Critiques, Cravings and Conundrums From the Madison Food and Dining Scene
Jul 16, 2010
06:01 PM
Small Dishes

The Best of Restaurant Week

The Best of Restaurant Week

It’s now a much anticipated event observed twice a year: Restaurant Week.  It’s also a genuine bargain and opportunity to sample food at some of the city’s most popular eateries.  Participants offer three-course dinner menus for $25; some offer $15 luncheon menus as well. This promotion held in January and July next takes place in one week—July 25 – 30. In years past, many restaurants—fully booked for the official six days—have added on extra nights in order to accommodate customers. Another sign of its success is, many places around town now offer similar, reduced-price menus on a regular if not weekly basis.   


As part of my own personal indulgence this past January, I put together a fantasy dining itinerary for six days—six lunches and six dinners.  As fun as it was to contemplate, I thought I’d try a more practical approach this July. Here are my top three dinner and lunch selections.




1st Place: Osteria Papavero


Antipasto di pesce (Seafood and shellfish sampler)

Ippoglosso con ratatuglia (Roasted halibut with Genovese-style ratatouille)

Crostata di frutta (Seasonal fruit tart served with homemade ice cream)


2nd Place: Liliana’s


Shrimp Remoulade served on crisp romaine and fresh lemon

Chicken Coq au Vin Blanc en Crepe with radish and pea shoot salad and piquillo pepper coulis

Trio of Truffles: raspberry, amaretto, and peanut butter with fresh fruit and nuts


3rd Place: Eldorado Grill


Stuffed Ancho Chile filled with smoked pork and garnished with sesame vinaigrette, pickled red onions, corn relish and Morita chile oil

Southwest Fish Picatta pan-fried and topped with chipotle and caper lemon butter, avocado salsa and served with black beans and red rice

Lemon Jalapeño Pie




1st Place: Bluephies


Blackened Salmon on crispy plantains with guacamole and pickled corn relish

Fried Chicken with Beer and Bacon Waffles

Strawberry Shortcake


2nd Place: Inka Heritage


Tamales Peruanos (Peruvian-style tamales stuffed with pork, olives and boiled egg; served with Creole sauce)

Aji de pollo (Shredded chicken breast in a creamy yellow pepper sauce; garnished with walnuts, cheese and black olives; and served with white rice and potatoes)

Tres leches


3rd Place: Cabana Room


Watermelon Salad with field greens, feta, asparagus, tomatoes and basil vinaigrette

Mahi Mahi Tacos served with pico de gallo, slaw and sour cream

Chocolate Caramel Pot de Crème with whipped cream and strawberry garnish

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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

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