The new dinner
service at the Bossa Nova dining room of KASANA Café is filled with
culinary delights — from a savory burger, enhanced by dates and
topped with blue cheese; to chicken vatava, a Brazilian creamy
casserole made with coconut milk and onions; to Xingu Brazilian beer,
a black beer that’s light and slightly sweet; to a creamy, to a
mousse-like dark chocolate dessert that’s made with no sugar yet
tastes as decadent as can be. "We’re serious about food, but we’re
not pretentious," says chef/owner Ana Docta.
Docta, who grew
up in Argentina and Brazil with a Spanish mother and Italian father,
brings a diverse culinary background to Milwaukee’s dining scene.
Add to that time spent dancing ballet in Europe and a stint as an MTV
producer in South America before becoming a restaurateur like her
father, and you come to understand the vibrancy of both her food and
her restaurant. "I want it to be a joy for people to come
here," Docta says, in between encouraging her customers to eat
and eat some more. "It’s not your traditional food. I want this
restaurant to allow us to get close to you, and we will comfort
Dinner is served
Wednesday through Saturday; Wednesday night is gourmet pizza night.
The cafe is open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Sunday. Docta
also serves up a special chef’s table for six guests by special
arrangement. 241 N. Broadway (414) 224-6158 www.kasana-mke.com
prized at Justin Carlisle’s new venture, Ardent. The former Umami
Moto chef and James Beard Award nominee is accommodating his passion
for serving food in a more personal setting. With seating for only 20
guests and a minimal staff, patrons will be close to the action.
"I want them to know who I am, and I want them to feel like we’re
sharing this time together," says Carlisle.
The menu will
also be small, numbering only 12 dishes ranging in price from $4 to
about $25. "It’s not going to be soup, salad, entrée, dessert.
It’s just going to be a list, and you can choose as many items as
you want," Carlisle says. "There will also be a set price if
you want to come and have the entire menu as a 12-course
The menu will
change with the seasons, but come mid-September, when Ardent is set to
open, Carlisle will have a beef dish that features beef from his
family’s farm. He’s also planning to have a butter, bread and
cheese course featuring the grass-fed cheeses made by award-winning
cheese maker Bruce Workman (who just won another award at this year’s
American Cheese Society). "I’m also going to do a take-off on a
casserole, and some heritage dishes," Carlisle says.
He is applying
for a full liquor license but at first he’s only planning to serve
wine and beer, with six to eight wines and eight to 12 beers, many of
the beers locally brewed. 1751 N. Farwell Ave. www.ardentmilwaukee.com
Milwaukee brewer Sprecher Brewing Co. has plans to open a brew pub
Oct. 1 at Bayshore Town Center. Sprecher Restaurant and Pub will be
similar to the company’s other brew pubs in Lake Geneva, Madison and
the Wisconsin Dells. The menu will feature burgers, salads, pastas and
sandwiches and 20 beers on tap. "You name it, we have it,"
says Elizabeth Dion, assistant manager of the Lake Geneva location.
Many of the dishes feature beer or Sprecher soda as an ingredient.
is family friendly, Dion notes, and has one super feature that appeals
to children and adults: a walk-up window for ordering Sprecher root
beer floats to go. www.sprecherspub.com
has seen a lot of new restaurant openings this summer, but here
are three buzz-worthy newbies that are worth a visit.
A Third-Coast-centric, nautical theme with emphasis on highly
crafted cocktails designed by Milwaukee’s own Bittercube
mixologists Ira Koplowitz and Nicholas Kosevich.
Experience: The restaurant and bar are focused on the Great
Lakes. "Part of the Great Lakes tradition is the American
maritime traditions," Koplowitz says. "When we were
thinking about cocktails, the two maritime spirits we focused on
were gin and rum." Of the Older Bumbo is a rum-based
old-fashioned made with 12-year-old Flor de Cana rum, with a
special nutmeg and sorghum syrup, along with special bitters the
two have crafted just for the drink. The drink is premade,
bottled and frozen into a glass bottle so that it is perfectly
chilled and served with the bottle over ice. The food is equally
inventive: try a scallop dish that’s made with Bittercube
Jamaican No. 2 bitters, or mussels made with a curry and yellow
chartreuse, a "really beautiful and fragrant, herbaceous
Latin fusion with a side of heart-healthy dishes.
Experience: This daring new restaurant is the venture of Juan
and Natalia Gutierrez. "One of the principles is
authenticity," says Juan Gutierrez. While the cuisine is
Mexican fusion, the ingredients are local, and half of the menu
is devoted to fish and seafood. "My wife, she’s an
architect by degree, and she puts the beauty and design on the
dishes in the kitchen," Gutierrez says. "We’ve got a
lot of cilantro pesto, a lot of extra virgin olive oils. Salmon
is not a common fish in Mexico, but sea bass is. One thing we’re
doing is using some of the sea bass recipes we know from our
family, but we are using them with salmon instead."
Hipper gastropub in the former MOCT nightclub space.
Experience: The wide-open garage doors beckon patrons inside on
warm summer nights, and the interior lights create a glow of
warmth that contrasts with the night sky. But this isn’t a
hipster nightclub that serves up a few dishes — this is a
gastropub that rocks until the wee hours of the morning. Try
hand-crafted tortellini tossed in made-from-scratch sauces, or
just snack on house-made pickles and chicken-wing lollipops. Add
crafted cocktails, craft beers and a bourbon list that numbers