often hear the word "hip" preceding the words "German
restaurant," but thatís exactly what the newly opened Cafe
Bavaria is. The newest addition to the Lowlands Group is adjacent to
the groupís Wauwatosa outpost of Cafe Hollander.
ceilings, dark wooden tables and whitewashed walls offer a touch of
Germanic influence ó that European feel similar to Hollander,
Benelux and Centraal cafes. Its motto, "Celebrating the fun side
of all things Bavarian," comes across in subtle ways, like the
pop music played in the cafe, but polka music piped in the bathrooms.
The menu itself
is German, but modern German like Strauss veal meatballs in a creamy,
decadent mushroom sauce. And even though itís got schnitzels and
sausages, itís also got a rather extravagant selection of vegetarian
options, including a stunningly delicious root vegetable appetizer ó
roasted veggies served with a side of homemade buttermilk dressing.
And because itís
German, the beer, er, bier list, especially on tap, is quite extensive
with an array of bocks, doppelbocks, weisses and dunkels. Most drinks
come in liter or half-liter glasses, but you can also get 2 liters
served in a giant glass boot, Das Boot. (The bar has a list of rules
on how youíre supposed to drink it.) If bier isnít your thing, you
and three friends can try the shotski, four shots on a ski.
7700 Harwood Ave. Wauwatosa, (414) 271-7700 www.cafebarvaria.com
When I first
visited the Korean Stone Bowl Grill on the East Side, I found the
pulsing background music to be a little bit incongruous to the sleek
yet soothing yellow and dark wood interior. But after listening for a
few seconds longer, I realized it was Korean pop, not todayís Top
20, and I understood and enjoyed the match of music to interior.
traditional, the menu spans the gamut of Korean delicacies, from fried
chicken to barbecue. But the main attraction is the bibimbap. "Bibim"
means mixed, and "bap" means rice. Bibimbap is a hot, mixed
rice dish. Pick beef, pork, tofu or veggies, and then a hot ó and I
mean, flaming hot ó black bowl arrives at your table.
sizzling bowl is layered first with rice, then with veggies and/or
meat, and topped with a lightly fried egg. Using your chopsticks, you
can break the egg and mix it in, as well as add the Sriracha hot sauce
thatís served with it.
also comes with panchan, or side dishes ó small bowls of sesame and
soy-laced broccoli and carrots, slices of savory-sweet fish cake, and
rice wine vinegar and sugar laced-slivers of cucumber and onion. You
can eat the sides separately (I devoured two helpings of the fish
cakes) or you can mix them in with your rice. The mixed rice itself
comes with a rainbow of vegetables ó spinach, zucchini, carrots and
shiitake mushrooms, and as you mix and serve yourself, the bowl
continues to cook the rice to create a wonderful combination of crispy
Bowl serves sake, mixed drinks and several varieties of soju
(pronounced "sho-chu"), a refreshing spirit made from
fermenting rice, stronger than sake. (The first time I tried it was
when my Buddist monk host urged me to try it on a trip to Japan.) It
can pack a wallop alone, but you can also enjoy it mixed in cocktails.
Bowl Grill 1958 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 220-9111 www.stonebowlgrill.com
Rock at Heidel House
Itís a bit of
a trek to Green Lake, but the Grey Rock mansion restaurant at the
Heidel House Resort is worth a trip. Chef Bryan Markel has done an
amazing job reaching out to locally source most of his ingredients.
"I like to do it as local as I can," Markel says.
One of the
features of his menu is locally sourced game, which he gets from
Hudson, Wis. The elk-stuffed mushrooms I tried were a tempting
appetizer. Markel also makes bison tacos, fried venison medallions and
a breast of pheasant that comes with a vanilla-scented poached pear.
The pheasant is one of the most popular items on the menu, Markel
says, and from the delicious looks of it, I can see why.
Though the game
might lure you in for dinner, save room for sous chef Amanda Fendrykís
desserts. Fendryk not only makes things like homemade custards,
mousses and cakes, she makes all of her puffed pastry dough from
scratch. That means her heart-shaped chocolate napoleon desserts are
made from the butter up. "Thatís really her passion,"
Markel says, and it comes across in each decadent bite.
Heidel House 643 Illinois Ave., Green Lake (800) 444-2812