Last week, I attended a friends-and-family test dinner of the newly opened THE MADRIGAL from Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group (Trestle, MAMA, The Vault Garden, The Vault Steakhouse). The former Corridor has been transformed into a stylish-yet-comfortable cocktail bar and restaurant, with a curving banquette in the dramatic and high-ceilinged dining area, a spacious bar with an eye-catching arched and illuminated back bar, plus an upstairs mezzanine that will be great for private gatherings or dining room overflow. Designer Carly Rose of Rose Design added a number of visual extras (terrazzo floors, blinged-out wallpaper in the restrooms) and textures, from velvets to soft walnut.
The Madrigal is just across Van Ness from the Symphony and Opera, and the Jazz Center and Orpheum are very close-by, setting itself up as a great spot for a cocktail and a bite before or after a performance. The menu and vibe is more of a modern cocktail bar than a traditional restaurant format, with sharable dishes from Hi Neighbor director of culinary development Joe Humphrey that are designed to accompany cocktails, whether you’re coming in for a dinner date or drinks with friends. Tables can be reserved, while bar seats will remain open seating.
Some highlights on the menu included the spicy grass-fed beef tartare ($18) with smoked oyster cream and Nashville hot fried oysters (so good), and succulent, charred quail tikka masala ($24) with steamed basmati rice, which would be great to share. Salads are just better with duck skin cracklings, especially candied yam and satsuma ones ($12). There’s a Liberty duck smash burger ($15) with Fontina cheese, crispy duck confit, and black truffle mayo, and the unexpected sleeper hit was the trumpet mushroom and squash skewers ($23) with green harissa, the most pillowy warm flatbread, and Mt. Tam fondue (uh huh).
There are 16 well-crafted cocktails ($14-$16) from Mike McCardle on the engagingly designed menu, including my new favorite spin on a Negroni Sbagliato, The Bowie (Cynar, Aperol, cava, sea salt). Get into some holiday spirits with Fancy Pajamas (bourbon, Nonino, spiced quince, black tea, lemon) and the awesome Cold Snaps (vodka, Mr. Black espresso, vanilla, chocolate whip, almond dust)—it’s perfect to have before seeing a show so you stay awake. Many feature nice details and touches—have fun working your way through the menu! The wine list by Lucas Bierbower includes a page of by-the-glass selections (mostly Old World, with a couple California picks) that are all priced at $14 per glass, plus four local beers on draft. Open Tue-Sun 3pm-close (kitchen is open 4pm-9pm, with a limited late-night menu from 9pm-11pm). 100 Van Ness at Fell.
The dining room has a dramatic, sweeping style. Photo: © tablehopper.com.