Sunday, July 25, 2010


We are kind of conflicted in our review of Sardine. We went during restaurant week so it's hard to say if that gave us a typical experience. Let's start with location- it's wonderful. Overlooks Lake Monona and tucked back behind Machinery Row. In fact, I have NEVER noticed this place before despite biking by on my way to work almost every day. I'm sort of paranoid this is becoming a theme. Oh well.

We made reservations and were seated right away. Turns out our waitress was someone I knew- we took a class together a couple of summers ago. So it seemed that all would go well. Cool building, great location, a meal out together during a busy week. But there were a few bumps along the way. Service was fairly slow- and while glancing about, we realized that all tables had a bread basket and a water carafe- we had none. And we never got any. Ok, ok. I can let that go. But it did take awhile to get our first course- I had a House salad (mixed greens and bibb lettuce, shaved shallots, crispy chickpeas, roasted beets and sieved egg in tarragon champagne vinaigrette). It was nothing short of amazing, especially given the crispy chickpeas and roasted beets. YUM. My faith was renewed again. Though without water or bread it was a leap of faith on my part.

Next course was roasted chicken with balsamic butter sauce, frites, and a petite frisee salad. Bob had the duck breast with aged balsamic vinegar, roasted figs, and summer vegetables. These were received well though I think we both decided mine was a bit better. It may have been too much chicken (a whole half of one) but it was really moist and tender. The duck, we decided, was "ok."

Finally, we got our dessert. I got a vanilla bean and berry pot de creme while Bob ordered a key lime meringue tart with coconut rum sauce and toasted coconut. Bob insists he "won" the dessert round but mine was just so tasty. A custard creme brulee masterpiece. Though I will admit the lime tart was excellent.

After dessert I was feeling fairly positive about Sardine but while our food was good, I'm just not sure we loved it enough to go back. EXCEPT I have just learned they offer a mean brunch on the weekends; we may have to give it one more go just to get a more well rounded experience. And to eat overlooking the lake.

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