole's burger:

  • Bun: toasted, lightly buttered kaiser with sesame seeds.
  • Meat: very juicy, molded patty with not much flavor other than grill smoke, but cooked to order.
  • Bun/meat ratio: perfect (both huge).
  • Cheese: Bleu; not crumbles, almost a creamy brie-like texture. Not much flavor if you're used to really assertive bleu cheeses.
  • Misc.: Two pieces of perfectly cooked bacon with a couple cranks of fresh black pepper was the best part of all. Yet the parts added up to a whole rating of only about a 6 of 10.

The decent garlic mashed potatoes that came with the burger, as well as the second pork chop, went into a to-go container.

The oddest part of our dinner was dessert, a peanut butter "friaza" (our server told us not to worry about pronunciation, since "the woman who sells them doesn't even know how to say it") or mousse with a peanut crust on top and liberal slatherings of chocolate syrup. This hard, hard-to-eat concoction was nothing special and barely bears remembering.

Bacon and bleu burgerPeanut butter friaza

We wouldn't really come back - though, if you have a tough time getting your spouse to eat out because everything in Madison is too fancy or too much money, Rodeside is neither.

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