My favorite aspect of Restaurant Week is the sampling of a restaurant that you've never been too. For me this week, it was trying out the authentic Italian flavors of The Continental Fitchburg.
I had been in a previous reincarnation of the building that now houses The Continental on Fish Hatchery Road some time ago, but my first impression was a far more upscale upgrade.
The prix fixe menu ($15 lunch/$25 dinner) comes with a salad, entree and desert option. I went for the Antonio’s Original House Salad consisting of mixed greens tossed with house green pepper flake, sweet & sour dressing topped with Roma tomatoes. The greens were pleasing to the eye and the pepper flake added a nice level of heat. My significant other required a Gluten Free option and was pleased with the house salad and balsamic vinaigrette.
Our entrees were something I would have expected to get on a fine dining night out. I ordered the Fettuccine Pomodoro with Shrimp, my date had the 10 oz. Tenderloin Steak topped with Portobello & cremini mushrooms sautéed in butter, extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic and onions. It was also served with baby red potatoes and asparagus spears.
Presentation was above par. The first bite of Fettuccine was delectable. The shrimp marinating in olive oil, pecorino cheese and fresh basil were perfectly cooked. The pasta was a happy medium between al dente and overcooked. The entire dish sat on a bed of capers, olive oil and basil that mixed with every bite. This was the first meal where I've actually enjoyed capers. My hat is off.
My significant other's steak was a beautiful medium rare. The cut had just the right amount of marbling, free of excessive fats, but flavorful. The simple pairing of baby reds and asparagus was sensible and tasty. The mushroom topping appeared to come from a can and left something to be desired.
I would rarely say that the meal tops the desert, but they were close calls. I sampled the fruit flavorings of a Key Lime Pie served with a mango sauce. The Key Lime was white, not green. Well done. My date's Caramel Apple Sundae had the slight hints of caramel with sauteed Granny Smiths and was worth the wait.
An enjoyable experience overall and worthy of a repeat visit.
MADISON RESTAURANT WEEK
Madison Restaurant Week has quickly become one of the city's most popular culinary traditions.
Thousands of area residents make their way to support the local dining community by exploring the newest restaurants and hitting up old favorites. Mark your calendars for this year's Winter Restaurant Week! Sunday, Jan. 22 — Friday, Jan. 27, 2012 This semi-annual event is the perfect opportunity for food lovers to sample some of Madison's finest local offerings.
For $25 participating restaurants offer a prix-fixed menu with 3 courses and 3 options of each course. Some restaurants offer a reduced menu for $15 for lunch. No passes, tickets or coupons are required. Diners may simply visit their favorite participating restaurants throughout the week to enjoy the special menus.