First Impressions: Jordandal Cookhouse

The recycled wood on the main sign is a nice, homey touch. Photo by The Conscientious Omnivore (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

For some time now, Jordandal Farms has been one of our favorite sources for humanely and sustainably raised local meats. They’ve also been producing frozen soups, stews, pasties, and other prepared foods that are sold at their farmers’ market stand and a few other spots (like Metcalfe’s). Now they’ve expanded their enterprise to include takeout food in Verona.

As Derek Spellman reports for The Verona Press,

Photo by The Conscientious Omnivore (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Good. Healthy. Quick. That’s the brand behind Jordandal Cookhouse, the local farm-fresh take-out restaurant that Carrie Johnson opened earlier this month at 600 W. Verona Avenue.

“Simple home-cooking, high quality meat,” Johnson said in an interview last week about what the city’s newest takeout eatery has to offer.

Cookhouse offers everything from Cajun chili dogs to pan-fried pork cutlets to grilled cheese. The meat comes from the farm that Johnson and her husband, Eric, operate seven miles east of Argyle, while other products are locally sourced.

As the Cookhouse website describes,

Chef Jason Veal (formerly of The Madison Club) has joined our team and has created wonderful sandwiches, small plates, specials, soups, and desserts. All of the meat used at The Cookhouse, we raise here at Jordandal Farms and source as much local products as possible. Cheese from Brunkow, Fayette. Bread from Stalzy’s, Madison. Ice Cream from Calliope, Madison. Milk from Sassy Cow Creamery, Sun Prairie. Vegetables from many fellow market vendors. Desserts and sides are made in house, even the pickle that accompanies your dish.

J and I stopped by over the weekend to sample some of their offerings, and came away very impressed, very full, and eager to return. Chef Veal greeted everyone who came through the door warmly and graciously. While we perused the menu board, he packaged up meals for some other folks. When it was our turn to order, he sold us both on the Memphis-style special, which turned out to be a great choice. As usual, the Jordandal meats were succulent and flavorful. The home-pickled carrots (which had some kick) and dill pickles were lovely, the BBQ sauce delicious, and the heaping serving of cheese so generous that we ended up with leftovers. The raw-milk white cheddar was particularly creamy-licious and perfectly complemented the Polish sausage. While we waited for our food (it takes 5 minutes or so, though you’re welcome to call in your order), we shared a side order of sweet-potato salad with bacon in a vinegar-based dressing; it was groan-worthy good. We also picked up a sausage-and-pepperoni pizza from the freezer case that made for a quick and easy meal the next night. I don’t know about healthy, but everything sure tasted wonderful!

The Cookhouse is located in a little strip mall just west of Michael’s Frozen Custard on Verona Ave. If you’re in the Madison area, I strongly encourage you to make the short drive to Verona and check out Jordandal Cookhouse soon and often.

UPDATED 10/07/2012: Kyle Nabilcy recently reviewed the Cookhouse over at Isthmus. It’s quite a rave, so check it out here.

Memphis-style sausage & cheese special: double-smoked Polish sausage, yellow and raw-milk white cheddar, house pickles, and BBQ-rib toast. Photo by The Conscientious Omnivore (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

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