Name: Cafe Hollander
Location: Hilldale Shopping Center, 701 Hilldale Ct, Madison, WI 53705
Best Dish: Belgian Table Bread
Cafe Hollander is a relatively well known chain in Wisconsin. They opened up a branch in Madison last year, and they have great brunch. This particular day though, we went for lunch, and it did not live up to expectations.
That being said though — it is so worth going to Cafe Hollander solely for the Belgian Table Bread and House-Made Cheese Curds. At $4.75, the Belgian Table Bread outshines every other dish, and it’s just a side. The bread is chewy and warm, dusted with nutty parmesan. The bread practically glows from the butter — don’t come here for healthy food — and the chive butter that it’s served with just melts into all the crevices, flavoring it indulgently. At $9.95, the House-Made Cheese Curds are definitely on the expensive side. They pair very well with the siracha aioli, and although I could have done with a little thinner coating, the cheese curds were chewy and delicious.
While our appetizers were delicious, the meal left for wanting. Our non-vegetarian friend ordered a Benelux Meat Loaf ($14.95) and was less than impressed, wondering whether it might have come from a can. We did enjoy the Harissa Flat Bread Wrap ($11.95), but once again, the side of Mac and Cheese ($6.95) — with a rich combination of cheeses that varied the flavor, bread crumbs and pickled peppers, out shined the meal itself.
Hollander does well with brunch (review to come later), but for lunch, it struggles a little bit. I would simply go a little earlier and enjoy their brunch options, rather than going for lunch, especially since they are a little pricier. The food is better, and it’s worth the cost. Unless, of course — you go solely for the Belgian Table Bread.