I had the pleasure of dining this week at The Mariners Inn. It was great, because I don't have boat, a peg-leg or even a fishing hat, but they didn't even seem to mind.
A Madison establishment, they're one of the first names you think of when you think seafood. Three days after eating there and I'm still having happy flashbacks of my meal. Most assume they're the place for a fancy, amorous meal for two. True, but this coming week, you can try them out in a different light. I'll explain later.
The mood is sultry, with a romantic-nautical feel. Jimmy Buffett fans such as myself, who dramatically yearn for another day at the ocean, will know what I'm talking about.
We both went for the Classic Supper Salad, with a vinaigrette dressing on the side. It's your basic salad, well presented with a meaningful ratio of lettuce to fresh spinach.
The main course was the Classic Surf & Turf. The 8 oz. center cut tenderloin arrived a perfect medium, next to a candle lit tower of butter for the lobster tail, which was big enough for us both to note the size. By the way, I never really thought of us as a classic couple. I guess the fare are classics for a reason.
We went local with the dessert and opted for the Betty's Cheesecake with the Door County Cherry Sauce. The cheesecake had just the right amount of moisture. It's partners is crime were about 20 fresh (you could tell) Door County Cherries, drizzled in cherry sauce. My girlfriend avoided the graham cracker crust, leaving it to me. She didn't have to twist my arm, but I'll explain why.
The meal was above par, but what I really appreciated about The Mariners Inn was the staff. My girlfriend recently found out that she has a Gluten intolerance. Not only has it made cooking at home a new challenge, it's made eating out a near impossibility at our old favorite joints. While perusing the Mariners menu, we mentioned to our waitress Cynthia that we needed Gluten-free options. Steak and seafood are gluten free, but it's typically the sauces and breading that are the problem.
Cynthia took the time to run down exactly how the chef would be preparing each portion of our meals, which put my mind at ease. I felt like we were not just another customer, but rather someone she took a vested interest in making sure that we were happy.