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43 North

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

43 North

Postby kulgar » Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:51 pm

RK reviewed 43 North in the current issue and I must say I agree completely with him. I've had the great good fortune to eat there four times in six weeks, only my idea once, and then friends/coworkers have wanted to try the new menu/decor and no one has been disappointed. One friend who eats out a bit and cooks well said bluntly during dinner, "this is better than (two unnamed upscale downtown spots)". I think part of that was chastising me for sending him to one of them, but I only do brunch there and he had dinner.

I hate overspiced/overpriced where the chef thinks everyone smokes cigarettes, has done too many old fashioneds or likes Buffalo Hot Wings seasoning on every dish. The seasonings are subtle and the price/value equation is possibly the best in town. I didn't have the game hen the last time and am kicking myself because Rafael's review is going to have me back there again simply to have it. I'm on a mission.

I do miss the sublime winter squash, greens and fried egg salad but maybe it'll come back. Even without it there's a great selection of interesting dishes and the wine list now includes a few upscale, celebratory wines that are listed for less than Internet retail. I think they came up the street from the Cocoliquot cellar, reminds me of that list.

The only objection I have to RK's reviews is his continuing to trash the sushi rice at SM. I lived in Japan for four years and the rice is typically fine, it's the protein that is the true test of sushi. Yeah, I'll break down and try his frequently lauded Wasabi rice but I quit going there because of the rice and that CO2 tuna they were selling five years ago. Doubt that he is correct on this, don't know how many times he's eaten in Japan.
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Re: 43 North

Postby city2countrygal » Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:38 pm

I really enjoyed the subtitle: Second life

After reading the article, I’m wondering how gnocchi can be
“slightly too pillowy but still good”? Maybe too heavy or dense,
but I can’t imagine gnocchi too light.

You may have been drooling over the game hen, kulgar, but I was over the short ribs. Yum! And if you like squash, looks like it’s on the dessert menu now.

And your bit about the sushi rice had me searching online for Anthony Bourdain’s quote about the rice being the best part about sushi, but I absolutely could not find it. Anyone remember?
I remembered his visit to Tokyo and his awesome meal (15 courses in 20 min) by Sukiyabashi Jiro, and that was as far as I got. Then I came across a 5 or 6 min clip of the episode and a post that Jiro has a documentary out in March: "Jiro Dreams Of Sushi." That will probably solve the rice vs. protein sushi debate.

http://www.chicagofoodies.com/2011/12/no-reservations-sukiyabashi-jiro-makes-me-dream-of-jiros-dreams-of-sushi.html
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Re: 43 North

Postby TAsunder » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:10 am

Maybe I should go back. I had dinner there shortly after the Magnus chef joined, and brunch not too long ago. The brunch was actually not good. With so many good brunch options around the square, I see no need to go back.

The dinner was good, with some items great. However, I would put it below Restaurant Muramoto, L'Etoile, Nostrano, etc. It was interesting yet somehow not exciting. It reminded me of the feeling I had at North Pond in Chicago (though that place is WAY better than 43 North): I liked it, but I wanted to love it. My favorite part was a tart dessert they had there. I was a huge fan of the Scandinavian fare at Magnus, but the food at 43 N didn't seem to have quite the same gusto at the time. Perhaps Chef Johnson has really settled in and hit his stride by now.

I'm not sure if they are still dabbling in molecular gastronomy but their offerings when I dined there were uninteresting. Then again, I measure all such attempts against Alinea and to call it unfair to measure against that place is an understatement.

I wanted to try the Korean BBQ dinner at 43 North, but didn't get a chance. Did you attend that dinner, kulgar?
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43 North

Postby kulgar » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:08 pm

I went once while Nick Johnson was in transition and it seemed awkward with some old menu items and a few new. I think it's a step upward and, while not L'Etoile (without those prices also), better than the mentioned upscale dining spots.

I did not attend the Korean BBQ. I never cared for it: all that frickin heat right in the middle of the table with the hibachi glowing red, me glowing red from the heat and beer, and then losing track and burning something. Communally cooking over an open flame is so paleolithic, not my thing.

I'm guessing they didn't put a grill in the center of every table and instead cooked it in the kitchen and then served it at your table. I like kim chee but the typical emphasis on beef doesn't excite me. Didn't hear anything about the event, can't help.

If anyone knows how "hibachi", the Japanese charcoal grill, morphed into the word everyone uses for Ginza style teppanyaki, I'd be interested in finding out. What Ginza cooks on is known (and without all that showy bullshit) in Japan as "teppan" (steel) "yaki" (grill or pan fry) but somehow has in the US become "hibachi" which is an open grill, not a solid sheet of steel.
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Re: 43 North

Postby NullDevice » Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:03 pm

Which is funny, as I once went to a "teppanyaki" joint in CA, expecting the big steel fry thing in the middle, and it turned out to be a grill.

I dunno what Kadushin has against Muramoto's sushi, nor why he thinks Wasabi's is so damned good. I've been to both on many occasions and I always find Wasabi's to be...okay, I guess, but nothing to write home about, and while I haven't *always* had spectacular sushi at Muramoto I've had the best sushi I've had in town there.

Makes me wonder if they don't slip an additive into his "buttery scallop maki" that makes him crave it fortnightly.
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Re: 43 North

Postby TAsunder » Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:08 pm

Call me crazy, but I don't understand the appeal of scallops in a maki roll.
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Scallop maki roll?

Postby kulgar » Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:30 pm

At risk of (again) sounding like a complete idiot, are those raw scallops in the maki roll? I've never been a huge fan of shallow water raw seafood, please tell me they are cooked or at least marinated.

I once watched a gaijin eat raw chicken sushi at a crossroads restaurant in the middle of acres (tsubos?) of rice fields and even the Japanese thought he was nuts. He was and just because someone gets away with something a few times, doesn't mean the odds are good.

I promise I'll go to Wasabi in the next two weeks, but with the students gone I'll bet their turnover drops and I will have a biased unfair sample.
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Re: 43 North

Postby david cohen » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:53 pm

One of the best meals I've ever had included fresh-caught raw scallops as sashimi. Big thick fresh scallops sliced in half, these were utterly delicious! They don't work so well in a roll, but as sashimi right off the boat, oh my fucking god:)
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Re: 43 North

Postby Thusnelda » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:57 am

NullDevice wrote:Makes me wonder if they don't slip an additive into his "buttery scallop maki" that makes him crave it fortnightly.


Smartass!
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