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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Monday, May 20, 2024

Angelic Brewing Co.’s cuisine is wholly crap

The last restaurant I reviewed was Spices, which if memory serves me right, was more about atmosphere than food. The same can be said about the Angelic Brewing Company. 




A brew pub is filled with wood and brass and takes pride in the fact that the customer can see the tanks his or her beer is brewed in. The customer takes a strange pride in the fact that his or her beer is fresh. The customer takes pride in the fact that this beer has won accolades and awards. The customer shares these awards when he purchases the excellent ale. The customer, unfortunately does not always get to take pride in the food served with his or her beverage.  





Angelic Brewing Company 
322 W. Johnson St. 
11 a.m. to 12 a.m. daily 
(out of 5) 
Overall *** 
Food * 
Atmosphere ** 
Service ** 
Dateability ** 
Mediocre pub fare 
Dark and brassy

I recently went out to dinner with one of my friends, his parents and assorted guests. Walking in I quickly recognized the wood-and-brass theme I have noticed at the brew pub in my native Kenosha, Wis., although done here with considerably more class. This left me hoping that the food might also be of a higher class.  


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Nearby, groups of twentysomething men ate nachos and drank beer, families enjoyed platters and attractive young ladies ate pasta. In retrospect, I should have explained to these ladies that such an activity was better pursued elsewhere in Madison, but at the time, I had no experience with the fare at Angelic.  




This flair that Madison restaurants have with presenting international foods is madness and must stop. The African peanut stew at the Angelic Brewery was a watery mess. There was some flavor other than peanut, but nevertheless, I would not pay for this soup myself.  




Along the same lines, The Eldorado grill offers Thai food. Am I wrong in thinking that there is an African restaurant (Buraka) and many Thai places around Madison where far superior dishes of these types are offered? When places like Angelic and Spices offer exotic dishes, it's like a Lacrosse mother attempting to make a Japanese shabu-shabu. It is nearly bound to fail, and the cook won't even know it's wrong. 




Cases in point: the Angelic Fettucine, the Pearly Gates pepperoni pizza and the pork chop dinner. The chicken alfredo fettucine tasted like there were a few too many of Elmer's hooves added; in short, it was gluey and bad. The vegetables were not fresh, and the chicken was mushy. The portion was large and filling, but then again, if you ate this newspaper you would be filled, albeit with paper mach??. No doubt the Five Brothers of the supermarket sauce aisle would approve of this dish.  




Their friend Jack's of the frozen aisle would approve of the Pearly Gates Pepperoni pizza. Do not get me wrong, I love Jack's pizza fresh from my oven approximately 40 minutes after bar time. What I don't love is the prospect of paying nearly twice the price for a similar pizza at a restaurant.  




The pork chops were incredibly dry and served with lukewarm mashed potatoes. I know pork chops are not at all exotic, but I had to mention these because they just weren't good.  




My final gripe with the Angelic pertains to the names of dishes: Pagan Cajun chicken pasta, The Believer roast beef sandwich, The Cloud Nine Club sandwich, The Wicked Chicken, and quite a few more. I know they are 'Angelic,' but names like these should occur in restaurants with more stupid crap on the walls; like Chiles, Hooters or Uncle Moe's Family Feedbag. After all, The Plaza doesn't serve Court burgers or Centre fries or Public Meeting Area brats. The Plaza serves the Plaza burger, brats and fries. The quality is not so high, but at least it is unpretentious. 




The sandwiches and appetizers at Angelic were much better than any of the 'higher class' meals. I ordered the burger and was quite satisfied; I ordered it medium rare and it came medium rare and, as far as size goes, was second only to the Big-Ass burger at State Street Brats. It was well-seasoned and had thick, albeit cardboard-like bacon. The Wicked Chicken sandwich was also nicely done; apparently the person on the grill knew what he or she was doing. Served with home fries, these plates were filling and worth the money.  




The gigantic plate of Idaho nachos (waffle fries with nacho toppings) piled high on a plate comparable to the gut-busting proportions of La Hacienda was well worth $4.75. Eating guacamole, beans, mexican cheese and what was actually a flavorful salsa on waffle fries is not original (see the tater-tot cuisine of Taco John's) but done quite well here. Other appetizers are less of a bargain, but are comparable grease and cheese fests. 




As far as I am concerned, THE reason to go to Angelic is the beer. If I want expensive beer with moderate quality food on Johnson Street, I'm going to go to the Nitty Gritty and watch old people and dorm kids get drunk together. The beer sampler at the Angelic Brewery is by far the most heavenly deal there. For $3.75 you get five 4-ounce cups of beer: stout, pale ale, red, nut brown and a pilsner. All are excellent, but the nut brown and pale ale are simply fantastic. To top it off, the sampler comes on a wooden tray with little name tags and descriptions behind each beer. This is the kind of cornball deal I go to a brew pub for.  




Get the nachos if you want to fill up, and drink 20-ounce trays of beer. Drink them until you feel you're a beer connoisseur, because you will sure never become a food connoisseur eating here.  

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