Another impressive restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin following suit by sourcing from small local farms, Graze serves inspired comfort food in a dramatic space on South Pickney Street. The single room interior is expansive, centered around a giant U-shaped bar backed by cubes of heavy wood shelving. Entire glass walls meet a soaring ceiling to showcase a magnificent view of the capitol building, opposed by bold chalkboard menus that frame the glass paneled kitchen. The space has a decidedly industrial feel, where concrete floors, metal chairs and dangling light bulbs juxtapose glossy wood tabletops with Kelley green legs that pop.
Choose from about 20 bottled and draft beers, Furthermore's Fatty Boombalatty ($4.50) had me doing a double take, (what's in the name?) the bartender described it perfectly as a funky Belgian white meets a crisp pale ale, a 10 oz pour is served in a wine glass. On another night, cocktails get mixed reviews around the table, The Ginger Snap ($8) with ginger vodka, contreau and sparkling wine wasn't at all ginger-y, however the Rosey, Dear ($10) made with Tangueray, green charteruse, lemon, campari and rosemary syrup achieved a better balance of flavors without succumbing to being too sweet.
From the "snacks & shares" section a Soft Pretzel ($4) embedded with crunchy sea salt is the perfect vehicle for a trio of house mustards and an irresistible goat cheese meets butter, Widmers Spread. The Deviled Eggs ($3) are three classic but tasty organic eggs over a thick smear of paprika aioli. Squeaky, hot, melty and incredibly satisfying, the Sassy Cow Cheese Curds ($8) come in a vodka batter with zesty house ranch for dipping. For my entree, the whimsical plate of Fried Chicken and Waffles ($16) appeased with three large drumsticks and a nontraditional flat and thin waffle. The juicy chicken meat encased in a wonderfully crisp, lightly salted and only slightly greasy skin was matched by a refined take on the Belgian style waffle, benefiting from real maple syrup and a spiced compound butter. Evoking comfort through to the very end, my favorite dessert was the plate of Cookies & Sassy Cow Milk ($6) - chocolate chip, with a hint of sea salt, baked to order.