Monday, July 25, 2016

Buckley's Restaurant & Bar - Milwaukee

We visited the fabulous Milwaukee Museum of Art in downtown Milwaukee, right on the shore of Lake Michigan. Judy googled for a place to eat nearby and we settled on Buckley's, a walk that took us 10 or 15 minutes into the city away from the lake. It was in its own stand-alone building on a corner, with umbrellas over tables outside and a cute mural on the outside wall. It looked inviting and fun. Trip Advisor rated it no. 67 out of 1,242 restaurants in Milwaukee.
Mural on outside wall.
We opted to eat inside, unlike most of the other guests. We'd just walked and wanted the air conditioning. The menu was creative and unusual, something that I look for. Judy ordered truffle fried artichokes with parmesan cheese, chives and lemon-truffle oil. She started raving about it from the first bite and she has mentioned it several times since, claiming it as perhaps her favorite artichokes ever. The presentation was very different. They had a fried, crispy look, but were very tender. There were also lots of them and they were nicely seasoned.
Truffle fried artichokes
I ordered a cup of clam chowder and was hugely disappointed by it. It had none of the cream, butter or thickness I associate with clam chowder. It did have a fair amount of clams that were cooked nicely, but it had large chunks of potatoes and was very bland - more of a bland vegetable soup with clams. As I look at the picture, it looks buttery, perhaps it was not salted butter. I did not finish it, some of my least favorite clam chowder ever. 
Clam chowder (vegetable soup)
Thick bread with butter.
I also order sauteed shishito peppers with almonds, green onions and romesco sauce. I've had shishito peppers once before from a burger place in Redlands and found them wonderful. They did not disappoint. They were a little charred and wilted, and with a little salt, were a perfect snack food. Romesco is a mixed nut and red pepper based sauce from Catalonia in northeastern Spain. It was mild and did not really add all that much to the peppers themselves, which were the stars of the dish. I'd love to sit down to shishito peppers in front of the tv and watch a football game. I'm starting to think that they may be the best peppers as a stand-alone dish I've had. The size is right, they have spice, but are not overly so, and they have a nice flavor. 
Shishito peppers and romesco sauce (the orange bowl)
Judy also got what I believe was a beet carpaccio salad with arugula, smoked blue cheese, and a pistachio vinaigrette. I'm not sure why they called it a carpaccio, as that term relates to raw meat thinly sliced or pounded thin. Perhaps it was because the beets were thinly sliced? It had lots of chunks of pistachio and the blue cheese was nice. 
Beet carpaccio salad 
I also got grilled octopus with polenta, a paste made from corn meal and then fried or baked. I've not had much polenta, but I enjoyed it. It was quite thick and reminded me of grits. It had a few leaves of frisee on top, a member of the endive family with a slightly bitter taste. It had fig vincotto, which is a dark, sweet, dense condiment made in northern Italy from non-fermented grapes, but this was apparently made from figs. I believe it was the dark substance on the octopus in the picture. Finally, it had a paprika-pancetta vinaigrette. Pancetta is an Italian bacon made from pork belly that is salt cured and spiced. It made a very cool oily-type substance on the plate that reminded me very much of hot chile oil, so much so that I was a little disappointed it did not have the heat of the hot chile oil. I wanted the vinaigrette to be more aggressive/assertive. This dish was very unusual. I've not had much octopus and certainly none prepared in this way. It was good, but it had the potential for so much more. I wanted to like it more than I did just because it was so unusual and fun looking. 
Grilled octopus with polenta
Overall, we really liked Buckley's, a place we would visit again without hesitation.

1 comment:

  1. Next time I'm getting a double order of artichokes and nothing else. Or maybe s triple order.