Madalin's Table – June 2007
6.24 - 7, 6.9, 6.5, 6.5, 6.5, 6, 5.5, 5
Securing Tivoli’s intersection of Broadway and North Road sits Madalin's Table. Graciously inviting and wrapping along both street sides is a covered porch, affording a pleasant evening for the casual diner. Dinner Party of Eight, on the other hand, experienced a pleasant evening in the Red Room, with its romantic, almost darkish, ambience; a burgundy-maroon textured wallpaper; muddled spring-green wainscoting; a wall-filling, Thomas Cole-ish painting on the north end; a Bunyanesque mirror on the opposite end; and paintings and sketches of landscapes, fruit, countryside and pastoral scenes. The classic signature of a weathered Madalin Hotel sign of a time long ago joined the “can’t tell if it’s a tin-ceiling” as aesthetic touches to the room. On the way in, we had passed by and glimpsed at the bar room, with its open doors to the street.
A table of sides of three, and ends of Tim and Chay, seated DP8 on this very wet, almost flooding day. Three of us enjoyed a banquette that was comfortable all evening. A brace of votive candles served as centerpieces. The recessed lighting focused on the upper walls between the three windows and on the artwork. A very seasoned stand, old hotel vintage, of glasses, acted as a centering focus between the entryways.
Two ample baskets of white and nutty/whole grain artisan bread satisfied the early munchers while Jared, our waiter for the night, took our drink orders: two bottles of Jean Luc Colombo Les Abailles 2005 Cotes-du-Rhone red, a glass of pinot grigio, a glass of Prosecco (Judy), and a diet soda. The wine, with a taste of smooth cherry-fruit, seeped to bottles’ bottoms more speedily than usual.
The menu, a mix of main entrees, sandwiches and appetizers, somehow felt limiting to someDP8ers, steering some to a combination of the lunch menu and an appetizer. The singular relatively high price of the filet mignon kept a few from trying it.
Appetizers included two Caesar salads (Kriss and Ken, a worthy mix), a polenta torte, with eggplant caponata and goat cheese (Don, simple, yet interesting mix of flavors), seared scallops (Deb T and Tim shared, satisfactory), two mesclun salads – a tasty mix of greens, beets, bleu cheese, pistachios and vinaigrette (Deb T and Judy, a tasty mix of flavors), a cornmeal crusted calamari with tomato confit (Deb K, who thought it good but a recent Stockade Inn visit one-upped it), and chicken wings (Ken, a verdict of good). All but the salads were shared and thus the appetizers’ flavors were widely sampled.
The entrees arrived about 70 minutes after seating, a comfortable schedule. Chay had the pasta and shrimp with a creamy tomato sauce, with one of the three shrimp undercooked, which was sent back and returned efficiently and cooked. (Chay thought it just ordinary, at best.) Deb K and Don tried the mahi mahi taco, with its cream, tomato and cilantro. (Both thought it a good idea but proved to be overwhelmingly bland.) Kriss ordered a plate of fries and a giant grilled chicken sandwich, half of which went home in a doggy bag. (good). Tim and Ken chose the hanger steak (ok to good). Judy and Deb T tried the pork tenderloin with its beet hash and spinach (good and excellent). Although the overall quality was deemed average, the different tangents of taste were interesting.
The dessert menu was a long time coming, and probably overdue about ten minutes but it felt longer. Chay sipped his usual Sambuca and Tim his Frangelica. Don ordered the chocolate cake with beet ice cream & shavings of chocolate. The ice cream definitely had a beet flavoring which was alluring and offsetting at the same time. The cube of cake, both fluffy and dense at the same time, was layered with satisfying chocolate. Judy and Deb T ordered the sorbet – scoops each of coconut, passionfruit and mango. Their oohs and ahhs testified to immense enjoyment. Deb K and Ken experienced the graham-crust cheesecake, with a side of nuts and brown sugar, a worthy offering bordering on average.
The service, headed by our waiter Jared, was mostly good but somewhat erratic. Jared was personable with a flair of announcing our choices, which I think we found interesting. It seemed as though part way through the evening that he got busier than he could tend to, which, if true, is good for Madalin's Table but we did not see him for a while, especially before and after dessert. One waitstaff filled our glasses with water, which was appreciated but half the time needed to be prompted (to be fair, we are big water drinkers). Another waitstaff delivered the entrees and desserts. Ken was kept in coffee most of the time, toying with the coffee contraption.
We spent two and a half hours, comfortably leisurely except for about twenty minutes near the end that lingered, well, dragged. Our bill collector, Deb K, figured we owed $104, including food, liquor, and tip, a price that felt heftier than we would have expected, considering almost half of us ordered from the lunch menu.
Off we walked into the light rain of what had been a much harder rain earlier, past a few pesky insects that had found us in the dining room (open doors – great atmosphere, a small price to pay?), and a slight exhaust smell that percolated inside for a few minutes earlier.
All in all, DP8 had a pleasurable experience with many interesting elements mixed with erratic ones, with a highlight of ambience. Although the menu threw us a little off-balance, I would be tempted to go back just for that, and on the covered street side.
Preceding all this was an-hour-early meeting at the
Adams’ residence, a concession to a Sunday night 6 p.m. reservation. Trays of
vegetables, cantaloupe and watermelon, cheese and crackers, and bruschetta kept
our taste buds active. Tanqueray and tonic, red wine, and white wine were the
usual aperitifs. Most notable was the absence of the Monteverds, who were seeing
Brian off at the Hudson train station; the Monteverds met us at Tivoli.
Conversation at the Adamses and at the restaurant was the usual flow of catch-up on news – weather, the Teator kitchen remodeling, Buddy and Krypton, cutting grass, dates of get-togethers during the summer, Itzak Perlmen, etc. The “organizational” meeting for South Carolina was planned, ... ...