My Two Cents
Lists have been around seemingly forever. I’m not talking about the mundane to-do or to-buy lists we make out everyday; I’m referring to the popularity lists—like Billboard’s Top 100 Songs and the Fortune 500. As the internet has become the primary source of news for many, rating anything and everything has exploded. I have to admit, like so many other people, I’m addicted to these compellations. In the past 24 hours, I’ve checked out the Top Ten U.S. Hotels, the Seven Healthiest Breakfast Cereals and Twenty-Five Novels You Can Read on the Beach Without Embarrassing Yourself. Of course, I’m curious to see how the choices—whether by experts or public poll—stack up against my own. They rarely do of course.
Madison Magazine’s Best of Madison
has become an iconic list locally, rating all manner of people, places and things. In fair disclosure, I have nothing to do with this annual project (and after reading this, I’m sure my editor will want to keep it that way). Since I do mostly write about food and restaurants, this category always piques my interest. Some of the winners—though they wouldn’t be my
choice—are understandable just because of their widespread reputation and longevity. Others can perplex me. I suspect that some people participating in the survey aren’t all that much interested in this category. Nonetheless, they feel obligated to fill in every blank, and subsequently write the first restaurant that pops into their head. Seemingly, they don’t eat out much. Everyone, of course, is entitled to his or her own opinion, including me.
If I’d been allowed to fudge the results, here would be my 2010 Best of Madison restaurant list. I limited myself to first place picks—that will get me into enough trouble as it is.
BEST RESTAURANT AMBIENCE
BEST NEW RESTAURANT
OUTDOOR DINING—I’d prefer “Outdoor Eating”, in which case no place is more fun to be at than…
CHINESE—The sameness here is stunning.
INDIAN/NEPALESE—I separated this category—covers way too much territory otherwise!
IRISH—Considering what we have, “Irish-themed” would be more appropriate.
LAOTIAN/VIETNAMESE—Again, I separate them.
THAI/INDONESIAN—This is SO wrong—they have little in common except rice and noodles.
. Okay, they’re the only Indonesian Restaurant in Madison—probably the whole state, but even if there were a dozen more, I still suspect they’d win hands down.
MEDITERRANEAN—I hate this category! Are we talking about French? Italian? Greek? Turkish? North African? Any cuisine so vaguely defined isn’t worth consideration.
MEXICAN/SOUTHWESTERN—There have to be enough Mexican restaurants for them to have their own category.
Eldorado Grill. True, outside of the chains and Eldorado spinoffs—Texas Tub’s Tacos—they don’t have much competition, but they’re still worth mentioning
MIDDLE EASTERN—What Madison needs is a good Lebanese or Turkish restaurant. What we have too much of is a mishmash of timid offerings.
SEAFOOD—The heyday of the Blue Marlin past, nothing has really moved in to fill its shoes.
Finally, categories I would have included: