Thursday, July 21, 2016

Graze - Madison, WI

We visited Graze on a Wednesday evening while an orchestra played a free concert on the grounds of the Wisconsin Capitol building across the street. When we had difficulty with traffic, then problems finding a parking spot, then saw thousands of people picnicking and milling around the capitol building we figured we would have a long wait. But we got right in without a problem. 
The restaurant was upscale, housed in the U.S. Bank building, and I love the Graze concept. They concentrate on produce from local farms and on grass-fed beef and farms that use rotational grazing. The name speaks to that concept. It was also rated well, no. 3 out of 734 restaurants in Madison. 

I'm a sucker for deviled eggs, even though I am always disappointed when I get them. This was another case-in-point. I ordered the deviled eggs that had smoked paprika aioli. The presentation got my hopes up. The egg yoke mixture looked like fire emanating from a torch and a burnt orange colored dressing, the paprika no doubt, was lava-like at their base. The egg yolk was very creamy, but alas, it and the rest of the egg and dressing were not particularly flavorful. 
I also ordered a roasted beet salad with goat chevre cheese, smoked almonds, berries, mint and a raspberry dijon vinaigrette dressing. Like the deviled eggs, I shared both of these with Judy. The salad was good, but very similar to other roasted beet salads I've had before. There again, I was hoping for something a little more interesting, different. 
Judy struck gold with her order of bibimbap, a Korean dish with tofu, crispy rice, a sunny-side up egg, vegetables and spicy gochujang, a Korean condiment made of red chili, fermented soybean and rice. This dish was fantastic. It was colorful, was full of different textures, was quite spicy and the ingredients all came together well. Among the vegetables, I believe I detected a healthy dose of kimchi, which I love, and the rice was kind of glued together and more solid in a way I'm not familiar with. This is a dish I would order again.  
Moules frites were chili-braised mussels with shaved fennel, a spicy white wine broth and cilantro and fries with aioli (the picture below this). The broth was orange-ish and had a little bite to it. The mussels were a little over-done, not as plump and juicy as I like them. The broth was different than anything I've had in that context before, but I still much prefer the standard garlic broth. I dipped bread (see a picture below) and ordered another piece of bread to soak up the remaining broth which they charged for. 
These fries may be the best fries I've ever eaten. They were golden brown, but not overcooked, and nicely spiced. I could eat them forever. The aioli was also a fabulous addition. Not too long back I got some aioli that was much too lemony. This was perfect. I would come back just for these fries. 
Interesting that at a very nice restaurant like this one my favorite thing would be fries. 

1 comment:

  1. Definitely a hipster place, made even more fun by the enthusiastic crowd outside on the Capitol lawn. I think we were lucky to get a table.