Last week, I finally had the opportunity to dine at Bud & Marilyn’s, the American restaurant known for its delectable comfort food. I made my way downtown excited to try the stunning funfetti cake I had seen on Instagram countless of times, the authentic Wisconsin cheese curds and just about everything else I had seen or heard about via social media, press and friends. As soon as I opened the restaurant door, I eagerly awaited my meal with the highest of expectations.
Simply put, I was underwhelmed by the quality of the food. While I commend the quick and hospitable service, I cannot get over my disappointment with the meal itself. Everything from the appetizers, to the main course, to the dessert just lacked inspiration and creativity. I did not find myself wanting more of any dish or gushing at the juicy flavor of any single item. I've reviewed some of Bud & Marilyn's supposedly best items, so that you don't have to.
The Crispy Cheese Curds
I began with the crispy cheese curds that the waiter said were a must-try. I understand we are not in Wisconsin, the home of the cheese curd, but I did expect something more flavorful at the least. What I received were about twenty bite-sized curds that were more nauseating than tasty. After trying one, I refused to eat any more. I felt as though I was eating goops of plain cheddar cheese. The crispiness did not add much texture to the dish. And the guajillo chile salsa and burnt scallion ranch dressing on the side seemed rather out of place, not pairing seamlessly at all. I thought that maybe I was just not a cheese curd fan, and that the rest of the meal would pleasantly surprise me, but I was wrong.
The Watermelon and French Feta Salad
Next up on the meal was the Watermelon and French Feta Salad. I typically would not order a salad at a place like this, but the waiter highly recommended it, and everything else was fried and unhealthy, so it seemed like a nice balance. The salad was not bad; it was probably the best thing I had all night, which to me, someone who does not crave a healthy salad, made me rather upset. If I wanted a tasty salad, I would choose a different restaurant, not one that prides itself on unique comfort food. Anyways, the watermelon and feta worked well with the arugula and radish, and it was paired with a light and airy pistachio-lemon dressing that contained a nice punch. I should have stopped at this salad, but silly me I decided to order the fried chicken.
The Fried Chicken
Marilyn’s Fried Chicken is a ½ bird served alongside warm biscuits and salted honey butter, zucchini pickles and a house-made hot sauce. I also ordered the herbed butter and chives mashed potatoes as a side to accompany the chicken. While it was not the worst fried chicken I’ve ever had, it certainly was not the best. The white meat was rather dry, and I did not taste the succulent flavor of the drumstick I normally would. I would have loved some gravy to dip the chicken and mashed potatoes in, as the hot sauce did not do the trick for me. And while the biscuits were a nice southern touch, they were missing their sweet, fluffy nature. Furthermore, the salted butter fell flat, not adding anything to the already-bland biscuit.
The Funfetti Cake
Lastly, for dessert, I ordered their signature funfetti cake. This had to be great, I kept telling myself. The waiter placed the ginormous slice of cake on the table, and I immediately dug into my first bite. For lack of a better word, it was downright boring. It was not sweet enough, did not have any texture to it, and should have been accompanied with a sauce or something that would have added more flavor to it. I kept eating it, hoping to discover new tastes, but eventually I had to put my fork down. The cake was the ultimate disappointment to my already lackluster meal.
Maybe Monday nights are not Bud and Marilyn’s finest, but if you don’t want to waste your time eating bland, tasteless comfort food, I suggest you go somewhere else on any day of the week.