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Calasan Indonesian Fast Food

Es apulkat (and elbow)Update 7/10/13: Calasan is closed.

In a word: Go, so you can say you liked them before they were cool.

The specs: #0699  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at 77 Square, Quomodocumque, Yellow Book video; listing at Eat Drink Madison; chatter at TDPF; official web site, Calasan Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Latest Calasan news and reviews

JM ate the chicken Ingriss.
Nichole ate the gado gado and an es apulkat.
The bill was $17, or $8.50/person, plus tip.
JM gave Calasan a B; Nichole gave Calasan an A- (see our grading rubric).

Calasan has unique food, an adorable logo, and super-solicitous service. They've redone the space Oliva vacated (having moved next door) by adding brighter light, red and gold wallpaper, and more casual tables. Along with Asia Express and Swagat, we figured Calasan pulls its fair share in making Alicia Ashman Branch one of the more culinarily desirable of the area public libraries to be stationed at. Once we assembled the data, however, we weren't so sure what our favorite library/restaurant neighborhood would be. What's yours?


View Madison-area restaurants & public libraries in a larger map

Side saladAvocados, condensed milk and instant coffee work somehow. So do side salads in cute Winco-style woven wooden bowls, with (slightly bitter tonight) shredded lettuce, romaine, carrot strips and peanut dressing.

Unfortunately, the gado gado entree salad was more of the same, plus tofu, hard-boiled eggs and potatoes - Nichole felt like she should have known better than to order that way, or the menu or server should have taken pains to offer something other than salad as a starter for more salad. At any rate, it was all very filling.

JM's fried chicken was very tasty. A thigh and leg tucked into itself was topped with tomatoes and what looked like sliced onions, but was actually sliced fresh ginger. Holy wakeup call! It was soooo spicy. But delicious, if you love ginger. Both entrees came with a fried crisp or two, sliced cucumber, and red, ripe tomato.

Gado gadoChicken Ingriss

We appreciated the variety on the dinner menu and infer from what we've read that lunch, centered on fast chicken options with mix-and-match sauces, can also be good, though some reviews say it's blander than one would expect.

Comments

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I absolutely love this place! I've never been disappointed and, a couple times, they have offered me something else from the menu to sample when they bring out my food. I keep looking now for excuses to go to the west side of town over a meal time. :-)

Actually there was a restaurant in that space after Oliva and before Calasan: Pollo Inka. Where Calasan is the fast food complement to Bandung, Pollo Inka was the fast food complement to Inka Heritage.

While their pollo a la brasa was more expensive and nowhere near the quality you would find in the DC area, it was the only source in town. For that alone, I'll miss it. Peruvian rotisserie could really take off here if it were downtown and/or more focused on that. I hope someone else gives it a shot.

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