The “pleasingly puffy” crust and “inventive flavor combinations” the chef creates for Transfer Pizzeria Café's inventive pizzas earned the establishment a feature on Serious Eats. Today, they craft more than 40 different kinds of pizzas with different combinations of about 30 toppings, all laid atop house-crafted sauces: tomato, garlic, pesto, barbecue, and peanut. Made with local and organic ingredients when possible, the pizzas range from traditional to inventive, with combinations more compelling than that of Al Capone’s safe. The pollo verde features chicken with pesto and tomato sauce, feta, and asiago cheese, and the Diavola is topped with hot peppers and salami. Transfer Pizzeria Café's crew strives to give back to the community by featuring local art and live music, and it contributes its vegetable and fruit scraps, used coffee grounds, and discarded paper airplanes to an area compost network.
Chandeliers and linen-clad tables lend a bit of glitz to the warm, welcoming Old Town Serbian Gourmet Restaurant. The menu that gets passed out in that friendly atmosphere features flavorful homestyle Serbian cuisine that unites the Midwest with the Old World, promising a smorgasbord of traditional Serbian stews, dumplings, pilafs, and cutlet entrees crafted from locally farmed produce. The spread ranges from multi-course feasts of chevapchichi and wholesome meals of fresh fish or stuffed cabbage. That diverse selection allows the menu to captivate the palate with dishes that are simultaneously exotic and familiar, similar to having George Clooney move in above the garage.
The restaurants on the Journal Sentinel's list of Best New Restaurants of 2013 have one thing in common?they all have menus that rotate seasonally. And according to the Sentinel, Prodigal Gastropub's "refined, delicious dishes ... stand with the best plates in town."
They come from the kitchen of executive chef and native frenchman Van Luu, who previously worked at famed Chicago restaurant Charlie Trotter's. Luu's expertise in French, Italian, and Asian flavors?combined with his reliance on local ingredients?results in the diverse and ever-changing menu praised by the Sentinel and featured in ample press outlets.
The dishes, which have included wagyu beef sliders, spinach salad with red-wine-poached pears, and rabbit confit pot pie, are served alongside European wines and dozens of craft beers.
Diners eat and drink surrounded by high ceilings, skylights, and roll-top garage doors that open up to let warm breezes or the lawn-mower repair guy in. According to the Milwaukee Business Journal, Prodigal is outfitted with wood reclaimed from barns across the state, transforming the former all-white nightclub space. The gastropub also features a private bourbon room where guests can sample creative cocktails and more than 50 bourbons and whiskeys.
The international vibe that pervades Kasana Cafe & Bistro stems from cook and owner, Ana, who harvested a passion for food from her Spanish mother and Italian father. Located in the historic Third Ward, Kasana devises a creative, ever-changing menu featuring seasonal organic ingredients and gluten-free options. Its dishes appeal to food aficionados, novices, and even on-the-move munchers, who can fuel up with Kasana Good-to-Go's line of nutritious gourmet eats.
Dough leaps from chefs' hands and pirouettes in midair before donning Rustico Pizzeria's slew of fresh toppings such as pine nuts, goat cheese, and eggplant, with gluten-free pizza and pasta available upon request. The menu includes 10 types of sandwiches, some of which are made crispy atop a sizzling grill, and pastas arrive at tables draped in slow-stewed tomato sauce and white-wine b?chamel. A rustic dining room is decked with brick walls, hardwood floors, and sturdy chandeliers. Outside, a wooden patio affords pristine views of the Milwaukee River, and an ideal station from which to christen passing ships with bottles from the Italian wine list.
Milwaukee Ale House echoes with notes of live music and the laughter of pub goers, but the building is also the site of serious work. Beyond a pair of glass doors, the pub's stainless steel fermentation tanks bubble with Milwaukee Brewing Company's creations. When they're ready, these beers make the short leap from brew room to bar tap, forming a beverage selection that Esquire described as, "plentiful and tasty, complementing the top-notch food."
The menu sports a convenient pairing chart that helps diners match prime rib, pulled-pork sandwiches, and spicy beef-and-chorizo burgers to house brews. Ideal with chicken, Louie's Demise exudes the smooth maltiness of a typical amber ale but with a balanced kick of Perle and Tettnanger hops, A meat-and-potatoes porter, the Admiral Stache ages for one month in bourbon barrels, lending a toasty vanilla flavor to subtle notes of milk chocolate and dried fruit.
Situated in the heart of the Historic Third Ward, Milwaukee Ale House's century-old building provides the main dining room and patio areas with waterside views of the Milwaukee River. The pub's decor exudes its own historic charm with exposed brick, a scattering of empty wooden barrels, and vintage beer signs. When live bands aren't performing, focus turns back to the bar area, where the taps form an ornate centerpiece built to resemble a copper-topped wooden vat. Around the vat hang white mugs belonging to members of the Mug Club and office workers who "got lost" during their coffee break.