by Kate Northey
8 Seasons Grille is an intimate family-owned restaurant in the heart of downtown Madison. Their style of food ranges from traditional American cuisine to more exotic combinations. The menu changes eight times per year in order to feature locally grown, in-season and creative dishes, hence the name 8 Seasons.
With its Italian villa ambiance, the restaurant is easily spotted at 45 S. Basset. The posh exterior should not fool college students, as their prices range from downright cheap to average, but with the high quality food, atmosphere and staff of a bank-breaking fancy restaurant.
Plain white dishware is used as the canvas to create delectable arrangements of food. Each meal is like an original piece of artwork: almost too pretty to eat.
8 Seasons serves breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week, excluding Mondays. Their best deal on the menu is the delicious fried egg sandwich for only $4.75, perfect for a good start to the day or after a crazy night out on the town. And even if breakfast does not happen until the afternoon, 8 Seasons will happily oblige.
If you are not up to going out to eat, you can even order your food for delivery through straight2yourdoor.com, it cannot get any better than that.
The current lunch menu ranges from a quesadilla and pork sandwich to more unusual dishes like salmon rolls and walnut burgers.Similarly, their dinner menu has lamb chops and country fried chicken, in addition to chicken saltimbocca and eggplant Parmesan. All of their dishes have imaginative ingredient combinations that surprise the taste buds.
With home-cooked dishes that are tested for great taste before being served to customers, 8 Seasons Grille is authentic. You never have to wonder about unhealthy additives sneaking their way into traditionally wholesome meals.
8 Seasons also has an impressive coffee bar, offering what may just be the best espresso in the city. In addition, they have extensive tea, wine, beer and cocktail menus.
The wait staff is knowledgeable about their ever-changing menu, readily offering suggestions and giving detailed descriptions of different dishes. Beyond that, they are personable and truly seem to enjoy their jobs, this effervescent attitude gives the restaurant a comfortable feel unlike any other.
The restaurant also holds an “Iron Chef” competition in tribute to the popular television show. This contest is between 8 Seasons head chef Nick Baertschy and a local guest chef. Like the show, the competitors are given a secret ingredient to implement into all of their dishes. Participants get to taste the dishes and decide, “Whose cuisine reigns supreme!”
8 Seasons Grille is innovative in how they run their business, there is never a dull moment or dish. It is a great place for date night, socializing with friends, a business meeting, a rich cup of espresso or dinner with the parents. It is time to expand and test out restaurants off of State Street, 8 Seasons is the perfect place to start.
Average cost of an entrée: $10.
8 Seasons Grille is located at 45 S. Bassett St., on the corner of W. Main. It is open for dining from 8:00 am until 9:00 pm on Sundays, 10:00 am to 9:00 pm Tuesdays thru Thursdays, 10:00 am to 10:00 pm on Fridays, and 8:00 am to 10:00 pm on Saturdays (closed Mondays). For more information, call 608-819-1082.