Kyle Ate Here - The...wait, it's what month already?...edition

Don't ask me what happened in April (or why it's almost double-digits May for this post). It took me half the month to reconstruct my dining journal from memory, receipts, and online banking records. Something clicked off in my brain this month, and I just couldn't maintain any sort of attention span. (You may make your 4/20 joke here, if you'd like.)

My usual plan of attack is to find something to split the month into two general categories. While "What I remembered" and "What I had to look up" might work, it'd be an unnecessary and unintended slight on some of the places I needed assistance to remember. Instead, there's a more unfortunate division to April, one that does intend a certain critique.


What went wrong

The breakfast sandwich at Heritage. Fresh, hot, but unwieldy and not exactly harmonious.Okay, "wrong" might still be too strong a chiding. Nothing got sent back, no sternly worded letters to the owner. But April saw many more disappointments than the usual month of Madison dining. Maharani's chilli chicken, a new dish for me, just didn't have what I want from Indian food (and I know, it's a bit of an oddball). Roman Candle's eponymous pie had a woody, stemmy banana pepper on almost every slice. While my first whitefish salad sandwich of the year at Gotham was amazing, the second was loaded with unnecessary (erroneously applied?) mayo. And I'm sorry, but is there a more overpriced--or slower--"fast" food experience in Madison than Michael's Frozen Custard?

The biggest slip-up of the month wasn't actually on my plate, but on the plates of friends around me. All of us were trying 43 North for the first time, and for brunch. The original chef has decamped for Chicago, and the former chef at Restaurant Magnus has taken his place. A great line of succession, but two plates of cold, nearly congealing bacon and a Cobb salad of far too many greens left members of our party wanting more. Others were much happier, but it was a surprisingly uneven experience.


What went right

A sumptuous feast of snacks at Graze--curds, truffle popcorn, charcuterie--kicked off the month, and that stuff was almost all good. (The cocktails, less so; let's say that Graze is falling far behind in a crowded field.) My two stops, the first two ever, at Atlantis Taverna were both great, even though the first was at the tail end of a wicked cold. And the eastsiders among you will want to hit up the morning bun at the new Heritage Bakery and Cafe, 'nuff said.

I lost my hubcap-sized pancake virginity at Cottage Cafe in April; loved it. And yes, there were PBR tacos at King and Mane. They're even starting to catch on--when a bunch of people in red show up, there will be PBR tacos for all. A trio of meals at Brasserie V over the course of the month were the dictionary definition of "what went right." Great beer, great staff, amazingly pink burgers and packed sandwiches.


The best thing I ate

Closing the previous section with Brasserie V is no accident. I loved my V Burger, the sweet and sour ramps alongside the seared black cod were terrific--but the Montrachet goat cheese tart with olives, roasted tomatoes, and greens was mind-bogglingly good. Creamy, smooth, rich but tart at the same time, and all framed by the lightest, butteriest crust you'll ever find. The morning bun from Heritage is really great, and my crispy pork belly with "Elvis" bread (peanuts and banana) and poached eggs at 43 North was something new and kind of amazing.

But that goat cheese tart was symphonic, something to remember.