Sweet Home Wisconsin

In a word: Once you figure it out, it rocks.

The specs: #01077  
910 Regent St., 53715
Details at Yelp, Facebook

Latest Sweet Home Wisconsin news and reviews

JM ate the BBQ bacon burger with fries.
Nichole ate the tomato ginger soup, Chicago dog with curds, and a coffee.
The bill was $31, or $15ish/person, plus tip.
JM gave Sweet Home Wisconsin an A-; Nichole gave Sweet Home Wisconsin a B+ (see our grading rubric).

Before we start on the food or the history or whatnot, let's start with the name.  Sweet Home Wisconsin (and this becomes evident within 10 seconds of entering the place) is trying to tie into the classic late blues/early rock tune by Robert John (via Magic Sam via the Blues Brothers) called Sweet Home Chicago.  This is a little weird for a couple of reasons.  One: Sweet Home Wisconsin is trying to be a twist on the Old Fashioned model -- namely the genre of Sconnie dishes done right.  Their twist is that there's a little bit of Chicago on the menu.  [While the band Chicago may spring to mind here, and SHW does use an awful pop music framing structures, there is no reference to '25 or 6 to 4' all the way through to 'Look Away', et Cetera.] But this taste of Chicago just amps up the cognitive dissonance.  You can do the Old Fashioned thing and lean in to Wisconsin cuisine or the Fib's thing and lean in to the Illinois stuff.  But, Chicago dogs at Sweet Home Wisconsin.  All we were was confused for a minute.

Two: While Sweet Home Chicago may the first thing you think of, some might think rather of a different Sweet Home, namely Sweet Home Alabama.  See, Sweet Home Chicago is Sweet Home + CITY while Sweet Home Alabama is Sweet Home + STATE.  Some people may be thinking they're gonna get bratwurst change-ups with fried chicken and grits.  Perhaps you should call it Sweet Home Madison instead to ensure that the pop music you're appropriating lands firmly in the milieu you desire?

Also: A ton of Grateful Dead played during our meal. So much noodling, we thought it was a pasta place.

Now that this whole wandering is out of the way, we can get to the actual food: which, and we don't want to understate this, is really good.

Tomato ginger soup

Nichole sampled their ginger tomato soup and found it very fresh and bright.  The cheese curds, which, let's be honest, are good but are never going to top OSS curds, actually came very close to those pillowy delights. They were light and airy and came with a wide variety of sauce choices.

BBQ burger

JM's BBQ bacon burger was a perfect medium rare and the patty was clearly handmade.  His fries, like all fries, can come plain or with a rub in addition to a sauce.  Nichole got a perfectly made Chicago lacking only the relish that glows in the dark.  This dog did come with relish; it just did not seem to require a hazmat suit. Pretty good dog.

Chicago dog

This location on Regent next to the Greenbush Bar continues to confound with its lack of parking and never quite enough tables (which is only exacerbated now that they have an even fuller bar).  But the management is deeply rooted in this community as well as Madison's restaurant royalty, and the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and not in JM's pop music rants.

Swad

In a word: The subcontinent of Monona.

The specs: #01076  
6007 Monona Dr., Monona 53716
Details at Yelp, official web site, Facebook, Twitter

Latest Swad news and reviews

Griffin, Iona, JM, Miranda, and Nichole all ate at the buffet.
The bill was $13/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole gave Swad an A-; Miranda and Griffin gave Swad a B; Iona gave Swad a C (see our grading rubric).

We had been told that Swad, Monona's contribution to the Indian buffet lunch market, was quite good.  We found it to be so, though there were a lot of things that could stand a revisit or revisioning, depending.

Swad

To start with, one of the nice things about Indian buffets is that our pescatarian friends can usually sample a wide range of the menu.  This was true here, but not a true as it could have been.  Firstly, there were a lot of chicken dishes.  Now, JM, he likes him some chicken, and CTM and the tandoori were very nice, but the presence of chicken (and a couple of goat items) took a lot of the buffet out. And then fish was not great, which led to even more concern from our youngest diner, who primarily gets fish when her family eats Indian.

Swad

The lentil and bean dishes, however, were pretty good and the kulfi was very rich.  Swad has a chaat table which was fun.  There were several desserts and a whole section of relishes, which leads to a combinatoric approach for some diners.

Swad is much bigger than its small entrance in the strip mall indicates, though parking can be an issue especially if La Rosita is having a special day.  Swad seems like a perfectly reasonable addition to the scene, but we wouldn't necessarily drive past Tandoori House, Mirch Masala, Swagat, Maharani, Amber, Dhaba or Minerva to eat there.  Which is just how spoiled we are.

NEWS

Madison Food cover August 21 at the WHS Museum, we're giving a lunchtime talk on Mid-Century Madison Munchies. Come on down!

Info about our book Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine is here, or read it for free thanks to the library - print & ebook.


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