I hadn’t been to Madison, Austin Hu’s restaurant in Shanghai, since this past February, and then it relocated and was closed a while for renovations. So on a chilly night this past week, with Myra needing a pick-me-up of sorts, we headed to the new Madison, which had re-opened with quite a lot of fanfare. The restaurant (eventually) will be split into a higher-end half (Madison) and its next-door casual cousin (Madi’s), but for the moment, only Madi’s was open for now, serving the menus from both sides. We were craving the sort of midtown comfort food that we were hoping Chef Austin could conjure up.
We ordered mostly from the Madi’s menu, which is more casual (think touched-up snacky appetizers, gourmet sandwiches, and other things like duck fat fries, which you can bet your sweet ass I ordered). Since it was a cold night, we went for the spiced tomato soup (and grilled cheese sandwich). I think Newton wrote one of his laws of motion about it. “Equal and opposite reaction.” Or something.
We cherry-picked a salad from the Madison menu (coppa, burrata, figs and frisée), duck fat fries, bone marrow crostini, a sandwich called duckwood (with roasted duck, pâté, and spicy pickles), and charred broccolini and cauliflower. We were hoping the latter two actually wouldn’t arrive, since we were quite stuffed by the time we were done with the preceding dishes. We ate it anyway.
Needless to say, we also ordered dessert. Or rather, I ordered the spicy hot chocolate that I’d been thirsting for since February.
Since February, I’d tried some of the other notable Western restaurants in Shanghai, at least the ones culturally amalgamated (read: familiarly Western) enough to be comparable to Madison, such as Mr. Willis, his Jing’an offshoot Henkes, Larder, Mr. and Mrs. Bund, 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo, and a few less memorable places. Table No. 1 we’d tried back in February as well, but hadn’t been particularly moved to go back. Our meal at Madi’s, more than anything, was a reminder that there was somewhere to go for upscale comfort food, somewhere I’m looking forward to revisiting (in spite of the price), and that there was somebody trying to do it better in a neighborhood and a city that could use a lot more ‘better’.
Bldg 2, 3 Fenyang Lu (near Huaihai Lu), Shanghai