Meals I've Eaten, Issues I've Seen & Operations Advice


Day 2 of Restaurant Week- The Wise (HotelRED)

Strawberry margaritaForget that it was 5 degrees outside in Madison today. Forget that it was Monday, a holiday and the inauguration was on TV.  My girlfriend had the day off from her busy job and that was the only reason I needed to take her out for a stylish lunch. We chose HotelRED‘s restaurant, The Wise.

The Wise has creative cocktails, appetizers and entrees to go with it’s hip and minimalist decor.  We ordered this strawberry, black pepper tequila cocktail and settled into our cushy chairs…unfortunately they were the kind of cushy that’s just too cushy and you can’t get comfortable or close enough. Service was a bit slow, as I’ve experienced at The Wise before, even though they were not busy.

We ordered the Spiced Butternut Squash Soup with Hazelnut Cappuccino Cream, Pork Cassoulet Soup, a Wisconsin Grilled Cheese with Arugula Pesto and the Pulled Pork shoulder with Slaw Sandwich.

Grilled cheese

Pulled pk

The squash soup was our favorite. Rich,smooth and creamy, with a light touch of sweetness and hazelnut.  No ingredient was overpowered by another. The pork cassoulet soup was good, but tasted just like most bean and ham soups do.  It lacked the richness you expect with cassoulet. The grilled cheese was crisp without being greasy and the gooey combination of two cheeses, pesto and tomatoes was perfect for a frigid Wisconsin day.  The pulled pork sandwich ingredients lacked flavor. The only spice we could distinguish was clove.  I kept wishing the slaw had been pickled to give the sandwich some pop. The bun was soft & toasted and would have been fine if the pork would have shined brighter.

olive oil cake

Chocolate torte

For dessert we chose the Olive Oil Cake with Blueberry “Jam” and mascarpone and Raspberry Chocolate Torte with Coulis. Flourless chocolate tortes are delicious, but usually they all taste the same. This one did not taste like raspberries without the coulis, but it did taste homemade and intensely chocolatey.

The star of the dessert course was the Olive Oil Cake.  Savory and moist on it’s own, it really got amazing when paired with a bit of mascarpone and blueberries.  This cake had us practically licking the plate clean and dreaming of versions of our own we wanted to try…And that’s what going out should do, inspire you!

My top picks for The Wise for Restaurant Week:

Butternut Squash Soup, WI Grilled Cheese, Olive Oil Cake

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