Duck knows how to commit to a theme. The front window of the
restaurant on Kinnickinnic Avenue is home to a collection of duck
figurines, and the charm of the space could make you forget that
you’re about to embark on a worldly culinary journey. Odd Duck’s
menu of small plates changes with the season, so check the menu
before you go, but expect inspired dishes like squid ink fettucine,
a savory Dutch baby pancake with asparagus and duck egg, or bánh xčo,
a Vietnamese crepe made with turmeric, herbs, tofu and sour mushroom
soy. Wet your beak with a seasonal cocktail that’s as adventurous as
your meal — think coconut-infused gin served with pineapple syrup
and Thai basil. In the time it takes to eat dinner, you’ll circle
the globe. — L.S.
butter and jelly. Spaghetti and meatballs. Summerfest and Saz’s.
Some combinations were just meant to be, and that’s true of this
popular eatery that you’re guaranteed to find each year at
Summerfest. Saz’s serves up its signature mozzarella sticks, chive
fries and cheese curds throughout the festival grounds during all 11
days of the annual event. Whether you’re grabbing a bite before
rocking out to your favorite band or you’re sitting down with
friends for a full meal at Saz’s Dockside Barbecue, Saz’s is a
can’t-miss Summerfest food experience. A marinara-dunked mozzarella
stick from Saz’s is as Milwaukee as a bratwurst with a brew. —
cheesecake at Simma’s is the stuff of legend. To learn why, try the
classic cheesecake with a raspberry filling, sandwiched between a
chocolate cake bottom and a topping of chocolate ganache. If
cheesecake isn’t your dessert of choice, feast your eyes — and then
your taste buds — on the picture-perfect selection of goodies in
display cases full of eclairs, cream puffs, tarts, truffles and
other specialty sweets. — L.S.
beloved breakfast joint, with locations in Wauwatosa and Shorewood,
Blue’s Egg has all the breakfast basics covered. But you don’t want
to miss one-of-a-kind dishes like the crispy blue crab cake served
with remoulade, the Dubliner benedict with corned beef and paprika
aioli, or the lemon cheesecake French toast. And don’t miss out on
the cinnamon-sugar monkey bread; it’s worth the $1 upcharge to
“crunk it” and get the side of bourbon dipping sauce. — L.S.
The Best of MKE
voters have spoken, and their message is clear: Nothing beats a
classic butter burger and a bag of cheese curds from Culver’s when
it comes to takeout. The restaurant did start in Wisconsin, after
all — although the fast food chain now has franchises around the
country. With dozens of local locations, you can’t beat the
convenience of Culver’s for a meal on the run (and for a quick
custard fix too). — L.S.
Bunzel’s Meat Market
old-school market has been in the same family for four generations,
never losing the personal touches that make it a local favorite.
Boasting a selection of fresh meats and sausages, Bunzel’s also
processes wild game . Plus, you can grab grocery items, baked goods
or a meal to go from the take-out menu that changes daily — all in
one feel-good stop. — L.S.
In a climate like ours, it helps to have a reliable
source for soup on speed dial. This fast-casual chain covers all the
classics, from chicken noodle to broccoli cheddar and creamy clam
chowder. In the warmer months, you can fill up on seasonal soups
like the Summer Corn Chowder, or for a vegan option, try Panera’s
Ten Vegetable Soup. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy your
selection in a signature bread bowl; it’s the perfect starchy
complement to a heartwarming bowl of your favorite soup. — L.S.
Elsa's On The Park
the looks of this intimate eatery, you might not think they
specialize in game-day fare, but Elsa’s has a wing flavor for every
mood or appetite — hot and spicy buffalo wings, dragon wings tossed
in soy and ginger, or buck ’n wings in a tangy teriyaki sauce.
Really hungry? Order the platter of all three flavors that comes
with a side of fries, celery and creamy blue cheese dressing. —
Poké made a splash when it opened on North Avenue on Milwaukee’s
east side. Now, the poké powerhouse brings its signature fresh bowls
into the Third Ward, Brookfield and even into the Fiserv Forum.
FreshFin serves classic Hawaiian poké made with fresh sashimi-grade
fish, along with cooked proteins like shrimp and chicken, in
addition to protein options for vegans. Don’t sleep on the Spicy
Tuna bowl made with ahi tuna, edamame, jalapeno, cucumber, sriracha
aioli and crunchy onion pieces, served over rice or a bed of mixed
greens. Aside from their signature bowls, FreshFin also offers a
BYOB option — build your own bowl, that is. — L.S.
winner: Craft Cocktails and whiskey selection:
THE RUMPUS ROOM
you like it neat, on the rocks or mixed into a classic cocktail,
you’ll have no trouble finding a whiskey to your liking at The
Rumpus Room in downtown Milwaukee where the Bartolotta gastropub
offers an expansive whiskey list to satisfy your palette. If
whiskey isn’t your liquor of choice, sift through the restaurant’s
equally impressive house cocktail menu for drinks like the classic
Wisconsin old fashioned, or opt for something a little more
adventurous yet distinctly Sconnie, like the Capone in Door County,
made with rye, cherry liqueur and orange bitters. — L.S
Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro
date night, an inviting setting is key, and Bartolotta’s Lake Park
Bistro delivers romantic ambiance in spades. The vaulted ceilings
and rustic-chic décor somehow make the French-inspired cuisine taste
even better, as do stunning vistas overlooking Lake Michigan, which
are the picturesque cherry on top. Make a reservation for two and
enjoy the ultimate fine-dining experience with the three-course menu
du chef for a prix fixe feast. — L.S.