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#1
Posted April 23rd 2008, 5:39pm
Does anybody know if Mado opened yet? It looks like a promising new addition.
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#2
Posted April 23rd 2008, 5:48pm
Shobadew wrote:Does anybody know if Mado opened yet? It looks like a promising new addition.

Where is Mado, what type of food and what makes it promising?
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Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

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#3
Posted April 23rd 2008, 5:50pm
Mado is in the old Barcello's space in Bucktown. I believe they were supposed to open last week.

Mado
1647 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
773-342-2340
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-Josh

I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
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#4
Posted April 23rd 2008, 5:58pm
They opened. I ate there. The service was fantastic and the passion for seasonal, local ingredients is inspiring. The cooking gets more mixed reviews, but I'll be happy to go again see if smoothes out over time. Had a terrific, simple roast chicken, and some excellent grilled ramps. But the sides were under and overcooked.

Mado
1647 N. Milwaukee Ave.
(between Caton St & Concord Pl)
(773) 342-2340
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#5
Posted April 23rd 2008, 6:24pm
LTHer Michael Nagrant profiled the folks behind Mado here (originally/also in New City Chicago, I believe).
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#6
Posted April 24th 2008, 2:05pm
Here is the article from New City.

I ate there last Tuesday. It had only opened the Tuesday prior, but things were good just the same. As mentioned before, the service was exceptionally friendly, relaxed and solid. I can't think of any problems worth mentioning, really. But maybe because it had only been open a week, I don't think they had received their full order of wine glasses -- our table had a couple of different types of glasses. We could not have cared less, but others might (mado is currently BYO, with a liquor license pending).

As for the food, it was generally good. With the recent influx of Lincoln Park-esque restaurant/bars like The Foundry (or Boundary?) on Division, or Fifty/50 (and please, no need to remind me that Wicker Park has been a victim of Lincoln Park-ification for years already), it's nice to see a relatively straightforward, gimmick-free restaurant. One friend had the lamb which was over-cooked but still tasty. I had the taglietalle with cauliflower which was decent -- it could have benefited from a little more extra-virgin olive oil or cheese, but whatever. Another friend made a dinner out of their olive-oil poached tuna (which also seemed over-cooked) and tortellini soup, and found both enjoyable. And the other person had the trout -- served with the head still attached -- which was also good.

While the food all tasted pretty good, the prices seemed maybe a little high -- all entrees are at the $15-18 range. I applaud their focus on local/seasonal/organic/blah blah blah, but you don't get a lot for that much. The lamb, maybe 6-8 oz., was served sliced on a plate. With nothing else (the sides that come with entrees -- see below -- are served on a separate plate). It looked a little lonely and, honestly, not very appetizing. Nothing looked especially exciting on the plate.

The way that the menu has been set up proved a little confusing. There are bruschetta, anti-pasti, cured meats, seafood apps, hot apps, and entrees. Each entree comes with a side, a choice of which is available (our night it was polenta, garlic potatoes or a small salad, I think). And the sides are also available ala carte. I would much prefer to see two listings: small plates and large plates. Also, ditch the choice of sides for the entrees and just include one, ditching the additional plate, as well.

Desserts were a real highlight -- we had considered trying Starfruit, but I'm glad we stayed at mado. We had their rhubarb fool with an anise pizelle (which immediately reminded my friend of his grandmother -- a good sign, IMO), their dates with coffee and buffalo ricotta (excellent) and a piece of chocolate tarte (a good dose of bittersweet chocolate goodness here). I ordered a piece of cheese -- a goat cheese with a line of paprika in the middle. Each item was $6. One service-related issue that comes to mind now -- when I was served the cheese, I received a knife but no fork. I didn't know if I was expected to eat the cheese directly from the knife, but I asked for a fork and it was completely fine. But I thought it was a little odd just the same.

The room looks nice -- two walls of exposed brick, nice lighting throughout, a decent sized bar in the corner, etc. The tables have a cheap-looking laminate, but whatever. Save the money for the food.

I do think mado has a lot of promise. I'd like to see a couple of $10 options that bridge the gap between small and large plates. I think there had been a mention of panini on the menu in Nagrant's articles -- I hope they show up once the restaurant has been open a little longer. Also, if the savory can start upping the ante and looking as good as they taste, that would be good, too. But it's been open only a week -- I think the chefs/owners are doing pretty well, considering.
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#7
Posted April 29th 2008, 1:43pm
The wife and I ate there last week and it was pretty good. I'll second the opinion that it's a bit pricey and the menu is a bit confusing. The "smaller" plates/appetizers, were about $5-8 a piece but were really small. For instance, my wife ordered white bean bruschetta, for I believe, $5 or $6, and it was one piece of toasted Italian bread with white beans and rosemary. She also ordered a small plate of local lettuce, for $5 and it was about 5 pieces of red leaf lettuce with lemon juice and olive oil. I had a crustini of guanciale - three pieces of small baguette, sliced on a bias with two thin slices of guanciale on each - I believe it was around $8 and a slice of ramp frittata for about $5 or $6. For the main course, I ordered an $18 hanger steak that came with blue cheese polenta and a side (roasted potatoes with rosemary). The steak was about 6 oz., sliced and nicely prepared. My wife ordered the small plate of hand made tagliatelle (with a ramp green pesto) for her main course - $8 and a bit undercooked. Our total was $50 without any drinks (tap water), since they are still a BYOB.

The food was of a nice quality and was prepared well but a bit on the small side for the price. We had an early dinner and left a bit on the "still hungry" side - which is fine, since I don't need to stuff myself every time I go out to eat. I would have liked to have paid about 10-20% less for what we ate or get 10-20% more food (mostly the steak and the lettuce dishes) but it's fine. I think it may be a great spot to grab a really light lunch or dinner or feel good about eating "locally" but I'm not sure I'd recommend to big eaters. I think another poster made a good point about how it would be nice to see a couple of $10 options.
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#8
Posted May 2nd 2008, 9:01am
Well, this is a pretty likable place: I'd advise going soon before the good reviews come in. Vettel is sure to like it, and even Bruno might be able to put together a coherent, grammatically correct sentence about it.

There's been some complaints about portion size, which I understand, but I essentially ordered the same amount of food here last night as I did last week at Mercat, and the latter cost $20 more (though I did get an amuse and petit fours). While the portions are economical, I did have four courses at $27, which I didn't think was all that bad of a deal; Carneceria Leon is jut a short walk away for a nightcap, anyway.

Food definitely has promise, and I think the restaurant will continue to evolve as more produce comes into season. The menu is sprawling, but very simple: only my dessert had more than three components to it. I didn't find it all that tricky; if you've been to Craft before, the divisions will be familiar.

I ate:

-Fluke crudo with grapefruit chunks and pepper oil: Pretty basic equation: thinly cut raw fish + citrus + little heat = simple, refreshing starter. Nothing earth-shattering, but good. The cook/owner came out to talk to me about it: I learned I was the first to order the dish, which got me thinking about probability and permutations (given the hundreds of people who dined before me, it seems odd that I was the first, but oh well...)

-tagliatelle with ramp leaf pesto and pecorino: pasta was clearly homemade and had a great chew to it. Ramp leaf pesto read somewhat better on menu than tasted, but the dish grew on me, even if it was a bit salty. My guess is that this dish will be gone within the next week or so.

-Wood-grilled hen of the woods mushrooms w/olive oil: best thing I ate all evening. This was just a fantastic product and they knew to leave it alone.

-Dates with buffalo ricotta, walnuts, and coffee essence: The dessert menu was novel and fascinating, as was this item, which was probably the most savory dish I had all evening. Nice balance of textures here.

Service was efficient but aloof; my waitress did not know the menu and told surrounding tables that everything was great and repeated "I couldn't decide" when asked for a rec. They were playing zone defense tonight, with the pastry chef/owner playing hostess, food runner, and cook. I got there during a lull, so my food came quickly, but my guess is that when they're jammed--and they were making couples wait once the restaurant hit half-capacity--things get backed up. My guess: wait a few weeks before visiting on the weekend. Just a hunch.
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#9
Posted May 2nd 2008, 9:07am
chezbrad wrote:Carneceria Leon is jut a short walk away for a nightcap, anyway.

ChezB,

Not that I ever checked, but Carneceria Leon has always struck me as a close early kind of place, it being in a grocery store and all. I'd be really happy to hear it's open late.

Enjoy,
Gary

Carniceria Y Taqueria Tierra Caliente aka Caniceria Leon
1400 N Ashland
Chicago, IL
773-772-9804
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Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

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#10
Posted May 9th 2008, 9:13pm
Second time at Mado...think I'm getting the hang of this:

DO:
-Order a vegetable side: asparagus topped w/fried egg was simple and perfect, as were the mushrooms i had last week.
-Order a protein dish from the right side of the menu. The trout I had tonight, with marjoram and walnuts and a light yogurt sauce, was simple and perfect tambien, and a porchetta w/salsa verde was even better.
-Order a dessert. The chocolate/apricot tart was ho-hum, but I really loved the rhurbab fool with an anise cookie...good savory desserts here.
-Go to Violet Hour afterwards for liquid refreshment. Good combo, that.

Don't:
-Order the salumi platter. I can tell you right now that the highlights are the guanciale and the copa. Just order those.
-Order a cold seafood dish: the calamari and white beans, like the crudo dish, is pleasant and refreshing but pretty timid.
-Order the pasta: it was nettles and ricotta gnochi this week, and it was still overly salted without bringing the taste.
-Order a starch as a side. The potatoes and polenta are fine, but go with the veggie option.

This place still has a lot of promise, and I expect it to grow as the months pass, which is more than you can say for most restaurants. They were filming a Metromix feature for CLTV tonight, so the press will be coming soon.
Last edited by chezbrad on May 10th 2008, 1:43pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#11
Posted May 10th 2008, 11:43am
Unless we're talking about a different place entirely, Carneceria yadda yadda yadda doesn't sell alcohol.
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"Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
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#12
Posted May 12th 2008, 11:36am
I enjoyed a second visit to Mado significantly more than the first. We had none of the doneness issues from our first visit, and a few things were really stellar. While I trust the above negative review of the gnocchi, I wouldn't heed the advice not to order pasta. Last night's super-fresh and light ramp fettuccine was nicely al-dente and perfectly seasoned. Brandade crostini was robustly flavored and had a pleasantly airy, whipped texture. Locally raised hangar steak had a nice, crusty, well-salted char and rare/ medium rare interior. It was served with a rich and creamy gorgonzola polenta.

Dessert continues to impress. Last night's highlight was a small portion of buffalo ricotta drizzled with artisan honey. Nothing else on the plate, and nothing that could have bettered this pure combination of two great ingredients.

A couple of things weren't my cup of tea (overly acidic marinated mushrooms, most notably), but Mado's focus on sourcing great ingredients and the kitchen's ability to - for the most part - bring out the very best of those ingredients, will garner plenty of return visits. The free byob will help.
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...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

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#13
Posted May 12th 2008, 12:07pm
We ate at Mado on Friday evening with some friends. We had an 8:30-8:45 reservation and after a short wait at the bar, were finally seated. They were completely packed and bustling.
We started out with the meat platter, which came with 4 different kinds of delicious meats, my favorite being the beef shank terrine. We also had the sunchokes, and the bone marrow crustini or something on bread. All were delicious, but portions were small for sharing w/4 people. So...we ordered more appetizers! This time, we had the gnocchi, the scallop, the watercress salad and one more which I can't recall. They were delicious.
Then for entrees, 2 had the hangar steak, my husband had the porchetta-seasoned perfectly, and our friend had the trout.
We all enjoyed our meals here, the food was fresh and delicious. Loved that it's BYO and would like it to stay that way but I'm sure it will not. Not sure if we'll be back after they get the license because it's kind of pricey. Wish portions were bigger but you can't really complain when the food is local and fresh and tasty. Desserts were ok in my opinion but I'm not one to ask because I am not that big of a fruity dessert fan. I like my chocolate.
Good time, and love that I can take the blue line from my house to get here...
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#14
Posted May 18th 2008, 11:09am
chezbrad wrote:
-Fluke crudo with grapefruit chunks and pepper oil: Pretty basic equation: thinly cut raw fish + citrus + little heat = simple, refreshing starter. Nothing earth-shattering, but good. The cook/owner came out to talk to me about it: I learned I was the first to order the dish, which got me thinking about probability and permutations (given the hundreds of people who dined before me, it seems odd that I was the first, but oh well...)



It's not surprising that you were the first to try any particular dish there-- I know they change the menu (at least somewhat) every day. (full disclosure: I'm friends with the owners, which is how I know this, and why I'm not reviewing it-- but I do recommend it!)
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#15
Posted May 22nd 2008, 11:25am
I had dinner at Mado last night and came away very pleased. I appreciate Mado's approach of focusing on local, sustainable, organic food. This came through in their simple, true preparations.

Highlights:
- Roasted beets and gorgonzola
- Trout with marjoram and walnuts (best dish of the night)
- Hangar steak with gorgonzola polenta
- BYOB

Disappointments:
- Soggy crostini under braised octopus with chili
- Semi inattentive service

We were not extremely hungry last night so we skipped dessert (which I will be sure to try next time). I think portion sizes were perfect - they aren't circus sizes like some places. If you typically eat a lot, it is very easy to order an extra appetizer or pasta to get your fill. We were out the door for $60, which to me was a bargain for the quality of the meal that we had.

I'm really excited about new places like Mado and Great Lake that have a focus on ingredients and their source, and making simple, delicious, unpretentious food. I'll definitely be back.
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#16
Posted May 22nd 2008, 6:29pm
Can you walk in on a week night?
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Leek
SAVING ONE DOG MAY NOT CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT IT CHANGES THE WORLD FOR THAT ONE DOG.
American Brittany Rescuealways needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog.
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#17
Posted May 22nd 2008, 6:53pm
leek wrote:Can you walk in on a week night?

Yeah, wasn't a problem on a Wednesday night. They were all booked for the weekend already though.
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#18
Posted May 24th 2008, 8:19pm
We spoke at length to Alli, one of the proprietors, the last time we were there, and I'm very excited about what they're aiming for once they get their liquor license. They plan to have beer and wine only, with the wine list being fairly small so that they can offer glass pours for each wine they carry. They also plan on offering carafes or half bottles of all the wine, too. I'm all for this idea--while I certainly have been known to drink a bottle on my own, it's not always a good plan. This way my dining partner doesn't have to drink the same wine that I do, or even wine at all. Everyone wins!
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Anthony Bourdain on Barack Obama: "He's from Chicago, so he knows what good food is."
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#19
Posted May 26th 2008, 2:45pm
We went to Mado last night and had a (mostly) very good dinner.

We started off with several antipasti:

Asparagus with fried farm egg - Outstanding
Grilled calamari with cannelloni beans - Not great. The calamari tasted a bit off.
Bruschetta with ricotta, arugula and hazelnuts - Very, very good
Scallop crudo with grapefruit - The scallop was excellent. The grapefruit was a little bitter for my tastes, but I'm just not a grapefruit fan in general
Guanciale crostini - Tasty, but the amount of guanciale was minuscule

For my main course I had the pork belly. Well, at least it said pork belly on the menu, because it actually seemed a lot like tenderloin...just with a lot of fat. I'm definitely used to braised pork belly and this was described as spit-roasted and finished in the oven. Whatever the product and whatever the cooking method the meat was dry, tough and chewy. Maybe it would have been better served fresh out of the oven, I don't know. The panzanella it was served with was fantastic as was my side of polenta. Two people at our table got the hanger steak which was outstanding.

Desserts were all really good. We had a chocolate apricot tart, some sort of vanilla panna cotta-like concoction, shortbread cookies, and buffalo ricotta served with honey.

Service was interesting. Out first contact with one of the servers was, "Hi, do you want bottled water for a dollar?" Um, no, but thanks for asking. The three bottles of white wine that I placed on the table were pretty much ignored until I asked for a second time for them to be chilled. Actually, they weren't really ignored right off the bat. When I took them out I told the server that we had brought wine. He responded with "Great!", and then wandered off.

So, would I go back? Absolutely. The commitment to local products and seasonality is wonderful, and really shines through in some of the more simple presentations. Service is aloof at best, but maybe that's just a Bucktown thing (this isn't exactly a super expensive restaurant, dinner for 4 of use was $125 after tax but before tip, so I don't really think it's that big of a deal). Really the only major misstep of the night was my pork belly. I would never order it again, but there are plenty of other things on Mado's menu that are worth trying (and if nothing else, the steak is awesome).
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-Josh

I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
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#20
Posted June 4th 2008, 8:35am
I had an uneven meal at Mado last night. I respect their intent to source local ingredients that are sustainably raised, but the cooking needs a little work. Duck rillettes were underseasoned, poached shrimp were overcooked, and glazed carrots were drowning in a gribiche sauce. The main courses of trout and porchetta were better, the later being the standout dish of the evening. The roasted potatoes with rosemary were excellent. I would go back, but will probably give them some time to iron out the kinks in the kitchen.
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#21
Posted July 11th 2008, 11:02am
We're going to Mado on Saturday night. I was shocked that when I called on Tuesday for reservations, the very pleasant guy who answered said "we should be able to accommodate you at almost any time you'd like." I thought a place with this much buzz would be hard to get into, let alone at 8PM on a Saturday!

In any event, I'm very much looking forward to the meal, and since they are still BYO, we get to enjoy a couple of great bottles with a foodie friend visiting from London. I'll report back.
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"Whatever you are, be a good one." -Abraham Lincoln
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#22
Posted July 11th 2008, 12:45pm
I think it's more that people are waiting longer to make their plans unless places are RED HOT (like Schwa). So let us know how crowded it is on Sat. night!
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Leek
SAVING ONE DOG MAY NOT CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT IT CHANGES THE WORLD FOR THAT ONE DOG.
American Brittany Rescuealways needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog.
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#23
Posted July 11th 2008, 6:41pm
Susan wrote:We're going to Mado on Saturday night. I was shocked that when I called on Tuesday for reservations, the very pleasant guy who answered said "we should be able to accommodate you at almost any time you'd like." I thought a place with this much buzz would be hard to get into, let alone at 8PM on a Saturday!


I hope that's accurate. When I called for a reservation for 4 on Thursday, they told me they couldn't take me until after 9:30.
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John Danza
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#24
Posted July 13th 2008, 12:04am
As far as timing, they are right on. We arrived just before 8, and our table was waiting for us. And despite the BYOB situation, I noticed that everyone else who had to wait a few minutes for their tables this evening was offered a glass of wine while standing in the entryway. It was very hospitable at Mado tonight.

Three of us (husband and our friend from London) ate tonight. We shared 4 appetizers from the left side of the menu, then each ordered and entree from the right side. We also had 4 desserts and finished everything. Thanks to the no-alcohol part of the tab, it was one of the most reasonable dinners out we have had in months. My advice: go while it's still BYOB so you can focus on the food. We brought along a bottle of cava and an Oregon pinot noir, and the pairings across the board worked.

It's kind of futile to mention the dishes since they will change regularly, but we loved most of our starters: the English peas and pea shoots, the carrots, beets and hazelnuts, and the smoked trout with beets and sorrel. I ate every bite of my porchetta with white beans and polenta. My husband loved the lamb dish, especially the lamb sausage that accompanied it. And our friend voted his half chicken the best chicken dish he had ever eaten in the U.S. (and he lived here for 10 years). So, I would say the savory part of our meal was a rousing success.

I asked Ali, who is the wife part of team and pastry chef, her recommendations for dessert. She mentioned four dishes, and being the sweets lover I am, I asked our server to bring them all. I will say that all four were beyond delicious. The shortbread, described here and elsewhere on the web as transcendental, was great; Ali assured me it is one the menu to stay. The panna cotta with cherries and almonds was fantastic; I got to eat most of it since my guys said they hate cherries...yet they each said "this is great for something with cherries in it." I also loved the gateaux with strawberries, and everyone swooned over the chocolate that had olive oil soaked bread, salt, and something else inside it. Fabulous end to the meal.

I can't wait to go back to Mado, and can't believe it's taken us so long to get there. They have hit full stride, even without the liquor license. Go now.
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"Whatever you are, be a good one." -Abraham Lincoln
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#25
Posted July 13th 2008, 8:51am
I forgot to mention that the one dish of the evening that I did not really like was the bruschetta with cannellini beans, which our friend chose. The flavor was boring compared to the rest of the fresh, vibrant flavors and the dish was nearly impossible to share, aside from scooping up stray beans with a fork.

But one miss can be easily forgiven. The rest of the food was so delicious I nearly forgot about the one thing I didn't love.
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"Whatever you are, be a good one." -Abraham Lincoln
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#26
Posted July 25th 2008, 7:49am
Our group of 4 ordered almost one of everything (I skipped the entree and just had side dishes).

The coddled egg in the warm appetizer section was probably our favorite of the evening. Of course, the cured meats were really good. I had a nice chilled pea soup. Some things are rich in butter like the cannelini beans side dish.

We had forgotten it was BYOB so went walking around the block to Goddess and Grocer and the the new Todd's Winery. Both were closed by 7 on Sunday, so fortunately I lived close enough to go home and grab 2 bottles. I forgot that Bin Wine Cafe also sells wines there. It would be ironic to buy wine at one restaurant to drink at another, but they are set up for wine sales.
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#27
Posted July 25th 2008, 9:37am
Susan wrote:And despite the BYOB situation, I noticed that everyone else who had to wait a few minutes for their tables this evening was offered a glass of wine while standing in the entryway.


How does this work from a legal standpoint?
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#28
Posted July 25th 2008, 12:40pm
Maybe it was just grape juice in disguise? :wink:
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"Whatever you are, be a good one." -Abraham Lincoln
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#29
Posted July 25th 2008, 1:00pm
And despite the BYOB situation, I noticed that everyone else who had to wait a few minutes for their tables this evening was offered a glass of wine while standing in the entryway.


As long as they were not charging for the wine, I think it is prefectly legal.
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#30
Posted August 1st 2008, 12:47pm
it is illegal for a BYO restaurant to give away alcohol. I am sure Mado was well intended...its very generous and kind, but its against the law.
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