done his time in kitchens across metro Milwaukee, including The
Bartolotta Restaurant Group and Hotel Metro, Michael Engel at last
opened his own restaurant in March 2010. French flair at Pastiche
Bistro & Wine Bar is in every detail, from the cooking methods to
the wine selections. "I wanted Pastiche to be a true bistro ó a
small, humble neighborhood restaurant that offers simple dishes made
from good local products, and wines that complement them, served well,
for a reasonable price," explains Engel.
angular entry to Pastiche is humble: on a section of Kinnickinnic
Avenue just south of Oklahoma with bungalows and bars as neighbors.
And if you think the bistro is staffed with pretentious waiters and a
difficult-to-understand food menu, pas de tout. "Many people
think French cuisine is stuffy and pretentious. People are pretentious
ó food is just food," says Engel.
opened Pasticheís second floor for wine retail as well as wine
classes. What lessons do you hope to teach about wine and food
I want people to
be able to experiment with different pairings, and hopefully realize
that itís really not that much of a mystery how flavors work
together to complement each other and make the whole tasting
experience greater than the sum of its parts.
you to Bay View as the location of your first restaurant?
The people who
live there are very food and wine savvy, and fiercely supportive of
small, locally owned businesses. They are real and unpretentious, just
like the restaurant.
Do you try to
disprove any misconceptions about French cuisine?
If there is a
misconception that I want to disprove, itís that good food and wine
has to be expensive. If a cook has good produce, and the technical
training to make the most out of it, thatís 90 percent of the job.
The rest is passion and pride of workmanship, respect for the food,
and for the dish he is preparing. Those are all very French things.
Thereís nothing stuffy about that. M