19 July 2015
After being eaten alive by mosquitos and having a terrible night thanks to crazy people in adjacent rooms in a northern Wisconsin motel, I headed back down driving along the eastern coast. Took a few hours to get to Green Bay, and just rolled down the coast through Manitowoc and Kohler/Sheboygan. Got back to Milwaukee and thought about the food situation, as I’ve booked nothing. Nothing excited me, especially after the Braise disaster.
Oh, I wish I was driving back to Madison…
Alas, that’s not the case. I got to Milwaukee and eventually decided on an early dinner. I had a list of possibles, but ended up choosing Goodkind. Lots of good words about this place, which focuses on small plates and rotisserie. So why not. I called for a spot and I guess it wasn’t necessary as it was rather empty at this early hour. I looked over the menu and enjoyed a cocktail, then ordered.
A pretty casual place with a large, wrap-around bar, I was chilling out with the cocktail when the first item arrived, listed as a snack — seaweed chips.
Interesting, rather tasty. I like the idea, very nice to feast on with drink in hand I must admit, However, probably didn’t need the sticky sweet sauce on it, the flavour of the fried seaweed was far enough. Plus, it made a mess with the fingers… Probably should have learned from Forequarter in Madison… I was trying, with no luck, to rub the sauce off the last pieces… I finished my cocktail and switched to wine when the next dish arrived, and I blinked a few times…
I thought I had ordered one of the day’s specials, the squash blossoms. Well, if there’s any of them, it’s covererd in unnecessary sauce on unnecessary carb solids. Why, why do Milwaukee chefs feel they need to screw with natural goodness? Now if this was in Madison we’d have a clean plate that celebrates the goodness of nature. Once again my heart sunk thinking about Milwaukee cooking…
Service here was friendly but as it was not busy (early yet), the staff seemed more keen on chatting away with each other, rarely taking a glance my way at the bar. A bit annoyed by that. Starting to wonder if they gave me the wrong description of the special that was the previous dish… Finally got their attention for some wine before the last dish arrived, which they said was one of their staples.
I can see why. This is a nice bucatini with crab, cooked well and is very tasty. However, it was advertised as “spicy crab pasta” but I taste nothing spicy whatsoever. But it was good, cooked well generally.
Honestly at this point the staff’s lack of attention was driving me a bit up the wall, so I decided to just take something to go and finish up with an after-dinner drink. I headed out of there once the item was packed for me and I drove back to my hotel. This was my finale.
Rotisserie leg of lamb. Actually very good, strong flavours. Little adulteration, exactly what’s needed here. Sadly the best dish of the night came from a styrofoam carton…
Tonight’s dinner was not bad; actually the food was pretty good, especially the pasta. But there is just something not-quite-on with the cooking for a big food town like Milwaukee. I’d expect this kind of stuff in a small, isolated town in the winter, not a big city in the summer. And for once, it’s not the execution — the line did what chef asked them and did it well. Problem is elsewhere.
There’s something about Milwaukee that’s a disconnect with the rest of Wisconsin food-wise, especially Madison. They feel they need to cook the hell out of the dish for no reason at all, and just waste the perfectly good natural flavours of their otherwise excellent local ingredients. Look at how effortlessly it was done by A Pig in A Fur Coat, things just flowed, celebrating natural flavours of Wisonsin’s fabulous products.
Seriously, you can get frozen squash shipped from Timbuktu if you’re gonna plonk it in so much sauce.
Oh, I really am not liking the cooking frame of mind in Milwaukee, not at all. I think I need a major change for my last night in town tomorrow…
2457 South Wentworth Avenue