By Candice Wagener | Photography by Nicole Franzen
As Madison continues to flourish as a destination city, restaurant owners are excelling at providing ample opportunities for experiences that are new and different, as well as familiar and traditional. The latest restaurants to open up around town are good for everything from date night, to entertaining out-of-town guests, to just grabbing a bite.
THE HARVEY HOUSE
The much-anticipated Harvey House has finally opened. Midwest natives and owners Shaina Robbins Papach and Joe Papach bring legendary dining scene experience from places like Gramercy Tavern, Chez Panisse and The French Laundry.
Located behind Madison’s historic train depot on West Washington Avenue, the ambience harkens to bygone days of supper clubs and train travel, and not a single detail has been overlooked to create a unique fine dining experience.
Appetizers like a relish tray or chicken liver mousse are favorites to start. Next, feast on entrees like the duck, which has elements plucked from an Old Fashioned, including flavors of orange, Door County cherries and a boozy cognac jus. And definitely save room for the grasshopper bar, with mint ice cream and chocolate cookie crunch dipped in a housemade, chocolate magic shell. This destination eatery could just be Madison’s newest special-occasion place. theharveyhouse.com
Housed in the former Forequarter space, Hone offers an inventive menu while still maintaining an atmosphere of a cozy, neighborhood tavern. Start out with the Filipino lumpia: deep- fried spring rolls with novel fillings like corned beef or crab, avocado and chevre. Dinner options include the doner kebab, which is a specialty take on a Turkish classic. Hone’s version includes spiced beef, pickled vegetables, garlic aioli and spicy chili sambal sauce served up in a homemade lefse wrap. If you lean toward seafood, definitely order the shrimp mofongo, served on a bed of plantain mash, topped with crispy pork belly and a side of cucumber ceviche to brighten the dish. honeplated.com
Another welcome addition to Willy Street, Feast special- izes in handmade, artisan dumplings, filled with chef-driven ingredients like black tiger shrimp, Berkshire pork, ribeye and locally-grown carrot and red onion. Dumplings are prepared steamed or pan fried.
While you’re munching on dumplings, level up your experience even more by partaking in the traditional Chinese tea service offered. Their tea menu is extensive, with different flavors of black, oolong, herbal and even an iced berry tea. feastmadison.com
Poke, a Hawaiian dish brimming with fresh vegetables and ocean goodies, is making its mark all over Madison (see: Miko Poke, Poke It Up, Poké Poké, FreshFin Poké and more). Now downtown Middleton has Poke Bar, which opened in May. Diners can build their own bowls, starting with a base of white, purple or brown rice or salad greens, then adding a protein like chicken, octopus or tofu. There’s a whole list of sauces, fresh produce and fun toppings like flying fish roe or kimchi to mix in and make your bowl original.
Too many choices? Order a signature bowl. The Seafood Mix lives up to its name with Ahi tuna, salmon, octopus and shrimp accompanied by a seaweed salad, cucumber, crispy onion, scallions, masago, nori flakes and pickled ginger on a bed of white rice. pokemiddleton.com
THE HOUSE CAFE AND BAKERY
Owner Kaylee Walters is a huge proponent of using local and seasonal ingredients wherever possible, sourcing from purveyors like Parrfection Produce (just down the road in Monticello), Valhalla Hills Farm, Tortilleria Zeped, and Meadowlark Community Mill.
Rotating entrees like the Thai green curry uses local zucchini, Wisconsin mushrooms, non-GMO tofu and onion served with organic brown rice. Even the beverages have local flair, with their own specialty blend of Just Coffee and tea from Telsaan in Mount Horeb. Latte lovers will revel in the variety of flavors, like rose cardamom.
Plan for a Friday or Saturday date night when their featured cocktail menu is available. Find standbys like an Old Fashioned, but also creative offerings like the Hodag, with Stateline Distillery coffee liqueur and vodka topped with oat milk. Even better, share an ice cream and coffee flight for the ultimate indulgence. thehousecafeandbakery.com