Wisconsin State Journal listicle: 25 Dishes That Define Madison
Pretty good list! I have some comments.
Graze Burger: It’s a very good burger, but if you go to Graze and either the patty melt or the green chili burger is on the menu, definitely order those, which are truly special. Madison is not a patty melt town — I get mine at Mickie’s Dairy Bar, and they’re good, but you have to like grease, lots and lots of grease. Grazes gets the bread shatteringly crispy without making it greasy, a neat trick.
Ian’s mac and cheese pizza: As a former Ian’s Customer Of the Month (January 2010) it pains me to admit this, but Glass Nickel’s plagiaristic “mac daddy” pizza is better than Ian’s.
Lao Laan-Xang squash curry: The very dish that 2-year-old CJ dumped on the ground, where it was mistaken for vomit!
Mickie’s dairy bar scrambler: I never order this, it’s too big, but this is the dish that CJ always admired the football players for eating when he was 3.
The Old Fashioned’s cheese curds: They are pretty good. But nowhere near the top fried curds in Madison. I have opinions. The best curds in Madison are from the Curd Girl cart. They are little miracles. Light, in a way you do not think a deep-fried and battered sphere of cheese could be. But they are. Second best curds are at Graze. Third best are at Steenbock’s on Orchard, where they’re served with grainy mustard and fried sage. Purists will be annoyed by this, but look, I love mac and cheese pizza, I’m not going to have a problem with sage in my curds.
Parthenon’s gyro sandwich: No. Disgusting. There isn’t a great gyro in Madison. Plaka Taverna is fine. Med Cafe is fine but it’s schwarma.
Plaza’s plazaburger: Just OK. Like Paisan’s, Plaza is strictly for people who went to college here and want nostalgia food.
Stella’s hot and spicy cheese bread: It’s not that spicy and every time you get a bite with no cheese you realize the bread is just not that good. I’d love to see Madison Sourdough or Batch rip off the idea and make a good version.