There’s no better coda to a
beautiful day on Pewaukee Lake than savoring a flavorful seafood
dish at a cozy eatery overlooking the water.
Patrons of Artisan 179 not only find delicious “surf” options like
New England fluke, lump crab cakes and Thai shrimp — and plenty of
“turf” options too — but those delectable dishes also boast an
international edge. Executive Chef Matt Miller calls upon his
experience creating global cuisine in New York to offer familiar
meals with a touch of exotic flair.
“If you look at the menu, it’s very global and that’s kind of my
style,” Miller explains. “I don’t really have one specialty. I
dabble all over the place.
“Around here, especially in Lake Country, there’s a lot of classic
steak houses — 5 O’Clock Club and Red Circle Inn,” he continues.
“Really old-school American [cuisine]. There isn’t a whole lot of
ethnic cuisine available around here, so people definitely do like
In an effort to balance the familiar with the new, Miller also
“sneaks” surprising ingredients into dishes. He works frequently
with seaweed, adds Indian spices and other Indian ingredients to
familiar plates, and infuses broth with edamame.
“We sprinkle different ingredients wherever we can, without
overwhelming people to the point where they won’t order [a dish]
because they have no idea what it is,” he explains.
A tasty example of a surprising ingredient with a purposeful,
powerful punch is Miller’s use of shrimp mousse in the exquisite
lump crab cake shown here.
“The crab cake is a pretty unique recipe,” he says. “Instead of
using any sort of bread or [filler] to hold it together, we make a
shrimp mousse. Then we fold that into the crab and [add] some onion
and garlic and herbs. That’s actually what holds it together, so
when the crab cake cooks, the shrimp mousse cooks and that binds
everything together. There’s absolutely no bread other than the
bread crumbs on the outside.
“It makes it a really light and flavorful crabcake,” Miller
continues. “You’re adding more of that shellfish flavor, but it’s
not enough to overpower the crab flavor.”
For an additional twist, Miller opted for a Mexican theme for the
dish. Wanting to pair crab with avocado led him to lay the cake on a
bed of guacamole made with cumin and lime juice for a “real basic
guacamole,” according to the talented chef, who also spent time at
Milwaukee’s c.1880, Ardent and Cafe at the Plaza. A guajillo chili
vinaigrette offers a balance of sweet and sour and, finally, the
cake is topped with watermelon radish, frisée and pepitas for extra
“It’s just the different flavors and exposing people to new flavors
and different ingredients that they haven’t heard of,” Miller says
of his mission at Artisan 179. “That lets me find ingredients I
haven’t heard of too, instead of just the usual meat and potatoes
that we all grew up with in Wisconsin.”
Artisan 179, 179 W. Wisconsin Ave., Pewaukee, (262) 691-0200,