Madison Report: A Pig In A Fur Coat, Brasserie V, Monty's, Gail Ambrosius
Enjoyed some lovely food on my recent trip thanks to advice I got here. Thank you!
I'll start off with the one miss, a place not mentioned on here. My sister-in-law thought I would enjoy a casual meal at Monty's Blue Plate Diner. The Chicken Pot Pie I ordered was a leaden mess. The crust was soggy and the filling was pasty, as was the scoop of mashed potatoes. Total paste and waste.
Across from Monty's, my SIL brought me to Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier. Wow! Seriously good chocolates, especially the salted caramels. Brought some home to my husband.
Enjoyed a ladies lunch at Brasserie V with my SIL, and aging mom who uses a walker. Staff very accommodating. Mom loved fresh mussels and crispy frites. I enjoyed a bowl of smoked turkey and rice soup, rich and flavorful with a light smoky overtone. SIL had a tasty Grilled Cheese with Apple Sandwich. Great beer list plus they have fruit lambics, my favorite. I ordered a bottle of Lindeman's Framboise (Raspberry) for the ladies who had never had lambics before. But the way they guzzled it, I think they will be enjoying it more often.
My mom and I had a very enjoyable meal at A Pig In A Fur Coat. Because I had been warned about potential long lines and communal tables, I was not sure it would be a good spot for a person using a walker (Bunky's was my back up). By going early at 4 p.m, when they first opened, on a weekday (Tuesday) we got a two-top, and were only the second party there, so we got great attention. Our server, a young lady with short dark hair, answered my countless questions with a smile on her face.
Our dishes, all shared:
Rabbit Rillette with pistachios and pickled cherries: Ramekin of dense pâté-like chopped rabbit with a layer of fat at the top to be stirred in. We really liked this. Spread on a crostini with a pickled cherry, it was a wonderful VERY VERY RICH bite to start off our meal. I was happy with just one crostini (we had a lot more food coming), mom had two and we barely made a dent in the rillette (I did manage to scarf down all the cherries though). This could easily serve four as an opening bite.
Meatballs with bone marrow and bread crumbs: Three moist, tender, decadent, meatballs. Veal was the base, and the marrow added an unctuous fatty richness I never experienced in a simple meatball before. Had they been served with fresh chopped tomatoes, or something acidic, I would have been in heaven. But they weren't and I was starting to feel a bit overwhelmed at the sumptuousness of our dishes.
Lamb Carpaccio with corn shoots, egg yolk, salsa verde: Mom's favorite. She loved breaking the egg yolk over the meat and corn shoots. I liked it too. But now I was suffering from palate fatigue. Everything was good, but very rich. I looked at the menu to see if there was a simple salad, raw veggies, or fruit I could munch on, but no.
Pappardelle Bolognese with ricotta and parmigiano reggiano: Our last main course. When it arrived, I didn't want it. The thought of one more savory, very rich bite, wasn't working for me. I dug in anyway. Sooo good. Fresh-made melt in your mouth pasta with real Bolognese sauce, brown and meaty with just an occasional fleck of chopped tomato. It was so delicious. I wish I had just ordered that and nothing else, so I could really enjoy it.
You would think that would be the end of our meal, and we would just undo our belts and waddle out of there, but no, I had to order dessert. I doubt I'll ever be back so I wanted to finish in style.
There were three dessert offerings, and I attempted to go light with the Panna Cotta with orange, brandy, cherry, and shortbread. I had no room left but managed to enjoy almost half the creamy panna cotta with shortbread crumbs, and delicious sour cherries. A winner all the way.
If you like rich food and aren't intimidated by the small plates concept of dining, give A Pig In A Fur Coat a whirl.
Side note about "Pig": Upon leaving, there was a torrential downpour (some streets in Madison were flooded). The chef escorted my mom to our car (while I put the walker in the trunk) using his own umbrella. I can't say enough about the courteous service we received. It was a special meal for us on a personal level and we had a very nice experience.
PHOTOS: Top — Gail Ambrosius Chocolates, Chicken Pot Pie at Monty's (Avoid that dish), Mussels at Brasserie V, At A Pig In A Fur Coat - Rabbit Rillette, Meatballs, Lamb Carpaccio, Pappardelle Bolognese, Panna Cotta.
I have better memories of the chicken pot pie at my Jr. High cafeteria, than your picture portrays.
If I should ever get to Madison again, I know where to head. Thank You.
I'm late to the party, but wanted to say what a great review that was. We are hoping to catch the Pig open when we are in Madison around Christmas. I was a little scared it would be super rich/meaty...but I have to try it anyway!
I'm sorry to hear you had such a bad experience at Monty's. My husband and I go there almost weekly for breakfast, which they serve all day. As a New Jersey native, all-day breakfast is practically a way of life and it's not common in Madison. But, anyway, I digress. I know you probably won't go back, but I wanted to put in a good word for Monty's breakfast, which we really enjoy. Their yeasted doughnuts are great, too.