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Ocean Grill
Ocean Grill will serve a 17th century Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 9th.

After many delays, the Underground Kitchen, which spun off the highly-regarded Underground Food Collective, opened last week in the space previously occupied by Cafe Montmartre, at 127 E. Mifflin St., just off Capitol Square.

The layout is the same, but it’s been spruced up and much lighter since its brick walls were painted white; the decor could be described as reclaimed minimalist. The menu will change frequently, reflecting the owners’ commitment to using seasonal, locally produced ingredients. Eight beers are on tap, with 16 wines and eight specialty cocktails. Eventually, a deli will open in the room that was previously Cafe Momo’s “Sidecar” special events room.

A Japanese restaurant, A*Sakura, opened Oct. 9 at 5401 Caddis Bend Road, in Fitchburg. Sushi, sashimi, teriyaki and hibachi are on the menu.

A fourth Panchero’s Mexican Grill opened Oct. 11 at 402 S. Gammon Road. Company officials say plans to open two more franchises in Madison in the future are in the works as well.

Wasabi on State Street has a new next-door neighbor: Pepe’s Casa on State, at 449 State St., which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a late menu Thursday through Saturday. Although it’s described as “casual American dining” there are a number of Mexican items.

More incentives to go into scientific research were announced recently. Two new Food Fight restaurants will open at the new Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, which is scheduled to open in December in the 1300 block of University Avenue. Aldo’s Cafe, named for Aldo Leopold, a casual bakery, cafe and coffee shop, will open in December. A full-service restaurant and bar, Steenbock’s on Orchard, named for UW-Madison biochemistry professor Harry Steenbock, will open in March. It will contain a “preservation kitchen” which will make it possible to serve locally sourced vegetables and meats year-round.

Other Food Fight action includes presenting a 17th century Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 9 at Ocean Grill, 117 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., beginning with cocktails at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $100, with 55 percent of the proceeds going to Second Harvest Foodbank. The menu includes ballotine of duck, pork tenderloin sous vide, salt-crusted whole roast cod, succotash and “seethed” mussels. Call 285-2582 for reservations.

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