Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Restaurant: Fresco

Just for fun, a picture of us when we first started dating.

Aaron's anniversary/Valentine gift to me was dinner at Fresco, followed by a dessert tasting with their pastry chef. He got the idea when we were walking down State St. one day and saw a sign for "Fresco: Rooftop Restaurant and Lounge." We both said, hey cool, and kept walking.

Aaron (and most of my friends) know that I have a thing about reading menus before I go somewhere to eat. I get upset if there isn't a menu available online because I like to read the whole thing before I go. Part of this is probably because I don't eat meat, so I want to make sure there is something I will be able to order... but partly its just because I like reading about food and usually at a restaurant you are expected to talk to the people at your table and choose a dish quickly, not read every word of the menu. For my card, Aaron printed the Fresco menu and gave it to me on Sunday so I could adequately prepare for last night (unfortunately the menu is seasonal and had changed a bit from the one posted online. Come on, update that shit).

Anyway, off we went to Fresco, which is above the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The walls surrounding the small restaurant are all window, so we got to see the sky change from blue to black during our dinner.

Aaron picked out a bottle of cabernet and our server, Erin, took away those yucky white wine glasses and brought us the correct glasses to enjoy it in. Erin did a great job all night, especially getting the bacon left out of the mussels, which we had as our appetizer. This was one time you wouldn't need a lot of sauce surrounding the mussels, as the parmesan-cream was very rich and coated the mussels perfectly. Yum.

For dinner, I ordered whitefish, which came with diced potatoes, green beans and a smudge of a delicious sauce I can't remember the name of. Everything was perfectly cooked and seasoned. The only critique I have is that I wished there was more of whatever was on top of the whitefish (some pear-ish looking thing). The few bites I had of it with the whitefish were amazing!

Aaron had a hard time deciding on his dinner, because Fresco is definitely the kind of restaurant where you wish you could eat more so you could order one of everything on the menu. He eventually decided on the Valentine's Special: Surf and Turf. And what a good choice. Anyone had crab mashed potatoes? They were unbelievable, I wish I could eat them every day until I die.

It also came with garlic poached shrimp, filet mignon, and asparagus, all of which tasted great, but we were both in love with the crab mashed potatoes. When our plates were (almost) cleaned, we were both very satisfied.

I gave Aaron his anniversary gift, a card with bacon on it (handmade in Milwaukee)! Inside, tucked in the string, was a reminder card for the massage I scheduled for him today after work. He has been talking about wanting a massage for months and especially has been complaining about his back after moving (cough- get movers- cough).

Even though we were going to a dessert tasting, Aaron wanted to order something from Fresco's dessert menu. He chose the cranberry creme brulee with candied pecans and an orange slice. I've never had a fruit based creme brulee before, but I highly recommend it. Wonderful flavor and the deep red/pink of the top made it nice to look at too.

After our wine was finished, we got espresso shots, which aren't usually something to write home about. Its pretty standard. But after the normal nutty bite, Fresco's espresso had a shocking citrusy aftertaste. I say shocking because I wasn't sure what was going on in my mouth, haha, very good.

We decided to sit at the bar for a little bit and work up an appetite before the dessert tasting, which gave us a chance to try their cranberry mojito and do some great people watching. The best were the couples dressed in matching pink. And deciding which couples would get married depending on their wine choices. And don't even get me started on the black dress with a pink heart cut into the chest.

The mojitos were ok, we still prefer to make them ourselves so we can control the amount of club soda and add extra mint. For a bar, they were definitely drinkable and I can see us going to Fresco in the summer to get a mojito and walk around the rooftop garden.

Finally, we wandered downstairs and into the Overture Center for the dessert tasting. The 5 mini desserts were paired with a moscato dessert wine. Bleeeh, who invented dessert wine and why do people drink it? With the sweet desserts, I definitely would have preferred some contrast in my wine. The first sip was bearable and even tasty, but after that it was just like drinking pure sugar. Neither of us finished our glass.

The desserts were all good, but the one that stood out for both of us was a lemon-vanilla panna cotta with blueberry sauce. Why have I never had panna cotta before??? It was like a little jiggly cloud of heaven, which I hope comes back into my life soon.

All in all, we had a great night and hopefully can make it back to Fresco again, when the upcoming wedding isn't strangling our budget so much. Unfortunately, I woke up with a stomach ache from all of the sugar.

Check out Fresco's Website for some pictures.


  1. Sounds like a very fun and relaxing place to enjoy a wonderful meal and time together!

  2. Come eat breakfast at the Hilton where we have orange vanilla yogurt panna cotta shot glasses on our breakfast buffet!

  3. yum orange vanilla, sounds amazing!