>> Friday, August 30, 2013
I don't know how I got to mid-life without finding out that Madison, Wisconsin is such a cool city. A few years ago, Joe and I explored the city while I was exploring graduate schools. I found that it's cosmopolitan, homey, and hip all at the same time. The city circles pretty Lake Mendota and Lake Monona and the University of Wisconsin perches at the lake shore. It's definitely worth a visit.
While we were there, we had dinner at Eno Vino Wine Bar and Bistro, a Wine Spectator recommendation. Located in a strip mall, the restaurant is dark and intimate, decorated in warm colors and clean, modern lines. Since we were there during school break, the restaurant was very quiet. The enormous wine list is displayed on an iPad, and the food list is a mixture of interesting small plates and upscale American dishes.
Because I was celebrating the end of a semester, we started with glasses of Segura Vividas brut cavas wine. We were in the mood to share, so we ordered the baby spinach salad with figs, proscuitto, pistachios, and maple vinegar. It was certainly one of the best plates of the evening.
Next we had the blackened mahi-mahi with mango butter and butternut jicama slaw. Perfectly done, melt-in your-mouth goodness.
Joe loved the lamb cheek sugo with caramelized fennel and feta, and I liked it too, even though I'm not a big fan of lamb. It came with a delicious herbed spaeztle. It's great to start seeing these noodles on restaurant menus!
Our last dish was a portabella mushroom ravioli with port wine cream and brandy-cured foie gras. It was spectacular. If we'd had any room, I would have ordered a second one, but the portions are ample and we were full.
Joe enjoyed a Picos del Montgo Tempranillo, from Spain, and a Sherwood Pinot Noir, from New Zealand. He loved both of them. I was happy with my cavas but glad for a taste out of each of his glasses.
Altogether, it was a wonderful dinner - great food and a nice romantic evening. The only thing that marred it slightly was our server, who had an excess of personality and not enough work to do. He was a little obtrusive, but also knew the menu well and made excellent wine suggestions.
We'd definitely go back again - I've read it gets very lively on the weekends!
Eno Vino Wine Bar and Bistro
601 Junction Rd Suite 9
Madison, Wisconsin 53717
Open every day, 4:00 pm - 12:00 am
Phone (608) 664-9565