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Capital Tap Haus

In a word: One-track brew pub.

The specs: #0679  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Sarah Learns, Best Bloody Mary, Eat Drink Madison, Green & Indie, Fearful Symmetries, Yelp, Isthmus, Madison Magazine, The Badger Herald, madisonFishFry, 77 Square, Madison Beer Review; official web site, Facebook, Capital Tap Haus on Urbanspoon

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Chris ate the fish fry with a Maibock and a blonde doppelbock.
Clint ate the bacon cheddar burger and a couple beers.
JM ate the pulled pork sandwich and a lemonade.
Nichole ate the large Continental Salad with a Supper Club and a Maibock.
Tiffany ate the chicken club sandwich.
We split some cheese curds.
The bill was $86, or $17/person, plus tip.
JM gave Capital Taphaus a B; Tiffany gave Capital Taphaus a B-; Nichole gave Capital Taphaus a C (see our grading rubric).

We visited Capital Tap Haus between candy runs for a Madison Craft Beer Week event, namely the fish fry with Capital's crisp homage to Wisconsin tastes, Supper Club, on special. It seemed mostly like business as usual - there might have been a MCBW poster up, but otherwise nothing to indicate that a special event was going on (and in fact, you can still get the same deal on Friday fish fry with a buck off Supper Club as of this posting weeks later). The place was full but not packed and we enjoyed sitting in the windowed alcove in the back of the venue.

The theme of the night was "excess," mused Tiffany, and so we went for cheese curds as a starter. These were real curds in a crumbly, salty battter, and were quite stretchy. They had a spicy aftertaste too.

Cheese curds

The fries were called "frites" but were not very frittered. Each serving was plentiful but a little underdone and most people didn't finish theirs.

Fish fryChicken sandwich

Chris' fish fry was so flaky and the batter so delicate that each piece tended to fall apart when dipped in the tartar sauce. The coleslaw was good, if plain, and the lettuce-leaf presentation was nice.

Tiffany's chicken club sandwich lacked seasoning. It was basically a lightly-done chicken breast with bacon, mayo, lettuce and tomato on a structurally unsound Italian bun. She deconstructed it and had better luck.

Clint's burger, a photo of which was eaten by our camera again, as run through the rating guide:

  • Bun: toasted white.
  • Meat: handmade, delicious patty.
  • Bun/meat ratio: perfect.
  • Cheese: Good cheddar.
  • Misc.: Thin sliced bacon, decent veggies. At $6.50, you get what you pay for; Clint observed that he would have paid more for a bigger burger.

Continental saladNichole's Continental salad was straightforward: Romaine (with a little dirt still on it), dried cranberries, plain walnuts, and crumbled bleu cheese. Every item seemed to have come right out of a bag without any intermediate steps. The tart vinaigrette was good, though.

JM's pulled pork sandwich featured tender and sweet meat. The good (i.e. small) portion was sufficient on a day of excess, but he was glad he didn't get the frites. A crisp sour pickle beats a handful of greasy fries any day.

Pulled pork sandwich

Capital Tap Haus provides a good deal of food for a good-deal price, in a good-looking bar. That said, it's got big competition in places like Coopers, Graze and Great Dane. If it were harder to find Capital beers on tap, their trade would be better, but the Tap Haus is probably a victim of the beer's success.

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