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Destination Dining: Crystal & Jules

Hometown-style fine dining in Madison

A sweet tribute to owner Andy Richmer’s wife (Crystal) and his late mother (Julie, whom he called “Jules”), this haven of grilled meats and fresh pasta marries Madison’s small-town hospitality with a caliber of fine dining you’d expect to see in a much bigger city. Hometown boy Richmer cut his teeth as a chef at the nearby Belterra Casino before venturing into his own restaurant two years ago, situated in a historic home at the western end of Madison’s main drag. The bones of this old manor show through, but they’ve been brought up-to-date by a makeover that includes sleek shades of gray with red columns that add a punch of color. On the plate, tender housemade pastas sing under sauces redolent of San Marzano tomatoes, cream, white wine, and roasted poblanos. The shrimp-and-crab fondue is a popular prelude, and the oft-ordered Costa Rican New York strip steak bathes in a kicky marinade for three days before getting a quick sear on the grill. The sincerity in the service here is an attitude that flows down from the top; guests are likely to find Richmer himself making the rounds to shake hands and thank them for coming in. Tues.–Thurs. 5–8 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 5–9 p.m. 709 W. Main St., Madison, 812-274-1077, crystalandjules.com

 

While in Madison, check out …

Hinkle’s Sandwich Shop: This Hanover College hangout has mastered the art of the slider. 204 W. Main St., 812-265-3919, hinkleburger.com

Whitehall Bed and Breakfast: The four-course breakfast at this Madison B&B includes steak and dessert. 1229 W. Main St., 812-273-3024, whitehallbb.com

Broadway Hotel and Tavern: The circa-1834 hotel claims the title of oldest tavern in the state. 313 Broadway St., 812-265-2346, historicbroadwayhotel.com

The Falls Restaurant at Clifty Inn: A buffet of country-style favorites pairs with panoramic views of the Ohio River. 1650 Clifty Hollow Rd., 812-273-8885

Cocoa Safari Chocolates: The intoxicating aroma of handcrafted truffles lures shoppers in. 118 W. Main St., 812-273-8800, cocoasafarichocolates.com


Photos by Tony Valainis

This article appeared in the October 2013 issue. See more Destination Dinner stories here.