Midwest Living Review
After only a few short months in business, bistro-style Crystal and Jules is already giving Madison's dining scene some healthy competition with its upscale atmosphere and gourmet farm-to-table cuisine. We stopped in for a midday meal during the first week of the eatery's lunch service. At first impression, Crystal and Jules gives off a ladies-who-lunch vibe, although with a color palette in shades of gray with deep red accents and wrought-iron trims, male diners are likely to feel perfectly comfortable here as well. A well-priced $10 lunch deal includes a salad, pasta or wrap sandwich; side; and drink. Pleasantly, there are no fries or chips; side items consist of mashed potatoes, pasta, sweet potato puree, sauteed veggies, soup or salad. Both the BLT and vegetable wrap were full of tasty fresh ingredients, but the sauteing oil and liquid seeped out of the veggies, making it slightly messy to eat. The wraps were fresh, soft and not a bit chewy. The Caprese pasta salad caused some confusion, but it tasted so good, we didn't mind. The corkscrew noodles lacked any discernible tomato, mozzarella or basil, dressed instead with a garlicky aioli-like dressing and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction. The dinner menu offers steaks, pastas, seafood and such in a $15 to $20 range. This place is off to a great start; however, there are still a few kinks to work out. Our food took a little while to arrive, and drinks were served in Styrofoam to-go cups, which didn't seem in keeping with the otherwise fine-dining environs. Crystal and Jules is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday.