Madison’s 1212 is Calgary’s newest restaurant located in Inglewood. The concept of Madison’s 1212 is craft nachos, salads, and drinks (cocktails and beers). Centered in the vibrant neighborhood of Inglewood, Madison’s 1212 is a
“A community focused and community funded restaurant… A beautiful space for people to gather, create, enjoy, share, and become inspired.”
I chanced upon Madison’s 1212 as I was walking through Inglewood to take photos. What caught my eye is the patio. The patio faces the main street and is very wide and open. The different trees and planters of flowers, combined with the patio furniture, gives the restaurant an inviting vibe. In fact, it almost feels as if you are sitting on a friend’s patio. The ambiance is laid back and relaxed, which is something I appreciate.
For the moment, the menu is a “soft launch menu” with only 3 nachos and 3 salad options. All items have the option of being vegetarian and you can substitute the meat for tofu.
Based on the decor, a quick look at the menu, and my interaction with the staff, I immediately liked the place. I think it is great that Calgary has a craft nachos concept restaurant.
pork carnita (we opted out),
Madison’s Sunset Martini: vodka, amaretto, cassis, pineapple juice & lime juice, 2 oz $9.00
Fernie Brewing Project 9 $6.75
The nachos are served on a cafeteria style cookie sheet, exactly like the ones at Hayden’s Block. While cute, I think that the presentation of the nacho chips are a bit lackluster, especially considering their side plates are prettier than the cookie sheet. I can appreciate the casual presentation but when I think of craft nachos, I think more aesthetic plating can help augment the presentation.
The tortillas chips are very tasty, with a nice salty flavor, complimenting the other toppings. In addition, the enchilada sauce sprinkled on top of the nachos is incredibly flavourful. What I like about the martini is that it did not have an overpowering vodka taste. The cassis and amaretto are a nice addition. However, I did not taste any pineapple or lime juice. In addition to that, I felt that my martini was very carbonated (from the club soda). Instead of a martini, it felt like I was drinking sangria, or “grown up” juice (although aren’t most cocktails technically grown up juice 😉 )
While the tortillas chips and enchilada sauce are tasty, I feel that the nachos missed the mark of being craft nachos. When they arrived they were a bit cold and the cheese hardened to the chips. When I think nachos, I envision cheesy goodness. It would be nice to have melted cheese on the nachos instead of crispy cheese. Furthermore, I believe that the toppings are added onto the nachos after they are baked, rather than being baked all together at once. While some people may enjoy that style, I prefer the toppings to be baked with the chips, thus maintaining some warmth to the food as well as having softer toppings to munch on.
For the serving size, $14.00 is a bit pricey for nachos and the vegetarian option (no tofu) doesn’t change the price. The portion size is good to share between two people but is too little for three.
As for the drinks, the cocktails and beers are very reasonably priced. At around $9.00 for a 2oz cocktail, you can’t go wrong. If alcohol isn’t your drink of choice, they have a selection of coffees and matcha drinks!
Madisons 1212 is a great concept to add to Calgary’s culinary scene. However, I think there are a few things that can be improved.
As mentioned, it would be nice to have melted cheese, especially when using a great cheese like pepper jack. When it hardens, you lose out on the flavor payoff. Furthermore, it would be nice to have more of the enchilada and Greek yogurt sauces. Rather than sprinkle it on top of the nachos, perhaps they can offer them on the side. I say this because I absolutely loved the sauces and felt it was such a shame to only have a little bit to eat with nachos.
The service is wonderful at Madison’s and I get the impression it is family run (I could be wrong). Although the service is great, I felt that it took some time for the food to come (especially considering there were not many tables), and our drinks came after the nachos.
Overall, I was not especially blown away by the food or drinks at Madison’s 1212. This, by no means, is meant to dissuade you from trying the place out! As a new restaurant, I understand that there are a few kinks to work out along the way. The concept of craft nachos is awesome. Who doesn’t like nachos? Combined with the location, patio, and staff, Madison’s 1212 has a lot of potential. With that being said, quality of food and presentation are important.
I firmly believe that once the ball starts rolling, they launch their complete menu and they get over a few of the bumps, Madison 1212 will be a popular place for people to gather, create, enjoy, share, and become inspired, over a plate of delicious craft nachos.