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"S" is for Something good

So, the S's we liked the most were also among Madison's favorites (Smoky Jon's, Sushi Muramoto, Swagat), with many memorable breakfasts (Stella's, Sophia's, Spring Green General Store) and a super fish fry.

SummerLooking back it became clear to Nichole how getting buffaloed can make it difficult to enjoy a meal (Sardine, Springers, Stamm House), but also how biking somewhere can make already-great food amazing (Sow's Ear, Schoolhouse Cafe, and what the heck, Bike the Barns). Whatever Chris Berge is up to already has that going for it.

Looking forward it became clear to JM that make-ups will dominate the remainder of the List. Only the next letter, T, features an above-average number of restaurants. After that it is clear sailing to Z. (Knock on wood.)

Our favorite S's were:
Breakfast: Stella's Bakery
Lunch: Schoolhouse Cafe
Dinner: Seafood Center

The timing of this post couldn't be better. Madison Magazine's Winter 2011 Restaurant Week is coming soon, and the participants only go up to letter S. That means it's the first time we've eaten at (almost) every restaurant on that list.* And yet we've never been to a Restaurant Week offering.

So, dear readers, tell us something good about it, please - let us live vicariously in a world where most of the restaurants are on the Honor Roll, where all are putting their best foot forward for every guest, where no one says, as we often do, "we had to eat there." We love to hear what you think.

For what it's worth, this is our short take on the participants.**

*Some are on the post-S makeup list, which we've eaten at and written up already, but haven't posted yet. Some are quite different now than they were when we went. Hence "almost."

**Please remember that our grades are entirely subjective and we know our limitations in writing about food on the internet. Our posts are based on one visit and mostly serve to indicate how likely we are to return. Your mileage will vary - that's why we love to hear your opinions.

Our grades thus far:

A 261
B 256
C 90
D 13
F 2

GPA by first letter:

1st PassCumulative
A 3.11 3.30
B 3.15 3.19
C 3.25 3.22
D 3.20 3.29
E 3.03 3.06
F 3.24 3.25
G 3.21 3.27
H 3.16 3.20
I 3.40 3.32
J 3.13 3.10
K 3.08 3.17
L 3.23 3.29
M 3.32 3.27
N 3.15 3.11
O 3.23 3.24
P 3.09 3.13
Q 3.39 3.39
R 3.19 3.19
S 3.14 n/a


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I've been to several Restaurant Weeks. We use it as an excuse to go eat at some of the places we've been meaning to try (which you guys don't really need). They've been hit or miss as to how good they are, and one time, we didn't even end up ordering off the Restaurant Week menu. When we got there, we decided there were other options that looked better. And if you're going for lunch, make sure you have lots of extra time.

The best all time Restaurant Week special was when Muramoto offered unlimited sushi for $25 (from cucumber rolls to blue fin to soft-shell crab). That was a good time. We sat next to a dim couple that must have ordered 10 different maki and ate maybe 2. The restaurant policy was that whatever you didn't finish you had to pay for, but I think they were (begrudgingly) let off the hook with the bill. No surprise that the restaurant never joined Restaurant Week again.

Went to Fresco's restaurant week offering last night and it was very good. The Butternut Squash Risotto Cake appetizer was special, highly recommeneded. The Roasted Vegetable Salad was also good topped with a very tangy house-made balsamic vinaigrette. I liked having the cold roasted vegetables in the salad.

The roasted vegetables showed up again in my Chicken Fresco entree, which was excellent. I don't often order chicken in a fanicer resataurant, but I was glad I did. My partner also enjoyed her Grilled Norwegian Salmon on top of a tasty Tabbouleh salad. Lots of nice textures and tasts.

My Caramel Cheesecake was the winner in our dessert selections. The good sized slice of cheesecake, topped with slices of bannana brûléed with sugar and caramel, was superb.

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Listen to The Corner Table podcast "Remembering Restaurants," aired December 24, 2020, where Chris and Lindsay talk with us "about the menus and memories left behind when restaurants go away."

Madison Food coverInfo about our book Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine is here, or read it for free thanks to the library - print & ebook.



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