No Clocks allowed…..
Madeline’s located across from the historic Warner Theater on High St. in beautiful Downtown Morgantown WV. When walking in you will be greeted with good smells, and a nice comfortable atmosphere, kind of a Seattle coffee shop meets French bistro feel to it. Usually with some sort of eclectic special on the board, for example, espresso chili rubbed prime rib with cheesy polenta and kale served southern stile. Sound interesting? Well we will talk about that later. When coming here, they do not allow clocks so leave your watches in the car, because nothing here is fast. If you are in a hurry, go somewhere else. Dinner here is an affair a big production so bring some notes on extra conversation topics because you will have time to discuss them all.
First, it was cold in there, I am a rather big fellow and I thought you could hang meat and it would keep for weeks. Nevertheless, I kept my sweater on and we pushed forward with the meal. The menu is full of things that sound delicious with tapas from every food genera Asian to Caribbean, French, and southwestern. The entrees are mainly French, with Italian influences, with modern American mixed in for flair. We sat down and made our drink order. Well that took about ten minutes to fill; they left and came back ten minutes later to take our appetizer order. We went with the Jerk chicken with the tie peanut sauce, and the chicken taquitos. They also offered crab wontons, mussels in white wine, and black bean quesadillas. I have had these before and they are all really well done.
Around ten or fifteen minutes went by and our waitress presented us with a bread bowl full of different breads; a roasted onion loaf, poppy seed bread and a multigrain that I thought was delightful. With olive tapanade and compound butter served on the side. Then we made our entree order. I went with the special as described earlier an espresso chili rubbed prime rib with cheesy polenta and kale served southern stile. My dining partner Brooke went with the mussels in white wine served over linguine.
A few minutes later, we received out appetizer order. The Jerk chicken, served luke warm and the tie peanut sauce was cold. The chicken almost dried out but just almost. The flavors were there though, It was delicious the spicy jerk smoothed out by the peanut sauce then hit you again with the chili burn finish, it was a flavor explosion. Running your taste buds through an emotional gambit, the flavor version of watching Meet Joe Black. It was good but if it was hot it would have been awesome a symphony of flavors but instead it was just a good garage band. The taquitos were just right, warm with homemade salsa, and sour cream beautifully presented, tasty, crisp, and an all around good bite of food.
The entrees served while eating the appetizers… they finally brought out the food in a timely manner and they had to serve it on top of the other food they just brought out. The Mussels were served over linguine that was cooked perfectly beautifully presented, not over sauced, this was a good-looking plate of food. Brooke let me have a bite or three and I was impressed the Mussels, cooked well not rubbery at all and the pasta, served al dente, the sauce was just missing something though…. I know…. It was not; hot it was just luke warm…again a potentially good plate of food reduced to mediocrity because of the service. My meal was served so sloppily that I was taken aback. Just a huge chunk of meat served with a GIANT serving of polenta, and some Kale on the side. So much food you couldn’t see the plate. It liked like a magic tick the food just hovering there above the table. Appearances can be deceiving because my prime rib was cooked beautifully, a nice medium rare basted in their wonderful espresso chili sauce it tasted great, the polenta was so cheesy and smooth, it felt like silk on my tongue. In addition, the kale was awesome, slowly simmered with bacon and onions, and vinegar it reminded me of the collared greens my nanny made when I grew up in South Carolina. The whole plate of food reminded me of a good summertime barbeque, except made from arguably better ingredients. Prime rib instead of brisket, polenta instead of macaroni and cheese, and Kale instead of collared greens. I was almost a happy camper. However, sadly this dish was also served too cold. It seemed the theme for this whole meal was a poor service, which undeniably ruined the food. Things just sat out too long before they were served. You could tell that a lot of care went into preparing the dishes making sure all the flavors were there. Nevertheless, the service was just lacking. It was inexcusable; there were two waitresses there to cover six tables. At one point we went without water for so long, that my mouth felt like sand was poured in it.
At the end of our entrée when our waitress was pushing us to leave, Brooke wisely inquired about desert. The waitress for the first time had a glimmer of excitement in her eye, as she announced their special desert for the evening a Bananas Foster bread pudding. Some people do not know what bread pudding is. Well it is the second best thing on the planet. Crispy on the outside gooey in the middle, always full of flavor; this dish is a Chefs desert, something to end the meal right, sweet and savory, just fantastic. The best desert in my opinion and something I will always order when it is available is bananas foster. Bananas and brown sugar sautéed in butter then flambéed with rum it caramelizes the bananas and it is usually served over ice cream. Combine these two things and you have a perfect end to a meal. Needless to say, we chose this desert option to share. It came out piping hot it was ouhhhey and gooey and delicious served with premium vanilla ice cream caramelized bananas, and tons of the syrup it is an awesome sight to behold. I definitely recommend trying it. This by the way was the only thing we had that was served hot and it was definitely the best thing we had.
This is a good restaurant because when they are on their game the food is really well executed. It is always slow but sometimes everything comes together and you will be raving about the food. The place is comfortable the food is potentially awesome, but at least always good, but the service “put in a nice way “ could use some improvement. I will be back I did enjoy it. My one recommendation, call ahead to see if they have the Bananas Foster Bread Pudding available if they say yes run there if they say no walk but still give it a try. Just don’t be on a time schedule and enjoy yourself.