Name: Eldorado Grill
Location: 744 Williamson St, Madison, WI 53704
Ambience: Upscale, warm
Best Dish: Spinach and Mushroom Enchiladas with Salsa Verde (in Platos Mexicanos)
Reminiscent of Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill in Chicago, Eldorado Grill provides an upscale, rich palette of Southwest dining. They don’t pretend to be an authentic Mexican restaurant — and they aren’t. They excel at Southwestern food (and tequila, according to their webpage), and they’re a fantastic place to go for a nice dinner out.
One thing I really didn’t like was that chips and salsa are $1.99 — you have to ask for them as an appetizer, and a small, three mini-ice cream scoops of guac is $3.99. That being said, both the salsa and the guac are excellent and well worth it, hitting just the right combination of ingredients. The guac is topped with pico, and both of them tasted remarkably fresh, something that is quite rare when it comes to standard chips and dip. Their non-alcoholic margaritas were also very good. We got pomegranate and strawberry. The lime juice was clearly fresh and very tangy, and the underlying fruit flavor came through without seeming false.
However, Eldorado Grill truly was at its best in the entrees. With a remarkable selection of vegetarian options, they made it difficult to choose — but both were outstanding. The chef crafted tacos (which change daily, one meat and one vegetarian selection; $12.99) with sautéed zucchini, wilted spinach, portabella mushrooms, and onions were delicious. The vegetables were well cooked, and the zucchini was flavorful and still firm. But the spinach and mushroom enchiladas ($12.99) were the star of the show. The tanginess of the salsa verde provided the perfect complement to the dryness that tends to accompany corn tortillas, and the mushrooms were extremely flavorful and added a nice bite to the dish. The Monterey Jack and chile pasilla added great depth of flavor, particularly the chile. The rice was well seasoned and surprisingly tasty, and was a great addition.
Clearly, from my long review — this restaurant is well worth a visit. They are definitely on the expensive side, but their ambience affords a great place to take family or friends out for a nice dinner with fantastic food.