Bryan Phillips, a little of this and a little of that goes a long way.
It’s a culinary process that begins with simplicity and evolves with
imagination. He’s getting his chance to show his stuff as the new
head chef at the Hi Hat.
lounge has been a Brady Street neighborhood fixture since 1998, tucked
in at 1701 N. Arlington Place. With its first-floor bar and upper
mezzanine, it continues to be on the forefront of Milwaukee’s craft
cocktail movement and emphasizes a complete menu. Patrons can find
traditional pub grub, specials and a brunch on Saturday, Sunday and
credentials include Porta Bella and Deb & Lola’s in Madison, an
internship with Sandy D’Amato and six years at D’Amato’s
Coquette Café. He helped open the kitchen at Tosa’s Le Reve
Patisserie & Cafe and helped launch Bay View’s wonderfully
quirky Honeypie around 2005. He came to Hi Hat last fall.
What sort of
dishes are you considering for the summer season?
sticking to your basic pub grub, but it will be good pub grub. There
will be a few twists such as serving Banh Mi. That’s a Vietnamese
traditional sandwich with pickled vegetables and roasted pork on a
baguette-like bread. That’s the French influence. I’ll also be
doing a Maine lobster roll — a real one — with chunks of lobster
on a toasted bun. And shrimp po’boys.
you to the Hi Hat?
I am excited to
be given the opportunity to be creative, yet still considering our
audience. We’ll test some new items through specials to see how they
do. And, yes, we’ll keep our Friday fish fry. There’s perch and
cod, with house-made tartar sauces. We make all our own sauces. We’re
not doing $25 plates here.
Are there any
differences switching from a restaurant to a lounge environment?
Again, you need
to think of who you are serving. We’ll still be doing half-pound
burgers, dashed up with a bit of salt and pepper, and fries. Keep it
simple. There aren’t any magic tricks. We serve right up until
midnight. Our brunch now has biscuits and gravy, and hanger steak and
Who’s on your
I snared Gil
Petrovic as sous chef, who worked with me at Le Reve and Coquette
Café. We also have eight line cooks. Cody Magee is bar manager and
Dan Dufek is general manager. They handle all the drinks and I stick
to the kitchen as headmaster, cheerleader and some unmentionable
titles. We have a great group.
What do you do
when not in the kitchen?
I hop on my
motorcycle and take off cross-county with my tent, sleeping bag and
good eats. I love cruising the Kettle Moraine.