A Food Full Circle At Blue Marlin

A city seafood favorite talks fresh fish and innovative changes in their menu

Reaching back to our collective roots is a huge movement right now in the restaurant world—Madison eateries are promising from-our-backyard ingredients, pre-Prohibition cocktails and even community dining tables.

Tucked in a late-1800s building that (ironically) was first opened as a meat and seafood market is the 45-seat restaurant, The Blue Marlin. Here in the landlocked Midwest, diners might wonder where the seafood comes from since the restaurant serves blue marlin, ahi tuna, salmon, scallops and mahi mahi. Owner Chuck Taylor (former owner of the Flamingo) works with two Milwaukee purveyors that deliver the product six days a week.

“Everything is fresh—I’ve invited customers to come back and smell the seafood!” remarks Taylor. “We change the menu every 2–3 months when certain fish and shellfish go out of season.” This month look for softshell crab—which will go out of season at the end of the month—as well as Canadian and Alaskan salmon, halibut and walleye.

Because it’s primarily known as an upscale dining destination, the adage “innovate or die” holds true here, and Taylor says some major shifts in the menu have included small plates, sub-$20 entrees and, of course, continuing to use local merchants—among them Maggie’s Farm for berries, Rushing Waters for trout and the farmers’ market—to shake up the usual “meat, starch, veggie” formula.

It seems that diners approve (see our Best of Madison winners), and over the years the restaurant has developed a loyal fan following. And what’s more time-tested than that?

The Blue Marlin, 101 N. Hamilton St. 255-2255. thebluemarlin.net

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