Resto, Madison - review
I had dinner last night with friends at Resto in Madison and was very impressed. It's tiny, maybe 32 seats and tables are close together. It's BYO, which is a plus and the menu has a french accent. All of us had been to other events, so we weren't ravenous. We shared a red endive (radicchio) and quince salad. It was divine! There was a kind of smokey cheese fondue that you picked up with with a leaf of endive added a few chunks of quince and a carmelized walnut. The combination was fabulous. Two of us ordered the special entree - breast of guinea hen and charcoute garni - a homemade sausage served over braised cabbage and carrots with a nice chunk of bacon. The other order was the for our resident vegetarian - a lovely layered dish of autumn vegetables. Two of us odered the homemade coffee ice-cream that was intensely flavored and almost chewy. I thought th prices were reasonable, before tax - $118.Service was attentive without being fawning. Very nice stemware for the wine. The chef came into the dining room to speak to the guests. Only negative - and its a pet peeve of mine - the server didn't give the price when reciting the specials. I'll be going back!
We dined at Resto last evening and thoroughly enjoyed our experience. The menu entries all looked terrific, making it difficult to choose. But we too had the radicccio and quince salad and concur that it was fabulous. My husband had the pork chop and I had the pork osso bucco special and both were delicious. The sauces are light, fresh and different from the usual fare. Staff was warm, friendly and very knowledgeable but not overbearing. Prices were also reasonable, around a $110 with tax and tip. Spread the word to friends. We need a place like this in Madison.
I dined here with 3 others Dec. 27 (two of which had been to Resto and raved about it). I was so disappointed! The duck confit croquettes had been deep-fried too long and were practically missing the taste of the primary ingredient. Perhaps a duck was boiled in the same oil? The parsnip soup was very creamy and tasty. Pork tenderloin was just OK, but a bit tough and closer to a pork chop which had been trimmed of its fat. The accomanying chestnut stuffing had been over-fried just like the croquettes and was inedible. Others at the table had short ribs (reported as OK) and dorado which was supposedly quite good.
Desserts were the only real high point of the evening.
Service was very attentive, but uninformed. The waitstaff stumbled over basic questions about ingredients, not being able to describe a flat iron steak as more than "a steak that looks like it was pressed with an iron,:" among others.
In all, Resto was nowhere near is lofty price of $60pp as a BYO. The diners who had eaten there 2 months prior were confounded by the deterioration. Maybe we just saw the inconsistency which plagues some young restaurants. I don't plan to test it again until I hear some more recent positive reviews. Perhaps, I would return just for dessert after eating somewhere else.
I too had a lovely dinner at Resto, last month. My impression is that the chef changes his menu often. I love the space and found the staff to be very nice and attentive, and the chef visited the tables during our visit as well. I'm really hoping Resto can make a go of it in these difficult times as it is deserving. My favorite places to dine out tend to be small, warm places with creative yet not fussy dishes. The meal was special however. By the way, this is the same space that Mama Tucci's occupied back in the day, which was a favorite of mine.