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  • Gus’s Diner

    August 20th, 2017

    20170819_120210Following its Sun Prairie location, Gus’s Diner opened a second restaurant this past May in Verona in a rapidly growing commercial section along East Verona Avenue.

    In other reviews, I’ve negatively described some foods as diner-quality. That’s because many times diners sacrifice quality for speed and price. Fortunately, that’s not the case here. One example is the delightful crispy chicken wrap ($9.99). It’s stuffed with crispy, juicy chicken instead of filler ingredients, plus the wrap wasn’t soggy nor had it been sitting in a fridge all day.

    Except for the waffles, breakfast is served all day. You’ll find classics such as steak (ribeye, country-fried, sirloin) and eggs, French toast, scramblers and skillets. I tried the waffle combo ($9.29), which comes with two eggs and either three strips of bacon or sausage links. The large waffle had a gentle touch of sweetness to it, and it was quite filling. By the way, 3 p.m. is the cut-off time to order waffles.

    Two pages of the large menu are dedicated to sandwiches, burgers and wraps. A new item is the Wisconsin cheese curd burger ($10.49), which doesn’t need any explanation. On a future visit, I’ll probably get the Brooklyn ($11.99), a burger topped with corned beef, sauerkraut and swiss cheese inside grilled marble rye.

    20170819_121637Our server said dinner entrees also are served all day, which was somewhat surprising, as I doubt many people want to eat salmon or chicken alfredo in the morning. I couldn’t resist ordering the chicken fried chicken ($10.99), and it didn’t disappoint. The breading had a tasty seasoning, the chicken was moist and the gravy was a perfect complement.

    What’s a diner without sweets? The Oreo cookie shake ($4.49) was well-crafted; other flavors include mocha, butterscotch and root beer. Meanwhile, you’ll find an assortment of pies. The one that caught my eye was the M&M cream pie ($2.99), which was fluffy and decadent.

    Gus’s Diner serves breakfast and lunch every day and dinner Tuesday-Sunday.

    ***

    See more photos in our Gus’s Diner Flickr album.

    Gus's Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Pizza Di Roma

    August 13th, 2017

    20170731_121605New York-style pizza-by-the-slice is available outside of downtown, now that Pizza Di Roma has opened a location where Legends used to be.

    The space is much brighter than Legends ever was but has an awkward set-up, primarily because it’s a counter-service restaurant integrated into a former sports bar.

    In all the years I’ve eaten at the downtown location of Pizza Di Roma, I’ve never ordered anything but pizza, so in recent visits to the west side location, I explored the rest of the menu, which turned out to be bigger than expected.

    A few appetizers lead off. The breaded cheese ravioli ($6.95) is massively breaded, but at least a lot of ricotta cheese greets you inside. You also can order chicken wings ($8.95) and fried calamari ($9.95).

    You have lots of pasta dishes, including staples such as lasagna and tortellini, from which to choose. Among the more unique was the spaghetti putanesca ($9.95; should be spelled with two Ts). The black olive flavor is most prevalent, while the carrot shavings added an unwelcome texture. There were just a few pieces of anchovies, which were not overly salty.

    Similar to the pasta dishes, the entrees will take 5-10 min. to prepare. The chicken arrabbiata ($10.95) sports an assortment of peppers, including jalapenos. The marinara sauce was average, the noodles were similar to sub-par ones found in a diner and the two thin chicken breasts were pretty tough.

    20170804_115545Other entrees include shrimp marinara ($12.95) and eggplant parmesan ($11.95).

    Among the subs, I got the sausage and peppers ($7.95). The slices of Italian sausage and strips of green peppers are topped with marinara sauce and cheese, then stuffed inside a huge roll. It’s a lot of bread, which turned out to be necessary to hold all the ingredients together.

    The west side location of Pizza Di Roma is open for lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday.

    ***

    See more photos in our Pizza Di Roma Flickr album.

    Pizza Di Roma Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Canteen

    August 6th, 2017

    20170802_115917It’s hard to disagree with Food Fight’s description of Canteen as a “vibrant, fast-paced taqueria.” In fact, it’s even different enough from Tex Tubb’s and Eldorado–other restaurants in Food Fight’s vast portfolio–as well as other taquerias in town.

    Canteen has a fairly robust selection of tacos, which are served a la carte. The green chile chicken ($3) draws a lot of its flavor from the serrano salsa and crema, both of which truly complement the tender, moist chicken. The slices of roasted tomatillo were a pleasant surprise.

    Meanwhile, the pork belly tacos ($3.50) are now my favorite in town. The chunks of pork belly are slightly crispy on the outside and melt-in-your mouth tender on the inside. They are coated in a wonderful guajillo chile sauce that resembles mole in flavor.

    The few entrees at Canteen include enchiladas ($10) and torta ($12). The Tijuana salad ($9) is a fresh mix of romaine lettuce, red cabbage and toasted seeds, among other ingredients. I wish there was more of the anchovy dressing, which was not too salty. I added Tecate-battered cod for $4, and the small pieces were very mild in taste.

    20170721_121854I mentioned in a previous blog post that because of the prevalence of brunch in Madison, restaurants need to make their offerings more and more unique. Here, what’s unique is the time in which brunch is served: Saturday, Sunday and Friday. This menu has just five items. The brisket burnt ends hash ($11) wasn’t perfect: the brisket was a bit chewy, the poached eggs were overcooked, and the mix of potatoes, bell peppers and cojita cheese was bland enough that I relied heavily on the hot sauces (especially the mango) on the table.

    The free order of duritos ($1 after your first bag) to start your meal was a nice touch. The puffed wagon wheels really absorbed the lime and tajin flavors, and they’re enjoyable to munch while sipping on a cocktail or margarita.

    Canteen serves lunch and dinner every day and brunch Friday-Sunday.

    ***

    See more photos in our Canteen Flickr album.

    Canteen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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