EAT – Two Great Steak Houses in Madison, WI (while at UGM)

This was my 11th year visiting Madison, WI for Epic’s User Group Meeting.  Epic is located in Verona, just 20 miles from downtown Madison.  Every year I look forward to the trip for one reason…steak!  (working a booth for 10 hours a day is not really that fun, trust me).  I know cheese comes to most peoples minds when they think of Wisconsin, but trust me…cheese is good…on everything, including steak!

My first evening at Madison I took a colleague to the Capitol ChartHouse.  Located at the Hilton Monona Terrace on East Wilson.  The Monona Terrace is right on the lake, but unfortunately the establishment is on the front side of the building, so no nice view.  However, a wonderful walk on the lake after your meal is a must.

This steak and seafood restaurant knows how to cater to hungry conference going mobs.  Menu includes a wide selection of steaks and fish.  Everything from ribeye to pork chop and salmon to Alaskan crab legs.  Who would think seafood in Madison?  Well they insist it is flown in fresh daily.  So I had a bit of filet and a bit of shrimp.  Both were awesome!  The steak melted in your mouth like cheese…but without the cholesterol.  The shrimp were like mini steaks, with the cholesterol.  We shared a side of carrots and aspargus that were grilled perfectly. Everything is a la carte here, but the sides are big enough to share. For dessert, creme brulee in three different flavors (vanilla, chocolate, and caramel).  Pricey for Madison at $48 per person average.  Great service, great food, and perfect location gives this place a solid A grade.

My second evening I had decided to take my group of consultants out for a nice dinner.  I had preselected Johnny Delmonico’s Steakhouse and made a reservation for five people weeks in advance.  The problem with choosing a nice place is not knowing what everyone would like to eat.  I certainly had no idea of the challenges that we were going to face this evening, as one person was a total vegetarian and another was on a no carb no electro”something” diet.  This was going to be fun.

Well I started by ordering the table an order of shrimp cocktail and their famous calamari (lightly breaded, stir fried in oil, peppers, and garlic).  When that arrived, a third member of the table announced they don’t eat seafood.  I can’t win.  The good news was everyone did find something they wanted on the menu except my vegaterian fried.  I felt terrible.  She ordered a side of mac-n-cheese for her meal.  Well, this is Wisconsin…so I’m sure they have really good mac-n-cheese.

I had an 6 ounce petite tenderloin topped with Alaskan king crab meat, hollandaise sauce, and asparagus.  It was absolutely amazing.  Others enjoyed blackened ribeye, New York Strip, and Lamb chops.  Everyone truly seemed to enjoy their dinner despite the inital concerns I had with dietery restrictions.

The menu is much more well rounded Capitol Grill was.  With chicken, short-ribs, lamb, pasta, and lobster…there is truly something here, for most.  Great service by a waiter named Doug, we liked him immediately, and a comfortable atmosphere gives this steak house an A+.


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