Taps: 26 / Bottles: 200
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 44 | Reviews: 28 | Display Reviews Only:
3.98/5 rDev -12.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Occupying the space formerly known as the Relish Deli, Brasserie V manages to maintain a comfortable level of casualness and price while offering some pretty ostentatious brews and entrées. Since it opened late last August, I have visited around twenty times, mostly around happy hour for drinks, a few times for dinner, and several times for lunch. I've been largely pleased with the establishment though I consistently find one major flaw stands out...but we'll get to that later.
First, let's talk about the beer. Brasserie V boasts fourteen taps of frequently rotating high end and often obscures brews. Generally one will find 8-10 Belgian offerings, one Brit, one Deutsch, and a handful of well selected regional crafts. Plan on seeing brews from St. Bernie, Des Rocs, Unibroue, Liefmans, Fullers, etc... when you go. Tap prices hover in the $5-$7 range. Expect an overly generous pour.
In addition to its tap lines Brasserie V offers an ever expanding list of bottles. The bottle list is well selected and features rare treats such as Cantillon St. Lamvinus ($42) and Saison d'Epeautre ($18) as well as local favorites like Tyranena Bitter Woman ($4).
Food is another selling point for Brasserie V. Lunch consists of exquisite soups and small but delicious sandwiches, my favorite being the BLT. My only criticism of their lunch menu is that sandwiches are served with chips or pasta salad. I would like to see fries added as an option, even for an up charge.
The rotating dinner menu is more up scale featuring a number of seasonal and local products. I've seen and tasted items such as a seasonal vegetable risotto, duck breast with Door County cherry sauce, Cornish game hen or chicken breast with a wonderful herb rub, and pork tenderloin. Steak Frites and Moules Frites are always an option as well and personally I can't get enough of Brasserie V's frites served in a cone with ample sides of varying aioli. They are wonderful.
Also, for your money you can't beat the cheese plate. $12 dollars buys two a selection of three world renowned cheeses, often locally produced along with Potter's crackers, fresh breads, candied nuts, and herbed olives. Some might argue that chocolate is the ultimate companion to a fine Belgian brew but in my opinion nothing pares better with a funky lambic than a funky slice of Wisconsin goodness.
Now for the part of the review I have been dreading...service. If Brasserie V is trying to mimic the French style of service they are doing a fine job. Particularly a problem at lunch I find that I am often not greeted when I enter, not presented with silverware or water, and not offered a drink for a solid 10-15 minutes time after time after time at Brasserie V. The place can be empty with staff chatting amongst each other and I still can't seem to ever get their attention.
Yes I have had good service, particularly at dinner and when the owner is present, often behind the bar himself. I've also had great service on Sundays; however, more often than not Brasserie V's staff are aloof to the point of rudeness. Their knowledge of beer could use improvement as well, although this has been getting better with time.
That was tough but I had to say it. I'd like to give this place straight 5s across the board but it's just not there yet. Hopefully with time it will be and as long as high quality brews keep flowing, I'll keep going.
Update: 4-4-08 - I'm bumping service from 2 to 3. The staff seems more professional these days and I have received top notch service on my last two visits.
01-31-2008 17:04:43 | More by DaPeculierDane
4.05/5 rDev -11.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Visited on a Tuesday night while in town. I loved this place. It is so rare to find really nice food along with good beer. Brasserie V has that. It is a small, comfortable place - more a restaurant than a bar. The beer selection is excellent. They focus on Belgians and have several on tap. I had a Rochfort 8 (bottle, served in a Rochfor glass), a Three Philosophers (on tap, don't see that often), and a Bell's Kalamazoo Stout (bottle). The food is what makes this place. I had fresh pea soup followed by tagliatelle bolognese. Both were great. My colleague had the cheese board and the mussels. Nice too. For the quality of the food, I think the prices are great.
02-14-2008 12:45:47 | More by citrusjim
4.08/5 rDev -10.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Being a Belgian beer fan this place really hit home for me now only if it was in my back yard would I be in trouble. The old Atlas is a bit narrow but I've never had any trouble getting a beer and finding a place to stand but it would be nice if it was a bit larger with some additional seating.
The quality of the beer is great and the food is just as good. How can you go wrong with a St. Bernardus and a side of frites.
The service is not too bad usually only one bartender but with such a small bar it usually too bad unless the crowd is quite large.
The slection is very nice and seems to be changing quite often to show quality products are being served.
The food at the V is great if you like mussles you'll love the V and they also have a great sandwhich slection and don't forget the cheese tray to have with your beer.
Overall the V is a great place for a good price, have a couple of beers and some frites and call it a night.
12-30-2008 02:14:22 | More by groovy24
4.2/5 rDev -7.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
A: long thin bar with good warm feeling, a few seats at the front window looking out onto Monroe with bar and table seating also, nothing incredibly unusual for atmosphere
Q: beer was served in the appropriate brewery glasses and of the several sampled the quality was good
S: fast and friendly, I initially ordered a Duvel but did not specify the Duvel singel on tap, I was brought a bottle but the server cheerfully took it back and got me the tap even though I should have specified that I wanted the tap
S: good selection, taps included St. Bern Abt, Duvel, Kolsch Petrus Aged Pale, St. Bern Wit and several others, bottled selection was extensive with a great mix but nothing incredibly unusual, just a lot of depth
F: grilled portobello sandwich for $8.50 with a side chickpea salad serving that was approximately two tablespoons in size (really?), my friend had the grilled ham and cheese for $9.00 with pub chips, food was good but nothing outstanding
V: Petrus aged pale tap = $7.50
Duvel Singel tap = $7, Reissdorf Kolsch tap = $6 and St. Bernardus Wit tap = $6
value for food was ok but nothing special, value for taps was average however some bottles 3F Schaarbeekse for $45/750ml was decent considering in stores it's going for $36, probably didn't want the typical markup because it would just sit
09-03-2011 19:49:56 | More by wisrarebeer
4.2/5 rDev -7.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
i have apparently overlooked commenting on the brasserie, which is certainly a major addition to the beer-map in madison
the most recent time i visited was this past sunday for brunch and an enormous portion of st bernardus 12 (easily 12-16oz, a huge chalice filled to the brim)
this joint is pretty anonymous from the exterior and you likely would not notice it unless you were specifically seeking it out or were familiar with the monroe street hood. its narrow with bright modern wood and artsy european photography on the walls. the bar is moderate size with room for about 10 and the kitchen is open, in the back.
service has always been spotty, but i can overlook this if served overflowing massive chalices
if you dont like the selection, you dont like belgian beer. st bernardus 12, Abbaye Des Rocs , chimay, allagash, delirium, piraat, duchesse and a number of others all on tap. there are typically a few american stragglers from anchor, bells, etc. the bottle list is long and contains all the nogne beers you can desire in this market and tons of other belgians. 2nd best beer selection to maduro, if not the best
the food is good - i can vouch for solid lunch and brunch options but have never come in for dinner. i have enjoyed the belgian waffles and biscuits/gravy and the lady seemed to like the crab cake benedict.
prices are somewhat steep but its all relative. st bernardus 12 ran me $7 but it was a massive portion and seemed like a steal...most taps run 6-7$ and are all served in proper glassware
04-20-2008 02:07:15 | More by dirtylou
4.28/5 rDev -6.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
2011: GTMW '11 pre-party.
Arrived at peak time during the event, and were seated within 15 minutes for dinner. Service was a bit better than last time, though the crowd slowed things down a little. The main draw was draft Fou'Foune, then we learned it was an 8 oz. pour for $12. Oh well, splurge once in awhile... most other drafts were in the $6-8 range. Dinner service was good, the food was pretty tasty. Highlights were the steak sandwich and smoked salmon appetizer, lowlight was the bacon avocado BLT, which was mostly bread. The beer list was well organized by style, with price, abv, and tasting notes. Three Cantillon selections and a handful of traditional Lambics, along with a host of obscure imports and US micros. Definitely a popular beer destination in Madison.
05-05-2008 B+ / 3.98
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$$
Stopped here after securing a ticket for the Great Taste, on a Sunday afternoon.
Cozy and intimate interior, soft colors, some art on the walls. Nice wooden bar with a rail below. Sizable glassware shelf and bottle display above the bar. Boards listed some seasonal bottles and cheese plate offerings.
They were serving brunch, and there was a good crowd around 1pm. On the menu were several varieties of eggs benedict, the crab and salmon ones were especially good although the side of potatoes were chewy to the point of being inedible.
Service was fairly quick, but the young bartender seemed a little aloof with requests for the usual things. Others in my group (seated at the other end of the bar) had better service, and offered samples even.
Focus on Belgian beer, 12 or so taps of quality imports. Bottle selection had a few gems, such as Mikkeller and Nøgne Ø. Recommended if Belgian beer is your thing... but Maduro and Malt House smoke them in terms of overall selection.
05-05-2008 14:51:00 | More by emerge077
4.36/5 rDev -4.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$$
This place is right near my buddies house and wow does he have a great albeit pricey place right down the street.
I was in Brussels a few weeks ago and this really reminds me of a Belgian bar. The bartender, who was actually super young looking and probably just over 21 was enjoying a beer as he worked. That is the way it should be.
Most of what you will find here is rare Belgian beers. I first tried to order a Fou Foune but they were out. I noticed a lot of rarities in the bottle menu and they were also pretty damn expensive. They had a nice cheese list which I should have tested but didn't.
The service, selection, and atmosphere here are hard to beat, this might be the best place in Madison I can reccomend.
08-14-2011 14:49:59 | More by crossovert
4.39/5 rDev -3.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$$
Was in Madison for the Great Taste of the Midwest and heard rumors that Fou Foune was being tapped here so we headed over as fast as possible. To our luck we got there in time to have a glass before it tapped out.
Overall I was very impressed with the place. Great atmosphere, the place was packed we had to stand at the bar because there were absolutely no seats available. The bartender was very knowledgeable and friendly. The tap list was really solid with a lot of quality Belgium beers. We were there for the Fou Foune so we didn’t even have a chance to look at the menu to see what the place had to offer.
Overall I liked the bar and will gladly return the next time I’m in Madison.
08-17-2011 05:03:18 | More by Chriscrundwell12
Brasserie V in Madison, WI
99 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.