Brasserie Vin Madison, Wisconsin
by - January 2017
Photo Caption: Brasserie V - Madison's Belgian bar and restaurant
Brasserie V opened in 2007 and expanded its space on Monroe Street in 2013. Although there was not a table available to accommodate us when we arrived, we were offered the option of sitting at the bar or window seats, where the full menu is available. We took this option, but before our drinks arrived the hostess let us know that a table had opened up and we could move if we desired, which we did.
Brasserie V uses the tag line “A Little Bit of Belgium in the Heart of Monroe Street”. It has the casual air of a brasserie. They offer a large and varied selection of tap beers that rotate regularly along with a multi paged bottled beer list with offerings from around the world. They also have a couple dozen wine choices by the glass.
We had a few beer selections. One was L’Hiver by the Door County Brewing Company. It is a seasonal saison farmhouse ale with a copper hue and a fruity finish. It’s carbonation complemented the richness of the truffle oil and parmesan frites that we ordered to enjoy while we made our lunch choices. They were crisp and browned on the outside and soft-and-airy within in the Belgian style. Served with two varieties of house made aioli, one was garlic and one lime, both delicious. The second tap variety that I tried was the Badger Mill Cherry Cider from Restoration Cider. They are a Madison-based company with an interesting story to tell worthy of a trip to their website. It was crisp (apples and cherry), lightly effervescent and pairs well with a hearty, rich, or strongly flavored sandwich. Several sandwich choices that meet that challenge are the Duck Club and the Beer Braised Brisket. I sampled the brisket and it was the perfect choice for lunch on a cold winter afternoon. The meat was tender, well-seasoned and was adorned with caramelized onions, maple bacon slaw, pickles, and horseradish aioli. Though a little messy, all the components seemed necessary and I wouldn’t change a thing!
On a lighter note, I also sampled the Apple Swiss sandwich which had gruyere cheese, granny smith apples, red onion, spinach, and condiments of pesto and aioli. The nuttiness of the cheese and tartness of the apple created a nice balance. It also paired well with the cider. We enjoyed the V burger for which Brasserie V has received much accolade. It is a burger that is made of locally sourced beef and accompanied with Muenster cheese, onion straws, spinach, tomato and aioli. It comes on bread rather than bun. Others at the table had the Smoked Turkey Sandwich and the Avocado BLT. Everyone was satisfied. Sandwiches are served with a choice of house made chips (crispy and thin), a mixed green salad (simple and well dressed), or a daily side (ours was a farrow salad which did not disappoint).
The comfortable atmosphere and friendly and experienced service are reasons to return. But the fact that there are always new beers to try and an enticing menu (lunch and dinner) are reason enough.
1923 Monroe Street
Madison, Wisconsin 53711 (608) 255-8500