J and I had a date night last Saturday and tried a new-to-us restaurant on Lake Monona, Sardine. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect about this place since I never hear people talk about it as one of the Madison “hot spots” for restaurants, but the menu sure looked enticing. (Although you’d think it would be on everyone’s list considering how packed it was…I’m glad we made a reservation!) The restaurant has an open, bistro-style atmosphere with a bar as you enter and tables in the back. There are a few small tables along the waterfront, but the main dining area is in the back, away from the water. We got to the restaurant a half hour before our reservation, so we sat at the bar and had a drink. (and lucky for you, we brought our camera along this time!)
We each had one of these. They were yummy.
Once seated at our table we ordered an hors d’oeuvre ( Charcuterie plate soprasetta, prosciutto, saucisson, duck liver mousse, crostini and cornichons) and a bottle of the house red. The charcuterie plate was fabulous (although they were very skimpy with the crostini…only 4 arrived on our plate with an abundance of meats and spreads) and I was surprised that I liked the duck liver mousse so much.
Our salads were scrumptious. It wasn’t a regular salad on the menu, it was one of the specials our waitress mentioned. It had roasted beets of various colors and a crostini with goat cheese.
Next up…our entrees. I had the sole (Pan-seared sole, sauté of new potatoes, summer squash, bacon lardons and wilted spinach) and J had the salmon (Grilled salmon over French lentils with sautéed spinach, portobello mushroom, tomato and beurre blanc). Both were very good, although I felt like they weren’t spectacular. After a great lead-up with the hours d’oeuvre and salad, we were slightly disappointed with the entrees.
Any blah-ness we felt about our entrees quickly vanished when we looked at the dessert menu. We each ordered an espresso, I got the creme brulee and J got a chocolate ganache cake.
We were surprised when our espressos arrived without our desserts, and wanting to savor the two together, we waited a bit before downing the hot cup of deliciousness before us. After about 5 minutes and still no sign of dessert, we decided to go ahead and drink the espresso before it got too cold. Once our desserts arrived (finally!) we each ordered another espresso, you know, to go with our desserts. Kind of irritating, but we didn’t put up a fuss. My creme brulee was fantastic, rich and creamy…yummy! I didn’t taste J’s chocolate wedge, but it looked devine.
Well, there you have it folks, another restaurant down in our quest to eat our way through Madison. I give Sardine 4 out of 5 wine bottles.
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