20 July 2015
I was starting to seriously sour on Milwaukee’s ability to produce a finely-cooked dinner experience for me. I gave it the benefit of the doubt after the mess at Braise. But the not-quite-there night at Goodkind put me off further exploration. I had two possibilities for my last dinner — ethnic or meat. I was thinking of doing Serbian at the venerable Three Brothers, but since I had to be downtown anyway I decided to go somewhere else. And thank goodness I skipped lunch…
I headed to Ward’s House of Prime, a rather unabashed temple for the king of beef — the classic prime rib. So many of these places, especially the old school institutions, have disappeared around the country, such as the much-loved but shaky Tom Sarris Orleans House in Arlington VA. The excellent Taylor’s Steakhouse in K-town Los Angeles is one of the few to keep the spirit alive. But as I walked through the horribly humid afternoon across the Milwaukee River and uphill, I got to Ward’s soaked in sweat… Thank goodness it was heavily AC’d and the martini was icy cold.
I chilled out and relaxed, and enjoyed the aroma of meat in this temple for beef. I’m not sure how I feel about this place serving items that are so excessively big it’s insane — and entices the “competitive eater” to go stupid. Not me. How do you enjoy food at that volume?
I ordered my food and surprisingly ordered a bottle of red to go along. No driving today, and tomorrow I got a morning flight, and it’s still early, so… I chilled out and was just enjoying the first sips of wine when my food arrived…
Gee, were you surprised by what I ordered? This is a 24-oz bone-in prime rib, roasted just about perfectly. It actually didn’t look as big as I thought (photo angle don’t do the thickness any justice tho…), more like a 18 or 20 to be honest, and bone in.
The sprouts looked excellent too. I attacked this dinner with all the frustration of 2 bad dinners in Milwaukee finally made right on dinner #3. The meat was excellent, again perfect temperature, no adulteration or cheating here, full richness and strength. In the next half hour or so, I ravaged nearly everything on my table. The steak was done, although I wish there was a sharper, thinner knife to properly clean out the bone. The sprouts were done. The red was about to be finished.
I was full and happy, but then a surprise — they comped me a dessert…
Wow, this was huge. An excellent but rich banana cake — what I would have ordered if I had the choice from the dessert menu. I somehow finished this with little problem, enjoyed a single malt as I wait for my taxi to take me back to the airport area.
I’m so glad I did this tonight. Finally, an excellent dinner in Milwaukee. I love prime rib when done right, and this was shamelessly rich and fulfilling. Who knows, I may have been able to eat an even larger cut, but I think this was the perfect experience. This helped to salvage Milwaukee to some extent for me.
Next stop, Beantown!
Ward’s House of Prime
540 East Mason Street