Nothing makes one’s mouth water more than terrific smells, good
company and modern atmosphere. Graze, the local-serving restaurant on the
Square in Madison, WI has all of these qualities, plus their food is amazing.
I sit in a silver (and surprisingly comfortable chair), looking
through the 30-foot windows onto our State Capitol as I enjoy some of the most
delightful food around. The architecture and atmosphere of the whole restaurant
is very alluring. The dining area is open, with a red wall on one side creating
a background for the large bar lit with vintage-looking light bulbs hanging
randomly from the ceiling. On the other side of the room, a floor-to-ceiling black
board offers introductions to featured famers as well as special artisan
cheeses and delicacies available. To light this side, there are bright red chimney
caps illuminating a modern-agriculture glow. Overall the interior is modern,
but with vintage and up cycled accents making the scene entirely thrilling. One
could go to Graze for eye candy alone, but the eating gets better.
The menu is filled with local delicacies from fried sassy-cow cheese
curds to wedge salad with smoked wild mushrooms and ranch
& sesame “French” dressings to Farmer John’s Provolone
sandwich with pesto. Although the menu is
classy, it’s still based on creating comfort with food from home. The sake of
the restaurant’s name not only signifies their commitment to serving
locally-raised (and grazed) foods, but to also encourage patrons to Graze their
own different pastures. Therefore, there are lots of munchies included on the
menu, perfect for grazing.
After we’re waited on by a very friendly, but not
creepy wait staff, I order the Pretzels with house mustards, potato fries with
aioli, and the roasted beet and walnut burger. As a vegetarian, I give extreme
credit to restaurants that get creative with vegetarian entrees—especially when
they’re superb as my lunch was. The beet and walnut burger has become an
obsession of mine. The crunch of the micro greens, the chew of the brioche bun,
the taste and texture of the patty and the hint of dill make this burger irresistible.
The pretzel was very good and the mustards where superb. The fries were perfectly
crunchy and the aioli made the whole flavor fit together perfectly.
- Beet and Walnut Burger
- Sassy Cow Cheese Curds
Graze started with the” food-to-plate” movement
before it was moving strong in this area. Before it was “cool”, Graze was
already preparing delicious food without relying on shipments from around the
world. Their goal is still to produce their entire menu with food not more than
60 miles from your table at Graze. Their downtown location is perfect not only
because of the delightful ambiance, but also because Chef Tory Miller is able
to get first pick of produce at Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning. In fact,
parked in the entry-way of the restaurant lies the famous “Graze cart” in which
they tote the locally-grown food during farmer’s market.
When all is said and done, what makes the human experience
great? Food, friends and ambiance. All which can be experienced at Graze (from
By Hannah Priscilla Craig