May 24, 2017

Madison's Cafe: Italian and Eclectic Fare in the Capital City

By: Rachel Whalen 

We've done it again! We traveled to the capital city to eat our hearts out (literally). Like our two previous posts, we traveled to a new spot in Missouri to showcase the many options that MO has to offer when it comes to delicious and nutritious beef.Two and one-half blocks from the capitol building, Madison's Cafe offers Italian and eclectic dishes and some personal creations to satisfy everyone in your family's taste buds. 

 Beginning in 1982, Rob Agee and the Madison's crew have been serving up Italian and eclectic fare in a casual yet elegant atmosphere. Since then, it has been updated and expanded many times! The restaurant has a beautiful interior, detailed with beautiful wood work and an open patio in the front, allowing you to enjoy the sunshine (you know how much I love patios). 

Have I mentioned the selection of drinks in this place? One unique feature of the restaurant is the Martini Menu and the great cellared wine list. You can even have your own PRIVATE wine and food pairing event! Have I mentioned how well wine pairs with beef? I didn't get to try this while I was there but I am definitely returning to try it out.  

Taylor and I visited Madison's together and let me tell you, we felt like queens. The table setting was beautiful with a white table cloth and folded napkins. We were greeted by delicious, warm bread and olive oil, and the combination salad. Madison's makes their very own salad dressing in house, and we had the pleasure of tasting the creamy Italian. We were speechless! It was so incredibly delicious, and that was just the beginning.

We had the chance to try four different dishes starting with the American Kobe beef burger. The American Kobe beef comes from a farm near Jefferson City, and is so good that you can eat it with no condiments or veggies! The perfect flavor and perfected cooking techniques, allows for you to enjoy the natural taste of the beef. 

 "The Burnt"  sandwich is an original that was  created by Rob Agee on accident, but you could never tell after tasting it. Rob overcooked a filet mignon steak one day and in order to fix his mistake, he added mushrooms, onions, and provel cheese and introduced an open faced sandwich that has remained a popular menu item ever since.  You can definitely tell Rob is from St. Louis by his love of provel cheese!

We asked Rob if he had a favorite menu item, which led us on the most exciting journey of the visit, new menu items! 

Madison's Cafe has several new menu items, and we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to try one; Prime Beef Hot Lava Rock! The best surprise was that not only did we get to eat it, but we also got to cook it...on a lava rock! 

For this dish, a lava rock is warmed to around 600 degrees and brought to the table along with skewered strips of filet mignon, romesco, smoked sea salt, red pepper aioli, and giardiniera; which is a side of in-house, scratch-made pickled vegetables. 

During our visit, Rob poured olive oil on the lava rock and used a fresh sprig of rosemary to spread the olive oil and season the cooking area. He then placed the skewers of filet mignon directly on the lava rock to cook. The beef was cooked to a preferred temperature, dipped in our choice of romesco or red pepper aioli, and then paired with the giardiniera There were so many flavors going on that we were completely overwhelmed with a flavor explosion (in a good way)!

The simplicity of the dish makes it the perfect appetizer or light meal, especially for a special evening out on the town. 

Just when we thought we had tried everything, we were greeted by one last dish,"Beef Vernaise". It was extraordinary, and even though our bellies were full, the aromas of the dish convinced us to take a few more bites. We are so glad we did! This dish consisted of 8 ounces of filet mignon, smothered in a wonderfully refreshing white wine, butter, lemon, provel sauce, and partnered with shrimp. Its place on the dinner menu makes complete and perfect sense because it is certainly a dish to be enjoyed with a nice glass of wine while relaxing and enjoying a nice evening. 

We got to try four different beef dishes, but there are so many more!  The food was great and the opportunity to sit down with Rob to discuss the details of the food and how they came to be made the experience top notch. For my first experience in Madison's, I could not have asked for a better time, service, and food. I have a feeling Taylor was impressed as well! Madison's is an excellent choice for a lunch date with friends, or a dinner date to celebrate life's greatest moments. 

For more information, visit You can find the menu, catering options, hours, honors, and much more! You'll be glad you did!