Barnaby’s Cafe

May 26, 2016 § Leave a comment

A modern corner bistro with floor to ceiling windows, with a view of Market Square Park. It’s a lively, sit anywhere atmosphere. The staff is welcoming, friendly, and attentive. Casual attire, great lunch spot. 

Hickory BBQ Burger
A beautiful handmade patty, topped with two seared slices of ham, cheddar cheese, diced red onion and BBQ sauce. The bun maintained integrity to the last bite, a sure indication of quality. A heaping pile of french cut fries filled the plate, with a ramekin of BBQ sauce.

801 Congress St • Houston, TX
Website

The Mission

August 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

The Mission restaurant in Scottsdale. A luxurious, romantic setting with dark wood and rustic furnishings with glittering chandeliers and glass fixtures. It’s a beautiful atmosphere. Any pretension evaporates with the warm greetings and friendliness of the staff. Expect to spend the time to enjoy your experience. And in case you can’t get enough, the chef has two other restaurants in Scottsdale, Zinc Bistro and The House Brasserie.

Tableside Guacamole
Chunky haas avocado, jalapeño red onion, fresh garlic, sea salt, lime, tomatoes, chipotle puree, cilantro, cotija & roasted pepitas

Duck Carnitas Empanada 
Duck confit, foie gras, orange habanero glaze, oregano, mushroom & queso Oaxaca

Roast Corn Gordita
Roasted corn, squash, zucchini, mushroom, gordita & huitlacoche crema

Chorizo Porchetta
Pork shoulder, house made chorizo, rosemary, cotija, white bean puree & sweet garlic crema

Poblano Grits
Tennessee grits, poblano & horseradish

Pumpkin Bread Pudding 
Pumpkin bread pudding, scotch, pepitas & pomegranate

Guatamelan Chocolate Pastilla 
XO tequila, fig and guajillo glaze, tres leches ice cream & spicy cocoa nibs

Website

The Spot

August 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

Cozy and just right on the commercial middle of Johnson St. It’s a small local joint, with big booths that scream “comfort”. The staff is friendly and personable. This is an easy place to go for an impulsive night out, or a regular go-to Spot.

Grilled Salmon
Delicious sweet bourbon glazed salmon, cooked to perfection.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
Whatever you do, stay for dessert and order anything off the menu.

827 E Johnson St • Madison, WI
Website

Oliver’s Public House

January 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

Upscale casual, this new farm-to-table restaurant is a refreshing addition to dining on the near-West side of Madison. It is everything you want farm-to-table to be: creative, casual atmosphere, craft cocktails, an accessible menu that makes you drool. The wait staff is friendly and well informed. The atmosphere is lively but not too loud. I’m definitely bringing people here.

House on the Rock cocktail
Scotch whiskey, lemon juice, honey, ginger syrup, Bittercube bolivar bitters. This is a full flavored blend of citrus and sweet with a kick. The rest of the cocktail menu is just as inventive.

Shrimp and Scallops as an entree
The most perfectly cooked scallops that I’ve had in years. This dish is orgasmically good. Someone at the table must order this.

2540 University Ave • Madison, WI
Website

Fore Quarter

October 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

Tucked in the artsy heart of Johnson Street, this local hotspot is a project of the Underground Kitchen collective. There’s no sign, just follow your nose. It’s a rustic, casual place with serious food. Go early, there’s always a line. Enjoy a beverage at the Caribou across the street while you wait for your table.

Seasonal Menu
The menu changes too frequently to recommend a specific dish, so I’ll recommend all of them. The cheese platter features an amazing local selection. Everything I’ve had has been out of this world. This is a must-try for people who enjoy food.

708 E. Johnson • Madison, WI • 53703
Website

Malai Marke

July 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Crisp, clean and stylish without pretense, one of the only restaurants open for lunch on Indian Row, this is a welcoming oasis from the bustle of the city. The sleek dark wood furniture is complimented by tasteful pieces of dark wood artifacts from the homeland. The staff is friendly and service prompt without feeling rushed.

Saag Paneer
My all-time favorite Indian dish, this is my litmus test of Indian restaurants. This preparation might be my all time favorite, so far. What ever the secret ingredient (I asked without success) in the spinach made it creamy and addicting without being rich. The paneer was firm, dense, and flavorful, the way paneer ought to be. The next time I’m in New York, I’m coming back for this dish.

318 E 6th Street • New York, NY • 10003
Hours: Lunch Mon-Thu 12-3pm • Fri-Sun 12-4pm • Dinner Mon-Thu 5-11pm • Fri-Sat 4-12am • Sun 4-10pm

Website

Destihl Restaurant and Brew Works

June 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

Nice looking, brushed steel and dark wood restaurant with easy access to the freeway.  From Interstate 74, take the Neil St exit and head south.  There’s a meter parking lot across the street.  The atmosphere is pleasant and relaxing, a modern business lunch place without the need for a suit jacket.  Brew barrels line the entry, and the steel vats gleam behind clear glass walls.  A chic glass-tiled host station greets you and a rough stone wall ushers you to the restaurant floor.  

Bison Burger
Completely delicious, lean bison surrounded by fresh lettuce, tomato and a thick bun.  It was perfect, not dry!  What I love about bison is that it doesn’t have the fat taste of beef, and this burger was no exception.  It comes with fries, but I opted for a side salad with the house dressing- a garlic vinaigrette.  It was a satisfying combination and well portioned.

My one complaint is the service.  There is one server who takes the order, one who brings the food without direction, and many who wander the restaurant without the initiative to look to see what customers might need. We were not checked upon, water was not refilled and no dessert or check offered well after our plates were clean.  The restaurant was not full, and I felt neglected.  It’s unfortunate for such a fine establishment to be hamstrung by this fault. The food is excellent and I would come back if the experience was better.

301 N. Neil Street • Champaign,IL • 61820
Hours: Monday – Thursday 11am to 10pm • Friday – Saturday 11am to 12am • Sunday 10am to 9pm

Website

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