Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Madden's Casual Gourmet

Image souce.

I've been trying to blog about Madden's for awhile now.  I love the food and dining experience there and we go every time we have something to celebrate.  However the lighting is such that it's nearly impossible to get good images of the food without using a flash.  And who wants to use a flash with fine dining?  Well, here's an attempt to do the meals here justice.

Image Source.

Madden's Casual Gourmet is located in downtown Bryan in the Bryan Marketplace. It is a chef-owned family friendly restaurant that specializes in seasonal American style fine dining, but with a low-key casual approach.  You can visit Madden's in jeans just as you can also visit there in a tux.  You'll be equally comfortable either way.

Our particular visit was last week to celebrate my birthday.  The Lovely Spouse got me a new cell phone, to replace the broken one I've been using for the past few months.  It has a new camera, which I used to take the picts here, and a screen without a series of large cracks on it.  I also got an Otter Box so hopefully I'll manage to not break this one any time soon.

This was the middle of the week at the beginning of the school year so Madden's was not busy. We started with appetizers. I got the tomato bisque and The Lovely Spouse got the deviled eggs.  As I mentioned above, the lighting is soft so the pictures were dark.  I edited them on powerpoint and paint so they might look like they came from Instagram.

The tomato bisque is light but hugely flavorful.  It's a very nice way to start a meal.  Maddens also starts meals with a nice fococcia served with high quality olive oil and an herb chiffonade.
The Lovely Spouse started with deviled eggs. I was unable to eat them due to them containing onions (listed on the menu = yay!), but he said they were absolutely delicious with a complex herbal flavor.  He said the onions served with them were a very nice touch.
Next we ordered our entrees and wine.  We got a bottle of the Tempesto for the table, which beautifully complemented my duck and The Lovely Spouse's tenderloin.

I used a flash to get this image. This is a smoked duck served over homemade jambalya, with grilled okra, topped with zucchini noodles.  The entire thing was spicy yet complex.  Not to mention the duck was perfectly, melt-in-your-mouth cooked.
Also taken with a flash. The Lovely Spouse got beef tenderloin cooked three ways. Perfectly cooked, that is. Everything was delicious.
And while Peter Madden, the chef, is known for his entrees, the desserts at Madden's are not to be missed.  I didn't get a photo of it, but The Lovely Spouse got the bread pudding.  Always creamy and delicious and served with homemade vanilla ice cream.  I got a scoop of the toasted marshmallow ice cream.  And the server happened to mention that she also had a caramel popcorn ice cream and we just had to try it.

On the left is the toasted marshmallow ice cream.  My usual favorite.  And on the right is the caramel popcorn ice cream.  Something new that totally impressed me.  It had the texture of very high quality ice cream, but tasted exactly like caramel popcorn.  Truly amazing. And a friend who joined us who doesn't like desserts completely fell in love with it.
Other items we've had at Madden's that are exceptional include the scallops, which are cooked to buttery perfection and the chili rubbed tenderloin.  The wine list is also very, very good.  And the coffee served is some of the best in the area. They also serve a nice selection of dessert cordials.

The service is always fantastic.

And while everything is fine dining quality, the prices are very reasonable.  This meal would cost much, much more in Houston, Dallas, or DC.

Madden's is also an excellent place to host larger celebrations.  They have a small, but nicely appointed, party room that may be reserved for up to around 20-30 guests.  And the restaurant itself may be reserved for private engagements.  Friends of mine tell me the service for private engagements, for both professional and private events, is second to none. This quality of service would easily cost four times as much in a large, major metropolitan area.

So, do I recommend Madden's?  Absolutely.  It's fine dining without being stuffy.  The service is fantastic while making you feel at home.

Will we be back?  I certainly hope so. :-) As I said above, it's our go-to place for celebrations.

ETA (1/21/16): Madden's is now owned by Chef Tai of Veritas. Veritas has some excellent food so I'm sure that Madden's will remain in good hands. 

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