Brocach #restaurantweek meal peaked at appetizers

Brocach on the square
Brocach on the square

To kick off this winter’s Madison Magazine Restaurant Week I headed to the Capitol Square with a friend on a Sunday night that already had one bad thing against it — the Packers lost in overtime to the Seahawks in the third round of the playoffs. While the Packers were giving their Superbowl spot to the Seahawks, I was driving to Brocach on the square for a three-course Restaurant Week meal.

Brocach scotch egg
Brocach scotch egg

Before our Restaurant Week courses started I wanted to try their version of the Scotch egg because the one at Cooper’s Tavern was so good. Brocach’s Scotch egg was not as good as Cooper’s Tavern. The biggest problem was the thick batter covering the egg and sausage. The batter was lacking any distinct flavor and so was the sausage. It’s hard to mess up a sausage-wrapped hard-boiled egg, but this one wasn’t great. The pickled vegetables were forgettable.

brocach croquettes
Brocach croquettes

The single best part of the meal  came next — the potato croquettes with aged cheddar sauce. Both of us got the croquettes and both of us loved them. The three golf-ball-sized croquettes were perfectly warm and soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. And the aged cheddar sauced was so good I could have licked my plate…I didn’t, but I did wipe it up with my finger — you know, to try and keep is classy!

Brocach salmon
Brocach salmon

That’s when the meal went down hill. I got the salmon which was crispy, but needed some sort of seasoning and the salad was literally two sprigs of greens. The tangy dressing was good, but considering how cheap greens are I was expecting the salad to be a bit bigger. The puree on the bottom was sweeter than I was expecting (and I don’t remember what it was made of), but it went well with the unseasoned salmon.

Brocach pork belly
Brocach pork belly

My friend got the pork belly and I got to eat the brussel sprouts that came with it. The sprouts were fine…I’ve had better and I’ve had worse. Her pork belly came with a similar sweet puree under it (did they use the same puree for two Restaurant Week dishes?) and sliced apples on top. It was an interesting dish, but not good enough to bring me back.

Brocach flourless chocolate cake
Brocach flourless chocolate cake

The dessert options sounded promising, but they were pretty disappointing. I got the flourless chocolate cake, which was harder than fudge and was almost — brace yourselves — too chocolatey. It was so chocolatey, it was bitter. The berry sauce tasted like bitter, watered-down jam.

Brocach mint sundae
Brocach mint sundae

My friend got the mint sundae, which was mint ice cream that came with a shot of Bailey’s you were supposed to pour over the top. I think she liked it, but I say it should have had some hot fudge on it too. FOOD NOTES: Brocach has been on my “places to eat list” for quite a while and now it’s headed to my “places to avoid list.” The Restaurant Week meal wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. The croquettes were pretty great, but the entrees were OK and the desserts were disappointing. Maybe the negative feelings of the Packers’ season ending loss to the Seahawks influenced the dinner…or maybe Brocach just isn’t that great.

Wisconsin food done right at Quivey’s Grove

Quivey's Grove
Quivey’s Grove

Stop No. 2 on my Winter 2014 Restaurant Week itinerary was Quivey’s Grove Stable Grill for lunch. Quivey’s Grove has two stand-alone dining rooms – the Stable Grill and the fancier Stone House. The Stable Grill has a rustic bar and a dining room with winding and connected staircases going up to a couple different levels. It’s a very interesting building, and the extensive use of barn wood makes the whole place feel very welcoming and homey. Because of the crazy amount of steps I congratulate all waitstaff on their work! Our waitress was very nice, fast and efficient.

Quivey's Grove sausage sampler
Quivey’s Grove sausage sampler

Generally there are multiple things on restaurant week menus that I want to try so I usually suggest the person I go to dinner with and I split everything. At Quivey’s Grove my mom and I did just that! For appetizers we got the sausage sampler that had grilled Bavaria sausage, cherry kraut and cheddar sauce. I’m a big fan of Bavaria sausage and grilling it just made it better. The kraut was perfectly sweet and sour, and the cheddar sauce was so good I kept it for my french fries that came with my entree!

Quivey's Grove tomato bisque
Quivey’s Grove tomato bisque

We also got the tomato bisque. The soup was good. I had chunks of tomato and carrots in it, but the flavor was nothing special. The thing that made the dish special was the grilled cheese crouton. When I read that on the menu I was expecting a couple small, crunchy pieces of bread with cheese on top. But instead what we got was an actual mini grilled cheese sandwich! It was two small pieces of crunchy baguette bread with a nice amount of cheese in the middle! A mini grilled cheese sandwich floating on top of tomato soup – what a cute idea!

Quivey's Grove fish fry
Quivey’s Grove fish fry
Quivey's Grove cheeseburger
Quivey’s Grove cheeseburger

For entrees we got the cheeseburger and the fish fry. The cheeseburger came with fried onions, bacon, mayo and barbecue sauce on top. It was a very large burger, and the ingredients were quality. My fish fry was excellent and a huge serving. The beer batter on the two pieces of whitefish was the perfect consistency and had a great flavor that wasn’t overpowered by the beer. The three pretzel-crusted pieces of perch tasted like super sophisticated versions of fish sticks. I loved them! The basket also came with french fries that were made even better by the cheddar sauce from my appetizer!

Quivey's Grove turtle pie
Quivey’s Grove turtle pie
Quivey's Grove hot fudge brownie
Quivey’s Grove hot fudge brownie

There were three options for dessert: turtle pie, caramel apple steamed pudding and a hot fudge brownie sundae. The hot fudge brownie sundae was simple but good. The brownie was chocolatey and chewy, and the ice cream was great with the hot fudge. It was definitely the perfect ending to a good Wisconsin meal. The turtle pie was huge. It was basically a caramel pecan pie with a lot of bavarian chocolate cream on top. It was good but very sweet.

Quivey's Grove Stable Grill
Quivey’s Grove Stable Grill

FOOD NOTES: I have zero complaints about my Restaurant Week meal at Quivey’s Grove Stable Grill. The appetizers were clever and extremely tasty. The entrees had quality and quantity going for them, and I absolutely loved the pretzel crusted fish! The desserts were unapologetically simple, just the way I like desserts!I definitely hope to go back again for their regular menu!