The Madison Club offers local fare with spicy flair
This dining experience feels exclusive
The backstory: Six years ago, Adam Struebing was Dan Fox’s last hire at The Madison Club before then-executive chef Fox left to open Heritage Tavern. Struebing, who grew up in Grafton and went to culinary school in Milwaukee, then worked for four years under chef Andrew Wilson before stepping into the executive chef role two years ago. He oversees all culinary operations for The Madison Club, which hosts weddings, events, lunches, dinners and meetings for members and guests.
The vibe: Struebing brings an inventive, Latin cuisine-inspired style to an upscale dining experience at Churchill’s Restaurant & Lounge, the Club’s upstairs venue, which offers a breathtaking view of Lake Monona. The club’s charming Victorian B&B vibe (be sure to take the slightly creaky winding staircase up to the restaurant) is matched by incredible service and beautifully plated dishes featuring a variety of local products. The Club also underwent a renovation to redo the downstairs bar and add a two-story glass atrium roof over the back patio, offering a bigger space for weddings. The spaces are expected to be open June 18.
The menu: Churchill’s serves lunch and dinner, featuring classic options ranging from casual to fine dining, including seasonal salads, steaks, a signature Madison Club sandwich and sustainable fish specials. As a member of REAP Food Group’s Buy Fresh, Buy Local program, The Madison Club is a strong supporter of local food. Struebing incorporates Latin flavors into many dishes as well as his favorite ingredient, ramps. He uses pureed ramp leaves to give the mole sauce served with Fox Heritage Farms rack of lamb a spicy kick. “I like the bold flavors, the intensity, the spice,” he says.
The must-try: While there are numerous stars on Struebing’s regular menus , there is also plenty to rave about among the offerings from the pastry team headed by Judy James – it’d be criminal not to order the citrus trio dessert featuring a lemon tartlet, key lime cheesecake and blood orange sherbet. But setting up a Chef’s Table dinner allows Struebing to really flex his creative culinary muscle. He might start the intimate dinner (that seats up to six) with an off-the-wall taco – one he’s made in the past featured country-fried beef cheek, Satsuma orange salsa, crispy pig ears and charred avocado on a homemade tortilla.
The bottom line: This dining experience feels exclusive, because it is. Information on membership (which includes a centennial special celebrating the Club’s 100th year in its East Wilson Street location) can be found on The Madison Club’s website. The initial investment is worth the local fare on par with Madison’s better restaurants.
5 E. Wilson St., 255-4861
Andrea Behling is managing editor of Madison Magazine.
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