April 2, 2012
By Peter Lameka
I met three friends at Hamburger Mary’s around 6:30pm recently. Our ages ranged from 27 to 52. We went to sample the burgers to add a carnivore’s perspective to the this publication’s Hamburger Mary’s restaurant review.
The menu states that the burgers are made of 100% natural “humane” Angus. The owners put the quotes around “humane.” Not me. I didn’t ask what that meant.
I ordered the Sloppy Mary and was happily surprised by the burger, and the chili too. Both were great. The burger was perfectly done, medium; the chili was nicely spiced and not too salty. I didn’t think I would be able to eat the whole thing, but I did. I had a side of coleslaw that smacked of the mass produced. It didn’t hold up to the quality of the burger and chili. Rating: 8 (for burger and chili).
One of my companions ordered the Barbara-Q Bacon Chzburger. It comes with onion rings piled on the sandwich, plus barbeque sauce, cheddar and jack cheese. “The barbeque sauce had just the right amount of sweetness. The onion rings could have been a little crisper, but were still decent. The fries were average,” she wrote via email after she got home. Rating: 9.
Another of my companions ordered the Buffy (The Vampire Slayer) that is topped with a red wine sauce, Swiss cheese, and a lot of aioli sauce (garlic mayonnaise) served on a garlic toasted bun. She was a bit wary of the garlic but ordered it anyway. “It’s not too garlicky!” she yelled gleefully, above the too loud music, after the first bite. Rating: 8
The sliders were very ordinary. Rating: 2
The service didn’t hold up to the burgers. I am willing to give anyone a must-be-having-a-bad-day pass, but our service was dismal. When I ordered a beer that was listed on the menu, our waiter challenged me. He didn’t recognize it and tried to tell me they didn’t stock it. Ironically, not only was it on the menu, but it’s brewed about a mile away from the restaurant. After the food arrived, the waiter disappeared. Two requests for a glass of water were ignored. Like I said, he must have been having a bad day, or maybe he was new.
The crowd was a mix of adults of all ages, and children.
A boost in service will put Hamburger Mary’s on the map. And we all agreed we’d go back. We liked our burgers.
Also, the recycled/recyclable paper take-home container was an instant hit.
Read a vegetarian’s perspective here.
April 2, 2012
By Linda Fausel
Boffo. Campy. Kitsch. So describes the décor at one of Bay View’s newest eateries, Hamburger Mary’s. Find it on the corner of Bay Street and Kinnickinnic Avenue, in the former Omega Burger location.
Started in 1972 in San Francisco, this franchise-friendly chain has 11 locations and dubs itself “the only national franchise actively marketing to the gay community.” Activities include “MaryOke,” hamBINGO, and drag shows.
From the fringe lamps, red-tasseled curtained windows, checkered floor, plastic palm trees, and silver disco ball hanging over the middle-of-the-room stage, to the dolls in the rafters and the glitter on the floor, the environment at Hamburger Mary’s ranks high on the tomfoolery scale. Known for its burgers, there are 11 half-pounders and three “premium” burgers listed on the menu, most for $10.50 and up. They certainly sound enticing.
Not interested in beast? Diners can switch out any of the “Humane Angus” burgers for chicken, turkey, or a burger made with black beans.
Where’s the Spice?
Waiters walk around in red T-shirts that say, “Tasty Meat” and “Hot Buns.” If only it were true. The “Spicy Mary” black bean burger was anything but. The bun never saw the grill and the whole mushy mess crumbled on first bite. Sliced jalapeño and Pepper Jack cheese did little to make it sizzle.
The Big Kahuna Hawaiian burger, according to my dining mate, was big but not great. “There are better burgers in Bay View,” said this self-proclaimed aficionado, “at a more appropriate portion size and for probably less than $10.”
Around here it is not unusual to hear the words “deep fried” and “pickle” in the same sentence, so we loved ordering the “Britney Fried Spears.” And while they were deliciously crunchy with a divine dipping sauce, $5.50 for five simple spears left us feeling sour.
But there is much to choose from in this zany house of foodie frivolity.
“Sammies” on the menu include the Cran-Chicken Salad Sammie, which is Mary’s “secret” recipe: chicken breast, dried cranberries, green onion, and a “hint of tarragon” on choice of bread for $9. There is the Mama Mia Grilled Cheese (three cheeses with Roma tomatoes and fresh basil on garlic bread) for $8.25, or, the Cap’N and Taneal Fish Sammie (hand-battered cod fillets with cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tartar sauce on a brioche bun) for $9.50. The list goes on.
Aside from the Homewrecker Plate, a “rather large” smoked kielbasa, mashed potatoes, and a fried soft pretzel with sauerkraut and stone ground mustard ($12); and Loaded Mac-N-Cheese, mixed with red onions, red peppers, diced tomatoes and green peas, topped with a “pile of crispy onion strings” ($10); you will recognize more traditional entrees such as fried chicken, meatloaf, and fish-n-chips.
Desserts also scream fun. (No trans fat in the fryers, according to Mary, but OMG!) Try the Fried Twinkie Treat, three deep-fried crème cakes with raspberry sauce and whipped cream for $5 (You won’t have to wait till August!), or the Mary Tyler S’Mores, graham crackers, marshmallows, and Hershey’s chocolate melted over “Mary’s lil’ campfire.”
Dinner is over and you want the check? Peek inside the four-inch high-heel shoe the waiter just dropped off on your table.
Hamburger Mary’s is open from 11am to 10pm and offers a full bar, with a late-night menu 10pm-midnight Thursday through Saturday. Brunch is served from 10am to 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays. That includes $2 mimosas.
2130 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
Read a carnivore’s review of Hamburger Mary’s here.
September 29, 2011
By Linda Fausel Photos by Sandy Dean
A feeling of elegance envelopes patrons in search of sustenance as they step across the threshold into Chez Jacques, Milwaukee’s distinguished French bistro on the city’s south side.
Pronounced “shay jocks” for the non-Francophiles among us, Chez Jacques translates to “at or in the home of Jacques.” That would be chef and owner Jacques Chaumet, who was born in France and opened Jacques French Café a few blocks away on Second Street in 2001 before moving to the larger, current Chez Jacques location on First Street in 2007.
Berets off to the sweet lace curtains hanging in the green plant-filled windows, and blue-striped awnings on the off-white, one-floor stucco structure, formerly the Forelle Fish Netting company in the heart of what once was Milwaukee’s southernmost industrial district. But the inside of this dining destination—arched doorways, stone-tiled floors, and tin ceilings—is what resolutely fascinates the senses.
Soft beige and apricot walls adorned with twinkling lights, ornately-framed paintings, weathered wrought iron, and old photographs complement the dark wooden tables and cleverly-lit bar, providing an aura of European ambiance that inspires appetites and imaginations.
Chez Jacques delights the eyes and equally tantalizes the palate with wonderful dishes and desserts that appear to come straight from a kitchen countertop in France. Whether it is breakfast, with freshly baked croissants, savory crepes, quiches, and omelets; or lunch, Bouché D´escargots (puffed pastry with French snails), Crab Cakes à l´ancienne (crab cakes with old-style, coarse-grained mustard), Fromage de chèvre à la Provençale (baked goat cheese with tomatoes, garlic, and basil) and Moules Marinières (steamed mussels in white wine, garlic, and shallots cream sauce); or dinner, (including the spectacular Onion Soup Gratinee), you will find something amazing here.
Rich, distinctive parsley-seasoned potato soup is served in a fat ceramic cup on a delicate paper doily. A duo of tender, lightly browned spinach crepes, blanketed in creamy Roquefort and sprinkled with parsley and toasted pine nuts, proves to be divine, but too much for someone who (witlessly) devoured piece after piece of scrumptious chunky-sliced bread and butter. Coffee and delectable Mousse au Chocolat bring the meal to an oh-so-delicious close.
Stroll to the back part of the restaurant to visit the outdoor wine garden and mural depicting the story of how Chez Jacques came to be. Walk past the regal, 20-plus-seat table in a room reminiscent of days gone by. The petite, yellow chickadee sitting in a swing in a small white bird cage hanging in one corner of the room is just one of the many personal touches you will find at the magical Chez Jacques. Price range: From $3 to $14 for breakfasts; $7 to $20 for lunches; $7.50 to $25 for dinners.
1022 S. First St.
September 1, 2011
By Linda Fausel
A gooey garden medley at Hi-Fi Café. ~photo Sandy Dean
Plastic, sparkly silver window art sways to the late afternoon breeze blowing through the open door at Bay View’s Hi-Fi Café. Time doesn’t stand still here, but it appears to wane amid the Formica® tabletops, magazines, oversized plastic serving ware, ceramic ashtrays, and old records. With a fan circling lazily overhead, and the oddly familiar, mix-matched furniture, Hi-Fi feels like that neighborhood place from childhood, the one where you left your library book—or a stranger would front you 35 cents.
A few dimes and a nickel won’t buy much these days. But at Hi-Fi, sandwiches—comfort cuisine right along with the trendy fodder—are under $10, so your change still goes pretty far. (The most expensive breakfast item, for example, is Eggs Benedict at $8). While you won’t find French fries, garlic mashed potatoes are listed on the menu under “Snacks.” (They also come with some sandwiches). Like the pizza sauce, the potatoes are “homemade,” and can be ordered with cheddar, bacon, or sour cream hollandaise sauce.
With a wide variety of meat and vegetarian options, breakfast items, soups, and salads (including Japanese Ginger Salad) it would be difficult not to find something appealing and reasonably priced at Hi-Fi Café.
Beverages include locally-brewed beer, teas, specialty drinks (Rose Water Lemonade), and coffees (Turkish Espresso), and even a Sprecher root beer float.
On a recent visit, the Toasty Veggie Baguette ($8) was tasty, but it arrived sans baguette(!), instead gently blended with dill and melted on a soft, white flour pita. Creamy Havarti cheese (brushed with mayo and Dijon mustard) was smothered under ripened summer jewels: green pepper, slivers of red onion, skinny-sliced cucumber, baby spinach, topped by crunchy sprouts and ruby tomatoes. It came with a generous portion of locally-baked, crispy-thick, golden “El Sol” tortilla chips. The Butter Cup ($3.75)—espresso, steamed milk, chocolate syrup, and peanut butter (delicious!)—doubled as both beverage and dessert.
A button at the Hi-Fi counter leaves the customer with this playful admonition: “God knows when you don’t tip.”
Hi-Fi is updating its menu. The prices in this article were accurate at press time but are subject to change.
What is your favorite Hi-Fi sandwich and why? Tell us: email@example.com.
2640 S. KK
July 31, 2011
By Linda Fausel, Photos by Sandy Dean
Chips vs. Slaw
Red and green cabbage and carrot chopped wispy thin, delicate ramen noodles integrated with tiny bits of scallion and savory peanuts, infused with rice-wine vinegar and sesame oil—wholesome, aesthetically-appealing goodness in a sweet little dish for $2.50.
Both appetizers have strong followings, according to the waitress, and many customers order one-half of each to avoid choosing.
Which do you prefer, chips or slaw?
Tell us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lulu Café & Bar
July 29, 2011
By Linda Fausel
Dare to resist—salty and hot, slightly left of the center on the crispy meter, deep fried to an auspicious hue, with a kaleidoscope of delectable dipping sauces—the thin and seductively satisfying French fries (Frites—pronounced FREETZ) at Bay View’s Café Centraal are, says the manager, the bestselling item on the menu. I get it.
Despite my righteous (What do you have that’s healthy?) intentions, I devoured them all, and (disturbingly) could have eaten more. For $4.95 you get about a half-pound of these mouth-watering Idahos, served up Belgian-style in a paper cone.
A salad, (the Margherita, $8.95), helps legitimize the pick.
2306 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
October 31, 2010
By Jill Rothenbueler Maher
Parenting has redefined many things in my life and distracted driving is certainly among them. Pre-kid, I couldn’t imagine the stress of piloting while my precious cargo yells at me from the back seat, especially in that nerve-frazzling pitch that goes beyond playground banter directly to a push-Mommy’s-buttons level.
Distracted driving, especially the phone-enabled ilk, will soon get lots of attention because texting while driving becomes illegal in Wisconsin Dec. 1. A ticket will set a driver back a modest $20 to a considerable $400.
Texting is a terrible distraction, but let’s be realistic: kiddie passengers are a big distraction, too.
My buttons were pulsating when, my usual route blocked by construction, I was driving under I-94 attempting to find my way onto it. While I struggled, the soundtrack from the back seat was incessant about the blue freeway, a family nickname for the Marquette Interchange. “Blue freeway, Mommy! Where is the blue freeway? Are we going now on the blue freeway?” “Distraction” isn’t strong enough to capture my mental state while hunting for that freeway onramp. In hindsight, I realize I should have pulled over, which sounds just like the advice for people who feel they need to deal with a phone call or text from behind the wheel.
Sometimes it doesn’t take the back-and-forth of talking to reduce the amount of brain power devoted to driving—just one-way communication. She hasn’t recently, but our daughter used to cry most of the 25-minute drive home to Bay View along I-43 from my parents’ house in New Berlin. We couldn’t do anything to soothe her.
Physical distractions can also take eyes off the road. Parents might twist toward the back seat to pick up a dropped toy, hand back food, or emphasize their instructions (“I really mean it!”) as they mitigate a sibling argument. They might search for and then insert a particular CD with kids’ music, preventing them from noticing quick changes in traffic. Turning away from the road for a child can cause the same accident that looking down at a text message could.
I’m surprised this topic doesn’t get more attention. Many parents and caretakers are in the car every day with children for day care, school, or other activities. The potential danger isn’t idle worry: crashes are the leading cause of death in children ages 2 to 14.
I receive lots of warnings about putting our daughter in a properly installed car seat, and Oprah has good warnings about typing and talking while driving; but driving with kids is a less common topic. I found some tips on the Consumer Reports website. Two boil down to being firm about the child’s behavior in the car (“Make them wait” and “Set the ground rules”).
Our daughter understands fairly well that crosswalks and parking lots are “no goofing around” zones, and I think I need to establish more of that tone in the car. Of course, the time spent in a vehicle is much longer.
Sometimes I take city streets to the western suburbs instead of the freeway because I figure the lower speed is safer. If we are nailed by a distracted driver, or hit for any reason, I think the damage is likely to be less because we’re at slower speeds.
I also think about ways to minimize our likelihood of being in an accident by limiting our time in a vehicle. Bay View’s density puts us close to routine errand destinations, and we plan to send our daughter to a school that won’t put her in a vehicle for very long, if at all.
As we head into the holiday travel season and are treated to snowy roads, let’s all drive safely.
The author is a freelance writer and mother of one. Reach her with comments or suggestions at email@example.com.
October 1, 2010
By Mary Sussman
Landmark Family Restaurant serves up classic diner food with value added. At the corner of Vollmer Avenue and KK, Landmark has been in business for 16 years at the site of the old Blue Café.
Cool and comfortable on a hot summer Sunday morning, the restaurant was busy. Large picture windows, overhead fans, and strategically placed mirrors and light fixtures make the space bright, open, and inviting. But after a few busy Sunday breakfast hours, there was some stray food on the floor and a few crumpled napkins under tables. There is a counter with a half-dozen stools. Chairs and booths have practical and comfortable vinyl cushions. Service is courteous and quick.
Barbecued pork, grilled chicken breast, and gyros are among the sandwich selections. Sandwiches include a cup of soup. The deluxe sandwiches include French fries or onion rings and soup and cost a bit more. Soup just by its lonesome is $1.95 a bowl, and chili is $2.95. The soups are homemade and rotate daily.
Tuesdays feature Italian specialties including spaghetti, mostaccioli, lasagna, chicken and veal parmesan, and chicken and shrimp alfredo. Magerowski said the lasagna is very popular. I sampled the Italian combination dinner, which consisted of a massive blob of spaghetti, mostaccioli, and ravioli coated with a watered-down tomato sauce. The dish could easily have come straight out of a Franco-American can. That said, it fed my husband and me for two nights. The chicken noodle soup that came with it was flavorful.
Wednesdays feature Mexican fare including nachos, tacos, burritos, tostadas, fajitas, and chimichangas. These specials range $5.75-$8.25 and include a cup of soup or tossed salad, and are available for lunch as well as dinner. On an evening visit, the popular lasagna was sold out at 6:15pm when I arrived. Other dinner specials include spare ribs with sauerkraut, breaded pork tenderloin, or a shrimp basket. Dinners are served with rolls, soup or tossed salad, and choice of potato. Greek salad, gyros, and shish-ka-bob are also available.
Landmark is not a vegetarian heaven, but one could manage to survive on a fruit crepe, pancakes, fruit or garden salads, or the vegetarian stir fry. Carb and calorie counters may appreciate the summer cold plate menu, which includes a fruit bowl, California fruit plate, turkey and ham plates, chef salad, and seafood salad. The cold plates range $3.75-7.25.
Owner Merced “Mike” Santa Cruz made his way to Milwaukee from Zacatecas in central Mexico 30 years ago. After working at Around the Lakes restaurant in Oconomowoc for a number of years, Santa Cruz opened Landmark.
The Landmark seems to be a popular destination to eat and gather. It is a small-town diner in a big city where people chow down, visit, and relax in unpretentious comfort. Landmark Family Restaurant is user-, kid- and wallet-friendly, serving up big portions of traditional diner fare at fair prices.
Landmark Family Restaurant
3451 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 481-1300
Merced “Mike” Santa Cruz, owner
6am-8pm daily; breakfast specials served until 11am; breakfast served all day.
Main menu includes more that 100 items, half-dozen vegetarian dishes, one or two vegan items, 10 kids choices.
Not organic or locally grown food; food is purchased mostly from Sysco.
Prices: Extra value. Hearty portions. Breakfast specials: $2.75-6.75. Sandwiches: $3-5.50 (with soup). Dinners: $5.75-9.25 (includes soup or tossed salad and choice of potato). Children’s menu: 10 items; $2.25-$4.50.
Booster chairs and high chairs. No diaper changing station in restrooms.
Take Out: Yes; Delivery: No.
Owner is applying for liquor license.
No outdoor dining.
July 2, 2010
By Kristine Hansen, Photos by Ken Mobile
Our first indication that The Dubliner Irish Pub is not the typical cramped, dimly lit Irish bar was when we swung open the front doors.
Light poured in through eight-pane windows to the west. Iron chandeliers hung from the high ceilings marked by overhead beams. A stone fireplace beckoned from the back wall. A twin set of clocks hung on one wall: one for our city, and the other for Dublin.
And in another departure from Irish pubs, a smoking ban has been in effect since The Dubliner opened in February.
Owners Jerry and Cheryl Stenstrup, who own Steny’s across the street (which has been in business for 24 years), got inspired during trips to Ireland’s countryside. They opened, appropriately, a month before St. Patrick’s Day 2010.
Only dinner is served on the weekdays. On Saturday and Sunday a traditional Irish breakfast is served beginning at 11am. Nightly drink and food specials go beyond the typical two- or three-hour span to stretch until 10pm or midnight.
Aiming for a gastropub theme, the owners say, its food menu is best defined as comfort food-but with an Irish twist. For instance, a baked pretzel roll (pretzel dough rolled into a ball) arrives with some entrees. Irish cheddar-and not American-tops the Mac N Cheese.
“Pub plates” are the appetizers here. Mulling over options like Dubliner Crab Cakes ($12), Irish Twists (mozzarella cheese rolled in a wonton wrap and fried, $7) and Irish Potato Skins ($6), we settled on Gallaway Mussels ($9) with Guinness broth, parsley, leeks, and new potatoes. Although the broth was more like a pool, but deliciously laced with stout beer, we were impressed with the portion size: at least 25 mussels were in this dish. My order of the Dub Mac N Cheese ($7) was rich, creamy, and hearty, and baked with breadcrumbs on top-everything a good Mac N Cheese ought to be-but I missed that sharp-cheddar taste that often tops the noodles. A little less creamy and I would not hesitate to order it on a return visit.
The menu redeemed itself when my dining companion took that first bite of his Shepherd’s Pie ($10). Filled with parsnips, ground sirloin, peas, carrots, potatoes, and fresh herbs, it’s topped with dollops of mashed potatoes and then baked. Paired with the signature pretzel roll, its execution was perfect-lots of earthy flavors.
We also ordered a side of Irish chips (essentially French fries) with the restaurant’s signature dip. For the Dubliner Dip, corned beef, cheese, and sauerkraut are mixed together. There is also a delicious wasabi ranch-style dip that delivers just enough bite.
To end our culinary tour of Ireland, we took the waitress’ advice and ordered two glasses of Dubliner Irish Cream, which is house-made with Kilbeggan whiskey and Irish Cream, and a slice of Bailey’s cheesecake to share. As I’m a sucker for Irish Cream, I expected to fall in love with this drink-but not as much as I soon did. I love a bar that can pull off a reinterpretation of a classic cocktail. Paired with the cheesecake, which has a chocolate crust, both satisfied our sweet teeth.
- The Dubliner Irish Pub
- 124 W. National Ave.
- (414) 763-0301
- Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 3pm-bartime; Saturday and Sunday, 11am-bartime; closed Monday
- Some vegetarian options
- No children’s menu
- Bar-on site with 12 draft beers
- Street parking
- Outdoor patio
- Price range: appetizers $6-$12; entrees $7-$16
June 2, 2010
By Kristine Hansen
For Mark Nielsen and Carina Tran, opening a restaurant that showcases food in Carina’s native, Vietnamese culture was a no-brainer. While working in corporate America for many years they dreamt of the day they would own an eatery serving their favorite foods. And as Bay View residents they recognized the need for a classy, ethnic restaurant.
When Magic Dann’s (2691 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.) closed last fall, the couple-who met as neighbors in Bay View apartments-seized the opportunity and gave birth to Hue (pronounced “hway”). With years of experience managing clubs and bars in Madison and Iowa City, the most recent being Madison’s Tornado Room, Nielsen didn’t hesitate to quit his job to co-manage Hue. (Nor did Tran.)
Nielsen said he modified the 50-seat interior with a goal to end up with a calmer, cooler palette. It shows in the maple-wood dining sets, walls of golden-yellow mustard and warm burgundy, and colorful paintings depicting Vietnam’s landscape. In the entryway are comfy wicker chairs and loveseats, paired with off-white cushions that have a tropical-floral theme. The menu covers are crafted from cork, and the restaurant logo is etched into a silver plate.
Hue is named for the Thua Thien-Hue province in central Vietnam where Carina’s mother grew up. In 1975 Carina’s parents emigrated to America, where Carina was born. All menu items are based on Carina’s mother’s recipes, and the Chinese and French influences in the food derived from the province’s geographic location.
Divided into areas, such as Pho (noodle soups), Bahn Mi (sandwiches), Bun (specialty noodle dishes), and Com (rice dishes), the menu is heavy on pork and chicken, but the staff is happy to substitute with tofu where necessary. Almost all of the items cost under $11, with many falling in the $9 range. We began our meal with an order of Goi Cuon spring-roll appetizers ($8.50), which arrived with two spring rolls-one containing shrimp and pork, and the other with tofu-and a side of peanut sauce. Both were wrapped in fresh rice paper.
As I bit into these, enjoying the combination of fresh herbs and a savory peanut sauce, I couldn’t help but think that the menu is a great example of healthy “comfort foods” and also an introduction to Vietnamese dining culture that hasn’t made a dent in Milwaukee.
I opted for a specialty entrée (Bahn Xeo): a Vietnamese crepe filled with pork, shrimp, mushrooms, fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and more. I was a bit reluctant to confess I’m not that savvy with chopsticks. Nielsen, sensing my confusion about how best to dive in, offered some advice, which was to roll the crepe and its fillings, along with sliced cucumbers, into a bib of lettuce, and dip that into the ramekin of peanut sauce. I enjoyed it although there were too many bean sprouts for my taste. My expectations matched my taste buds: even as I was finishing up the crepe I was itching for a second meal here, pondering what I might order on that visit.
My dining companion enjoyed his Bun Nem Noung for its divergent flavors and textures: the white-rice vermicelli noodles on top of cold, fresh vegetable and herbs (mint leaves, cucumber slivers, and pickled carrots), with grilled, marinated pork and a hot egg roll thrown in too. He commented that it was nice to experience hot and cold within the same dish.
To close the meal I ordered Vietnamese coffee, impressed that the bold coffee arrived with the sweetened condensed milk and sugar packets on the side, which allowed me to adjust the sweetness to my preference. I’m a sucker for coffee from other cultures, and am pleased to know that a delicious cup of Vietnamese coffee is now just down the street.
In addition to food, the restaurant offers 32 beer choices, from local favorites like Sprecher Amber to imports that include Singha or Tiger. A dozen wine by-the-glass or bottle options are also available. Although the restaurant closes at 10pm (Tuesday through Sunday, closed Monday), the bar remains open much later. Soon, said Nielsen, traditional Vietnamese desserts will be added (right now, just cheesecake and chocolate cake are on the dessert menu), as well as bubble tea (fruits or teas blended and poured over tapioca pearls).
Hue Restaurant & Lounge
- 2691 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
- (414) 294-0483
- huemilwaukee.com or huebayview.com
- Hours: 4-10pm (Tuesday-Friday) and 11am-close (Saturday and Sunday); closed Monday
- Some Vegan and vegetarian options
- No children’s menu
- Bar on-site that stays open typical bar hours
- Street parking
- Price range: most entrees cost between $9-$15, with appetizers between $8-$11
May 1, 2010
By Kristine Hansen
Bay View’s latest restaurant has the flavors and ambiance you’d expect from a Paris bistro. Pastiche Bistro & Wine Bar (3001 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.)-lemon-yellow walls, refinished woodwork, and adorable café curtains in warm reds and golds-also cultivates an experience more polished than its bar neighbors.
The dinner-only menu dances between fish and meat entrees with ease, but does not neglect vegetarians. There are two meat-free options: seasonal vegetables sautéed with roasted garlic and fresh herbs then served over tagliatelle with garlic toast points, or roasted vegetables and portobello mushroom wrapped in a croissant and served over a Mornay sauce.
On a recent Thursday only a couple of tables were vacant, which chef/owner Michael Engel-who for the last 30 years has cooked at Hotel Metro, The Legend at Brandybrook (Wales), and The Bartolotta Catering Company-blamed on a slow night, despite being open only since late March. A good introduction to the menu can be had by dropping by weekdays between 4pm and 6pm when appetizers are half-price.
There’s more focus on the sauces and ingredients than creative plating techniques. For instance, the Potato Batonettes (French fries) are simply wrapped in paper and served upright inside a glass, with a side of homemade aioli. Yet it’s a more sophisticated touch than throwing them onto a plate. Little touches on each table include ramekins of salted nuts and a miniature-sized martini glass filled with cured olives and pearl onions. Even the water carafe flaunts style as it’s a repurposed olive-green glass bottle. The eclectic playlist included musical selections from Edith Piaf, Johnny Cash, and the Grateful Dead.
On the wine list are true gems from the Bordeaux and Burgundy regions of France-and Italy, Spain, and California too, with most glasses costing between $4 and $7. Bottle prices start at $16 and are mostly in the $20- and $30-dollar range.
For appetizers, we went with the nightly special of frog legs-intrigued, because these are nearly impossible to order at a Milwaukee restaurant. The mingling of garlic, butter, and lemon was so tasty we dipped our bread into the remaining pool of sauce.
Each entrée is paired with a different vegetable daily; on our visit this meant three spears of roasted asparagus. For entrees, we chose Trout Amandine, a boneless locally raised trout that’s pan-fried and finished with slivered almonds tossed in browned butter ($16.95) and Pork Osso Bucco, a famed Berkshire pork from the Mark Newman Family Farm in Missouri that’s slow-cooked with vegetables and served with mashed potatoes ($19.95). Several of the entrees are served in a wine- or spirits-based sauce, such as Alsatian Riesling for the Lamb Leg with Rosemary and Pedro Ximenez sherry with locally raised Duckling Breast with Chorizo and Orange.
Seven desserts, all with French or otherwise Mediterranean roots, round out the menu with the choices ranging from a classic chocolate mousse ($5.95) to a more complex specialty: savarin ($5.50). We fell in love with the pillowy pastry in a cherry sauce swimming with Griottines cherries.
Yet even the mousse is appropriately adorned with crème Chantilly and a homemade sugar cookie. In time for the summer season, Engel has introduced a refreshing addition: Angela’s lemon tart.
February 28, 2010
By Chris Christie
We ordered the large cheese, sausage, onion pizza plus pepperoni and black olives. It came piping hot and the crust was thin and fairly crisp, the way I like it. It soon disappeared.
There are five different pizza offerings, including a garden pizza with your choice of broccoli, artichoke hearts, red peppers, tomatoes, three cheeses, garlic, and seasoned olive oil. They range in price from $6 for a small cheese and onion to $17.25 for a large garden. And there are many other toppings and additions that can be added.
We were happy with pizza, but if you don’t want pizza, they offer an array of pastas; sandwiches—including their original sausage sandwich with cheese, sauce, and peppers; as well as appetizers, including a large Italian salad with mixed greens, black olives, tomatoes, onions, and pepperoni with cheese and dressing. And they serve a Friday fish fry too.
There is a bar area with booths and also a small game room. You can order food and eat at the bar and in the game room. And there is no television in the dining room. We liked that.
The De Marinis family has been serving Bay View for many years and it seems, given the quality of the food and friendly atmosphere, will continue to serve good, old-fashioned southern Italian food for more to come.
On the way out, my granddaughter, a seasoned pizza easter said, “I think it’s my favorite pizza of all we’ve eaten so far.” Now, there’s a recommendation!
Dom and Phil De Marinis
1211 E. Conway St.
Bay View, WI 53207
(414) 481-2348 or (414) 481-2367
Hours: Tu-Thu 4-10pm; Fri-Sat 4pm-Midnight; Sun 3-10pm Closed Monday
Only a few vegetarian items
Children’s menu: No; No diaper changing
Call ahead for take out