Spent a lunch hour at the Caribou Tavern on E. Johnson Street on the Madison Isthmus. It was a classic Wisconsin Tavern . . . without all the smoke you recall from the past, thanks to new laws.
Open the door, and you have the bar with stools along the left and video poker/slot machines along the right. For a tavern, it seemed to be a bit brighter than expected. Even so, it fit the stereotypes. And it's a pretty comfortable place to go.
This time, it was me, Steve, and Rich. Steve has a history with "the Bou," for sure. It was great to get some of the old stories. That, and be served by the same bartender who used to serve him when he was in college many years ago.
For the test, we got "Bou Burgers." This is a 1/3 pound patty of ground chuck (or, more likely, a lesser mix of ground beef) served on a pillowy, fresh bun. With or without a fresh slice of white onion. Steve went "with." I went without. Rich got cheese instead.
The bun gets the highest possible marks. Soft and airy, but the crust was firm enough to not become a sloppy mess in your hands. It is really the right combo of greasy grilled burger and a bun that can hold it up.
The beef detracted a bit from the sandwich in quality. It was properly cooked, but it didn't match the flavor and quality of the last two burgers we tasted on this blog.
Order it up with a cold Old Milwaukee, though, and you'll be dreaming about how good it was long after you left.
Our ratings on a scale of 10:
Me - 7.5
Steve - 8.5
Rich - 7.5
Worth the trip. And super-handy if you have some laundry to do. A coin laundry is conveniently next door!