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Sofra Family Bistro 91

Update: If you eat at Sofra the week of Nov. 7-12, 2010, a portion of the proceeds goes to the FEED Innovation Kitchens, a business incubator in Madison. View the full list of participating restaurants.

In a word: 91 flavors and then some. 

The specs: #0600! 
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Fearful Symmetries, She Said He Said, Yelp [1] and [2], Isthmus, Madison Fish Fry; listing at Eat Drink Madisonofficial web site, Twitter, Sofra Family Bistro on Urbanspoon

Latest Sofra news and reviews

JM ate the french toast and a scrambled egg with a lemonade.
Nichole ate the five-grain organic wild blueberry pancakes with lemon mousse and a coffee.
The bill was $21, or $10.50/person, plus tip.
JM gave Sofra Family Bistro a B; Nichole gave Sofra Family Bistro an A- (see our grading rubric).

CondimentsBavaria Family Restaurant, our #0025, reinvented itself a while back as Sofra Family Bistro. (We're pretty sure we sat in the exact same booth on this visit.) Since then one of the many enriching connections we've made and fun outings we've had was with Middleton Times Tribune food writer Becky Meyer Pourchot. Her observations on the transition Middleton is going through, from farm city to affluent suburb, added depth and context to our Sofra experience. They've gone chameleon and we think it works well.

Brunchy adult beverages and Turkish coffee were on offer, and the bottomless regular coffee was diner-standard. JM found the French toast and egg just average. The three slices halved were slightly thinner than Texas toast, had had a short dip in egg batter, and came with a side of maple flavor syrup which was maybe light on the flavor but thin on the syrup. The one egg scrambled costing nearly $3 was a little too nouveaux-Middleton for him.

French toast and eggBlueberry pancakes with lemon cream

Nichole considered the crepes (black cherry or bananas foster) but went for the pancakes. These were hearty but thin, with a nutty aftertaste. They were quite dry except where tart blueberries added moisture, making the whole cup of syrup plus the lemon mousse necessary. The mousse was similar to a bakery glaze but thicker, probably mostly powdered sugar, with understated lemon.

Albanian sausageWe both liked the Albanian sausage. The hand-molded, skinless, grilled links reminded JM, strongly, of meatloaf: simple, beefy, moist, with a hint of sage or oregano. Seriously.  Imagine meatloaf sausage and you have it.

The menu was broad and interesting enough to bring us back, and the space is pleasant yet has enough personality that we could feel confident bringing almost any combination of companions along.

On the way out, JM's tshirt drew comments from the hostess and a waitress. He felt a little funny standing at the cashier with two women staring at his chest. Maybe that's just another way in which the world has changed.


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They've added some Albanian dishes to their dinner line-up. We've been there a couple of times for them - not bad!!!

Obviously, y'all went for breakfast which I understand is very popular. I'm never on the westside on a Sat or Sun morning so my only experience is with lunches. :)

That being said, I'm a big fan of Sofra (and it's previous incarnation) primarily because of the sweet family that runs the joint and their consistently decent food. They know their audience and managed to update their interior and their menu without alienating their regular clientele - namely the seniors from next door who come to lunch for the "soup with every reasonably priced meal."

And speaking of soup... Holy cow is theirs good! Each one is made from scratch and you better not be looking for anything healthy. Cream soups are made with heavy cream and real butter for example. Try the Albanian Wedding Soup sometime. I think they serve it every Friday. Yowza!

If you want something a little less "heavy," the same family owns/runs the lovely Villa Dolce around the corner. A little more upscale and gourmet, if that's your thing.

Seconded on the Albanian Wedding Soup. I ate here for lunch once a week for years, when I worked in the area, and it never disappointed.

Since you mentioned the tshirt comment episode, out of curiosity why did his tshirt draw comments???

It was a t-shirt that lists things you "don't learn in school" like how duck quacks don't echo and how there's no rhyme for orange, purple, silver and month and so on.

Can anyone tell me if the Albanian Wedding soup was the soup I had there one time that was like a chicken noodle, but creamier? If so, it was pretty much the best soup I've ever had.

@ baboocole -- Probably the same soup, definitely the same soup if you can recall if it had mint/angel hair pasta

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