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Alchemy

Where are you eating and what do you think? What's opening, closing, succeeding, failing?

Postby gargantua » Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:05 am

steveo wrote:Wonders did not have one fern in the place! Than you have to ask yourself what came first the biker bars or wonders?

jjoyce wrote:I wish I lived closer. As I've said before, Madisonians are nothing if not completely and angrily loyal. Alchemy isn't Wonders. To some, it's yuppier or whatever. I guess I don't understand how Wonders, a micro-brew oasis on a block full of biker joints, wasn't a yuppy bar. I mean, the place had ferns!

Alchemy serves good, local food at a really, really good price.


I will confirm what Steve is saying. Ferns came up in another thread several months ago, so I went and looked for myself...no ferns.
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Postby HBK » Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:08 pm

What did I order...

The beef kabobs arrived to the table as follow: bite sized bland, chewy and flavorless. There was grand total of two of them. The two bites were separated by one circle of onion and a piece of green pepper.

Companion had the buffalo burger - also flavorless on thin easily overwhelmed bread. This sandwich was served with watery potato salad.

For a place that boast local, natural/organic ingredients - a real disappointment. I am glad so many enjoy the place. I always like to see local places succeed. I'll find some other local place to spend my Money, like Micky's just down the street
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Postby TheBookPolice » Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:48 pm

The apple-rum burger, much lauded in the Minnich review, is a great burger. The bacon and Cheddar are awesome, but the sweet onion rum relish is too weak. The smokiness of the burger and the bacon overwhelm it. But the bun (fennel, are you listening) is spectacular. A really satisfying burger overall. The BLFT continues to impress.

The table was de-stickified this time, but the bar menu is still illegible in nighttime lighting.
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Postby Oureborus4 » Tue Aug 05, 2008 1:43 pm

I've been to the alchemy a handful of times and have yet to be dissapointed (service was slow the first time I went, but they were polite, and have been great on subsequent visits). Everything I've eaten there was delicious, including the fish fry. Not that big of a beer drinker, but appreciated the selection. Mickey's on the other hand is a place i will never return to. it took almost 2 hours to get my food from the oblivious server, and it was very overcooked. had it been cooked properly i can only imagine it would have been mediocre at best...
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Postby boston_jeff » Tue Aug 05, 2008 2:59 pm

Yeah I like Mickey's as a bar, but the food at Alchemy is pretty damn good. These complaints are largely of the "I hate yuppies/hippies," "I miss the old bar" (even thought there is no discernible difference), and "I think places that serve menu items for 7 bucks are 'pricey.'" In other words much ado about nothing.

The only time I went to Wonders, it was to see some corny country/jammy band and the bar looked exactly the same and was packed with grad students and jags. Now there is some hippie art on the walls and they serve good food. The beers on tap, and the BLT and onion rings are worth going for alone. After i eat and drink a few I'll leave and head over to Mickey's...
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Postby ouroborus4 » Wed Aug 06, 2008 11:21 am

well put
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Postby crevice beatle » Wed Aug 06, 2008 1:19 pm

Well seeing as how this thread getting revived for the moment, I'll throw in a few cents more:

I absolutley love Mickey's as a bar but I just do not get what people find so great about the food - and because it seems to be a reoccuring theme to compare Alchemy and Mickey's, I do not see why so many people I've spoken to prefer to eat at Mickey's. The fries are great, yes...but as a whole it seems that for the same price you get better flavor and more interesting selections at Alchemy.
As a recovering hippie, I could see why some might be turned off by the post 10pm crowd but you still can not deny free music...almost, if not, every single night!
Wonders had a decent fish fry (which I enjoyed but found to be a bit overated) and somewhat of a similiar vibe as The Harmony...yet, I'm not sure what was so unreplaceable about the place that other townies won't let go of. I suppose if I have to ask, I will never know.
By the way, those of you who have had both the fish fry at Wonders and Alchemy, how do they compare?
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Postby GenieU » Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:44 pm

The problem I had with Alchemy actually had to do with the shape of the Hamburger roll-it was too tall and round, not unlike a derby hat setting atop the meat. I mean, I have a Big mouth and I somehow couldn't manage to unhinge and engulf this thing.

I liked the carmelized onions and the wasabi green beans-I also want to like this place pub-gormet that it is trying to be, but I don't know.

Mickeys on the other hand, has this excellent squarish ciabatta, which is a marked step above a squishy fast food bun, but not so hard as to make dining difficult. And the Chili-cheese fries are probably the best I've ever had.
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Postby boston_jeff » Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:52 pm

GenieU wrote:The problem I had with Alchemy actually had to do with the shape of the Hamburger roll-it was too tall and round, not unlike a derby hat setting atop the meat. I mean, I have a Big mouth and I somehow couldn't manage to unhinge and engulf this thing.

I liked the carmelized onions and the wasabi green beans-I also want to like this place pub-gormet that it is trying to be, but I don't know.

Mickeys on the other hand, has this excellent squarish ciabatta, which is a marked step above a squishy fast food bun, but not so hard as to make dining difficult. And the Chili-cheese fries are probably the best I've ever had.


Those chili cheese fries at Mickey's are good (as are the truffle fries). Had my first semi-bad Alchemy experience on Saturday, the food was good, but the service was super slow. Place was slammed, so not really their fault. I will have to remember to show up for late lunch or early dinner next time.
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Postby Doctress Julia » Sat Sep 06, 2008 12:12 am

Brainraid wrote:HBK - how about some details on what you ordered?

3 weeks ago, 3 of us, $30 for 4 beers, dinners and an app. Ample servings and reasonably priced. More than generous portions on the kickass huge onion rings (homemade beer batter and not out of the Sysco freezer bag) plus two very tasty and contrasting sauces. I had the salad with the kalamata vinaigrette, subtle but very good. Friend had the kabobs with the hummus and house-made chimichurri. Wife had the BLT with the fried tomato and the house wedge fries which were some of the better attempts I've had of home-made fries I've had around town.

Beers on tap were a variety of the average local micros plus Rogue Dead Guy and a New Holland(I think) Kolsh, all at $3.50 each, less than you'd pay closer to downtown I would say.

It is noted that we left before the bluegrass band started up so I cannot claim to know their volume.

While I loved and frequented Wonders, the Alchemy does food right and costs less than the Weary or the Harmony. We'll be back.


The only reason the Rogue was 3.50 was because it was happy hour. Usually it is 4.50. The Harmony is still the best place to get food IMHO... blue burger, rare, fried onions pleeeeze....
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Postby banjovee » Wed Sep 10, 2008 3:53 pm

I'm a devoted near East Sider and former Wonder's fan who wants to see Alchemy do well. The food is good and so are beer choices and prices. My beef?
-Music is too loud at dinner time to talk. I mean at 6:00 p.m. Requests to turn it down result in it getting turned down. A little. A couple Fridays ago my wife and I intended to enjoy their fish fry but hung it up after shouting at each other over our first beer and went down the street for Thai. If we want to yell at each other we can do that at home.
Later in the night? Even as early as 8:00 p.m.? I say turn the tunes way up. But what's wrong with wanting a decent conversation with the decent food?
-More bad experience with sound issues. Eight of us there to see an SEC football game a couple Saturdays ago. 2:30 p.m. There were only six other people in the place and it was like we were asking the bartender for a back massage to bring the game sound up and the music down. It never came up higher than the music. No matter how we asked for it.
I love music by the way!
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Postby eriedasch » Thu Sep 11, 2008 11:53 am

banjovee wrote:I'm a devoted near East Sider and former Wonder's fan who wants to see Alchemy do well. The food is good and so are beer choices and prices. My beef?
-Music is too loud at dinner time to talk. I mean at 6:00 p.m. Requests to turn it down result in it getting turned down. A little. A couple Fridays ago my wife and I intended to enjoy their fish fry but hung it up after shouting at each other over our first beer and went down the street for Thai. If we want to yell at each other we can do that at home.
Later in the night? Even as early as 8:00 p.m.? I say turn the tunes way up. But what's wrong with wanting a decent conversation with the decent food?
-More bad experience with sound issues. Eight of us there to see an SEC football game a couple Saturdays ago. 2:30 p.m. There were only six other people in the place and it was like we were asking the bartender for a back massage to bring the game sound up and the music down. It never came up higher than the music. No matter how we asked for it.
I love music by the way!

I ate there for the first time last friday around 8:30p and although the place was loud from being busy with people talking, band loading in, etc. but I did not notice the background music to be overly loud. Not to mention the music they were playing was fairly low-key MMW jazz. And I enjoyed it so much, a group of us went there this past tuesday before the Derek Trucks show at the Majestic. We were there btw. 7:30-8:30p and again I would have to say the music was certainly not loud and getting in the way of conversation. Again it was pretty low - key background music.

I'm wondering if where you sit makes a difference? Both visits I sat at a table near the front door, possibly out of the way of the speakers they have mounted up above on the wall closest to the street.

Regarding turning up the sound for a game the place is not a sports bar and although I noticed they had the Brewers on the big screen on tuesday, the sound was completely off. Just pure speculation, but maybe that is direction from management/ownership to not become a sports bar with TV's blaring sports and have the atmosphere more geared toward music. Most bartenders go with the majority of customers if they care about their tips, but who knows why they would not turn up the game?

My only beef with the place is the stage is so small it prevents my band from playing there.
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Postby banjovee » Thu Sep 11, 2008 12:18 pm

Funny. Our table was right up front on the ear- splitting night we fled for Thai food. Maybe our overall timing has just been bad with loud music but we've visited quite often and it seems consistently and ridiculously loud to us very early in the night. I'm very easy to please music-wise so the kind of music isn't an issue. As far as the sports bar thing goes...

I recognize Alchemy isn't a sports bar. In fact that's why I like it. But my story about the football game encounter for me is more a common sense thing, a judgment call that the bartender blew. Said bartender has eight people keeping the taps trickling and fryers gurgling for what will obviously be a two-hour commitment. He has six others sprinkled about completely oblivious to whatever the the house sound deals out. It's 2:30 in the afternoon. He makes us beg for football sound and still doesn't provide it. Just weird.
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Postby Learned » Thu Sep 11, 2008 1:09 pm

I'm pretty sure I saw ferns at Wonders.
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Postby rrnate » Thu Sep 25, 2008 12:52 pm

I had a very delicious Sierra Nevada Dopplebock on tap at Alchemy last Friday - are there any other places in town that serve such a delicious tap beer?
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