wish I could guarantee future diners at c.1880 the same dinner we
enthused over, but since chef and owner Thomas Hauck features
regional/seasonal products, the menu is never the same. The
ever-changing menu is no small feat when one considers he serves the
likes of Lamb with Baba Ganoush and Pita Panzanella.
Wisconsin native, grew up in Port Washington, graduated from the
Culinary Institute in New York and ultimately returned to his roots to
open his own restaurant. He moved into the former Olive Pit in Walker’s
Point and went to work designing a menu that reflects the best of our
The night we
dined at c.1880, our server, Robin, gave us his full attention and
answered every question. From him we learned we could be
"adventurers" and order a variety of small plates for a set
price, with a minimum of five. Tempting, but it might require too many
doggie bags as we discovered "small" didn’t necessarily
mean small as we know it. We ordered off the menu. Pork belly sounded
interesting, especially for bacon lovers. It was an amazing
presentation, tender pork belly on top of Gruyere mashed potatoes,
chopped asparagus, arugula, pickled peppers, pine nuts and rutabaga.
Surprisingly, the layers spoke for themselves; we tasted each
we chose Asparagus Soup made with buttermilk and mint. Robin brought
us an artfully arranged composition of melon, mint, ham, asparagus and
lime before he poured the soup into the bowl. Each finely chopped bit
held its own in this delicious tangy soup. "Who’s
chopping?" we asked.
stands next to Chef. That’s all he does," says Robin.
"That’s why everything tastes so fresh."
entrée. We ordered Veal and Rutabaga. The veal — fork tender of
course, roasted for 18 hours — came with carrot puree and young
carrots. And who orders rutabaga for a main course? That was the
biggest surprise. The chef sliced it paper thin and turned it into a
lasagna dish with layers of spinach, Gruyere and mushrooms. He
finished it with a thyme cream sauce that perfectly complemented each
Too sated to
order dessert, we settled for coffee and then another surprise, small
complimentary chocolate-nut cookies — enough, but not too much.
Our dinner was
certainly an adventure, but, oh, what a delicious adventure it was.
1100 S. 1st St., Milwaukee
Twitter: @circa1880, @chefhauckFacebook: c.1880www.c1880.com