February 2007 Issue
February's Featured Restaurant
One of the newest fine restaurants in southwest Ohio belongs to a couple with longtime experience in the business: Harriet and George Argue, known for their time running downtown Dayton's late, lamented Mediterra, and for the nearly two decades they've invested in Truffles Cafe and Catering, a popular presence in the city's south suburbs.
Just over a year ago, they opened Madison's Bistro in a Kettering shopping center off Far Hills Avenue, the main drag through town. It's a hidden gem in a part of town hitherto devoid of upscale restaurants, but that hasn't kept folks from finding the place.
They're drawn, perhaps, to Madison's tasty blend of contrasts. In terms of decor, it mixes bright Mediterranean color schemes and a sunny veranda with a cool, dark dining room that's decidedly contemporary. Its wine list is uncomplicated but definitely well-chosen, and its menu offers American fare such as Maryland crab cakes and BBQ meatloaf as well as Greek specialties like moussaka and lamb kebobs at dinner and authentic gyros on the lunch menu.
Underpinning all that is the Argues' Greek-American heritage, which they proudly cite and wisely work into the bistro's aesthetic. But you'd be wrong to pigeonhole Madison's as a Greek restaurant (a rarity in Dayton), and they wouldn't want you to.
Anyway, why would you, with so much diversity on the menu? A large appetizer plate of Prince Edward Island mussels, served with grilled herbed flatbread, set the stage for our meal, followed by a pair of salads that offered their own delights: the spinach salad was served with fresh berries and a truly succulent honey-vanilla vinaigrette dressing; the Madison's House salad was finely chopped and nicely shot through with olives, feta cheese and a zesty Greek dressing.
For the main course, we sampled the herb-roasted Greek chicken, served with subtly flavored orzo pasta and roasted baby carrots (the chicken is free-range, by the way, raised in nearby Xenia). The grilled Angus beef tenderloin was perfectly cooked, and didn't leave much room for the mashed potatoes and green beans on the plate.
The menu is rounded out with a lively range of pastas, prime rib, sandwiches, seafood and burgers - including the spicy feta and olive burger, something we've never seen offered anywhere else, but typical of the sort of pleasant surprise you'll find here. Good enough reason to stop back.
5531 Far Hills Ave., Kettering, Ohio
Tues.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat. 5-11 p.m., Sun brunch 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Reservations accepted. Dinner entrees $7.50-$24