Critiques, Cravings and Conundrums From the Madison Food and Dining Scene
Jul 11, 2010
12:41 PM
Small Dishes

My Two Cents

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
 
UPSCALE RESTAURANT
 
RESTAURANT VIEW
 
BEST RESTAURANT AMBIENCE
 
BEST NEW RESTAURANT
 
BREAKFAST
 
BRUNCH
 
LUNCH
 
OUTDOOR DINING—I’d prefer “Outdoor Eating”, in which case no place is more fun to be at than…
 
BARBECUE
 
BURGERS
 
CARIBBEAN
 
CHINESE—The sameness here is stunning.
None
 
FISH FRY
 
PIZZA
Whole pieThe Roman Candle
By the sliceIan’s     
 
GREASY SPOON
 
INDIAN/NEPALESE—I separated this category—covers way too much territory otherwise!
 
INDIAN
 
NEPALESE
Dobhan          
 
IRISH—Considering what we have, “Irish-themed” would be more appropriate.
 
ITALIAN
Traditional—Osteria Papavero
 
JAPANESE/SUSHI
 
LAOTIAN/VIETNAMESE—Again, I separate them.
           
LAOTION
           
VIETNAMESE
 
THAI/INDONESIAN—This is SO wrong—they have little in common except rice and noodles.
           
THAI
 
INDONESIAN:
Bandung. 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.
 
MEXICAN
La Mestisa
 
SOUTHWESTERN
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.
None
 
NEW ORLEANS/CAJUN
 
SEAFOOD—The heyday of the Blue Marlin past, nothing has really moved in to fill its shoes.
None
 
STEAKHOUSE
 
BAKERY
 
BREW PUB
The Great Dane (Downtown)
 
Finally, categories I would have included:
 
BAR FOOD
 
BISTRO
 
COCKTAIL LOUNGE
 
DESSERTS
 
NEIGHBORHOOD BAR/TAVERN
 
TAPAS/SMALL DISHES
 
VEGETARIAN FRIENDLY

 

Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print Feed Feed

About This Blog

Dan CurdI found my interest in writing by accident. My training and first job was as a graphic designer. Unemployed, the only employment I could find in advertising at that time was as a copywriter. Somehow, I convinced Richard Newman & Associates to hire me. Later I learned they were desperate. Madison has been my home off and on since 1957 (nonstop for the past 31 years). I write about food, which I love. – Dan Curd

Recent Posts

Archives

Feed

Atom Feed Subscribe to the Small Dishes Feed »