Old Fashioned Review

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tina
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Old Fashioned Review

Postby tina » Mon Apr 10, 2006 8:58 pm

We dined at the OF tonight. On Mondays they have 2 for 1 ala carte burgers, which we didn't realize, but good for anyone wanting to eat there cheap. The food was okay. We didn't see or have anything that made us ooh and ahh. The worst part of this place? It is so loud. You know that constant drone and high pitched sound you hear when in a loud, echoing, non-sound proof place? That is the Old Fashioned.

We ordered 2 burgers which were okay. Each of them were missing a sauce. We also ordered the #7 Lazy Susan Platter, at $15.95 a pop. That was a HUGE disappointment. The platter came with small (think no more than a scoop of ice cream size) bowls of: beets, potato salad, red pepper dip, spreadable cheese, 4 deviled eggs, and roasted vegetables. We were not expecting what we got on that platter. We were thinking roasted vegetables would be whole, chunks, etc. What arrived was a small bowl of "chutney" roasted vegetables. The center of the lazy susan is a bowl filled with crusty white bread and RITZ crackers to spread all of this stuff on. Might be fun for a group, but definitely not what we expected.

I am not sure we will go back specifically to eat, other than to stop in for a drink and head out. The menu is unique, I will give them that.

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Postby Shpiker » Tue Apr 11, 2006 9:41 am

tina- are you from Wisconsin originally?

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Postby barney » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:18 am

Shpiker wrote:tina- are you from Wisconsin originally?


I am (& I've got the accent to prove it) and I was disappointed both times I went there. Gave it a second chance because the first visit was during their opening week, but, while the food has improved, the service is still poor. (The presence of backwaiters does not excuse servers from paying attention to customers.)

I don't think it'll be our first choice, but not stricken from the list. They do offer an incredible selection of cheeses. And, they now crumble the cheddar on top of the apple pie, instead of served along side.

My issue is that there's just this condescending vibe - from the staff and fellow patrons. Almost like they're mocking Wisconsin instead of celebrating it or something, I can't quite explain it - but others I've talked to have felt it too.

tina
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Postby tina » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:37 am

Shpiker wrote:tina- are you from Wisconsin originally?


Actually I am. I have seen and eaten the gamut of Wisconsin foods...believe me. I picked out several things on the menuethat were "Wisconsin" traditions and others were a HUGE stretch. How about you? Are you a WI native?

Regarding the platter, it just wasn't as we had hoped...there was a good variety, lots of things to "spread", but the choices to spread ONTO were limited...the bread, in my opinion, was cited as "toast" on the menu. It seemed more like crusty, day old bread. The Ritz, be it that it can be a Wisconsin staple on some pot luck tables, was acceptable. It would have been nice to have carrots or celery or something else to make it complete. Again, for a group, it might be a great choice.

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Postby jjoyce » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:41 am

I've never had a bad experience there and think it's a genuine homage, much the same way Tex Tubb's salutes the Austin, TX taco joint.

That walleye sammy they have is delicious and the bar is perfect in both size and situation.

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Postby Shpiker » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:50 am

That's cool, I was just curious to know the background of the reviewer since the restaurant was designed with the "Wisconsin fare" in mind. I didn't know if it would have anything to do with the review or not, but was simply curious.

I've only been there once and I enjoyed it. I thought the ribs I had were fabulous and the Old Fashioneds were alright. (I tried each one) Although I still prefer a Southern Comfort Old Fashioned...

I would agree with the loudness- its a sparcely adorned, rectangle shaped, brick walled building which equals reverb...

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Postby Shpiker » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:51 am

jjoyce wrote:That walleye sammy they have is delicious and the bar is perfect in both size and situation.


Also- totally agree on the bar size- It was packed when I was there and I didn't have any problem getting a drink. I'll have to try the walleye...

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Postby Michael Patrick » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:53 am

I've only been there for lunch (twice), service was fine and so was the food. Sure, it wasn't L'Etoille, but it was as good if not better than a lot of the other lunch options on and near the Square.

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Postby barney » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:10 am

I've never been there for lunch. Went there for dinner recently and the waitress had three tables that were seated, including ours. It took almost 90 minutes for the meal. Should have taken signal flares. I understand if you're incredibly busy, or have a huge section, but 3 tables and you can't muster the energy to walk over to see if anybody needs anything like wants to order or get the check? But, it wasn't just us - she adequately ignored the other tables too. Not sure if the other tables cared, but I had other stuff to take care of on a weeknight.

Like I said, the food was fine.

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Postby TAsunder » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:18 am

Well, I can say for sure their takeout service is excellent. The food is good lunch fare, not sure it would be good dinner fare. And it is crowded at the normal eating times, the same way the Dane is.

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Postby skrattypants » Tue Apr 11, 2006 12:31 pm

i'm sure the old-fashioned discussion has been done to death, but of one thing i'm sure: there will neverevereverever be one restaurant that everyone loves or even finds satisfactory.

we've had only one piss-poor experience at the OF, and that was a few months ago and food-related--obviously the result of an overwhelmed and understaffed kitchen.

since then, it is an answer to a prayer--conveniently located with a great bar and a menu that offers something for everyone. the sunday chicken is to die for and i've never walked away hungry.

it can be loud, i'll give you that, and if i never heard roger miller again, i'd be a happyskrat. some of the servers can be tiresome--and tony, if you're reading this? "excellent!" is so very done now.

on the whole though, it offers something that the madison dining scene sorely lacked. and with weekend brunch, it now offers it nearly around the clock. besides, where else in town can you get smoked chub? huh? huh!?

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Postby Chuck_Schick » Tue Apr 11, 2006 1:29 pm

SKRATTY!!!

You've got a lotta nerve playing this Haley's Comet bit o' yours.

Come back dammit. Mars needs pants.

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Postby Resnictem » Wed Apr 12, 2006 9:27 am

I have lunch there, and it only takes me a half hour. I like it that you can choose between fries or a nice green side of salad greens to go with your sandwich. But it is too noisy, at any time of day.

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Postby jjoyce » Wed Apr 12, 2006 11:25 am

Some people complain about any place that doesn't provide Five Star service at White Castle prices.

The only place I know of for that is, of course, White Castle.

Thanks to the Old Fashioned, Flatiron, Montmartre and even Brocach, a guy can entertain his out-of-town friends in a uniquely Madison setting that offers nearby adult bar stops, good food, drinks that come in glasses and made by people who know what they're doing.

Those of you who have lived here a little while might remember when the east side of the Square was dead. It no longer is and the places there are well-designed and well executed. It's been my experience that the only reason the Old Fashioned might sometimes suffer in the service department is that it tends to attract more than its share of high maintenance diners.

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Postby barney » Wed Apr 12, 2006 12:39 pm

jjoyce wrote:Some people complain about any place that doesn't provide Five Star service at White Castle prices.

The only place I know of for that is, of course, White Castle.

Thanks to the Old Fashioned, Flatiron, Montmartre and even Brocach, a guy can entertain his out-of-town friends in a uniquely Madison setting that offers nearby adult bar stops, good food, drinks that come in glasses and made by people who know what they're doing.

Those of you who have lived here a little while might remember when the east side of the Square was dead. It no longer is and the places there are well-designed and well executed. It's been my experience that the only reason the Old Fashioned might sometimes suffer in the service department is that it tends to attract more than its share of high maintenance diners.


Apparently I hit a nerve with The Old Fashioned police. We went there on a weeknight at like 8:30, it wasn't that crowded. It took way too fucking long to eat, the waitress was useless. I would testify in a court of law that I am anything but a high maintenance diner; quite the contrary, I feel incredibly guilty if I ask for stuff, I don't like to be difficult - I've worked in food service, I have respect for those who do the job well. (Which is probably why it took so long, we should have been a little more assertive, I guess?) (And, even if someone is "high maintenance," what difference does that make? That gives the staff license?) Yes, I remember when that part of the square was sketchy at best, but White Castle prices? Umm, unless they have $8 grilled cheese at White Castle. All I wanted was the bill and maybe another soda. I didn't want them to hold everything and put half of it on the side after they substituted everything on our split check. Geez.

I'm glad they are in business and buying products from local producers. I'm glad that you have somewhere to take your friends when they come to town. I'm glad that there are more casual dining type places on the square. I'm glad that there is somewhere to get a decent braunschweiger sandwich. I will probably give them another shot, maybe for lunch or carryout, since the food wasn't the issue, but, I had a negative service experience both times I went there; and apparently, it's my fault that I didn't like it, dammit!


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