Monday, December 1, 2014
Restaurant Review: Tornado Steakhouse
The Tornado Steakhouse is one of the finest steakhouses in the Midwest. They have been around for about 16 years but the building/restaurant which houses the Tornado has been around far longer than that. This is a modern supperclub. If you don't know what a supper club is, you probably didn't grow up in the Midwest. There is a particular ambiance of a supperclub that Tornado nails head on in a classy way. Tornado is mood-lit and a highly sociable environment with a strong cocktail menu and a food menu heavy on steak, venison, and well-made seafood. One of the hallmarks of a supper club is the relish tray that starts the meal. A glass of ice with very fresh carrots, celery, olives, and radishes start off the meal. Our visitor from Florida wasn't quite sure what to make of it and if it was for eating or for decoration.
While the mood lighting made taking pictures of the food nearly impossible, it does make for a comfortable dining experience. Tornado being just off of the capitol square has been a long time favorite for politicians and lobbyists making their dirty deals as well as a higher form of clientele such as drug dealers and children's TV hosts. In all honesty it's a comfortable and great establishment for everyone who is interested in the finest meats in Madison.
The two best steaks on the menu in my opinion are the 28 oz. bone in rib eye, and the 20 oz. bone in tenderloin. Both are $49 with soup or salad and a choice of side dish. Bone in cuts of meat are much more flavorful and tender. Most restaurants and butchers shy away from serving bone-in cuts because keeping the bone in the meat dramatically shortens its shelf life.
The duck breast is served with a deliciously just sweet enough port wine currant sauce at $24 with choice of soup or salad and a choice of side.
I would also suggest the Coquille Saint Jacques appetizer which is sea scallops poached in white wine and heavy cream served on a bed of decadent mashed potatoes $15. The escargot are also incredible, the largest I have ever seen and they are broiled in their shell with garlic and herb butter $11.
The pineapple upside down cake served with vanilla ice cream is a wonderful throwback dessert. I think this is a dessert which is making a strong and well deserved comeback. I plan on creating a recipe for this cake, I'll throw it up on the blog when it's ready.
If you are downtown past 10pm The Tornado offers a late night menu featuring amongst other things a tenderloin steak sandwich made with Tornado's own tenderloin for just $9. This is one of the great steak sandwiches in the world. It is served with Au Jus dipping sauce and sauteed onions and horseradish cream. The late night menu is served until 1am.
The Tornado Steakhouse is a Madison tradition with deep roots in the best of Supperclub tradition. Well worth a visit for a special occasion, or late night for the best $9 late night snack you can dream of!
Rating: **** Four Stars
116 South Hamilton St.
Madison, Wisconsin 53703
Dinner Menu from 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Bar opens at 4:30 p.m. nightly.
Late night menu is available every night from 10 p.m. - 1 a.m.