El Guapo Mexican Restaurant saturates stomachs with tasty cuisine from below the border, featuring scrumptious eats and drinkable drinks. Initiate ingestion sequences with a helping of empanadas served with roasted poblanos, cheese, and spiced pumpkin with avocado ($3.95). Or try the chicken quesadillas with corn relish ($8.75), then drink down a bowl of guajillo-turkey chili, which comes sprinkled with diced scallions and cheddar cheese ($4.75). After using your teeth to unwrap a pair of barbecue-pork burritos stuffed with cheese, peppers, and onions and accompanied by a side of rice and beans ($10.50), polish off a plate of huevos rancheros ($9.75). Cinnamon-dusted Mexican donuts coated with dulce de leche and chocolate sauce ($6) provide a grand finale to the meal-fireworks.
Even a detective might not realize at first that Terra Restaurant Bar deals in Mexican food. Outdoors there's an unassuming table for two and inside, a handcrafted bar and tables with wooden chairs. No sombreros or depictions of southwestern scenery adorn the walls. But investigate the kitchen and the smell of grilled meats and cochinita pibil are a dead giveaway.
Founders Mauricio, Paco, and Nibardo honed their skills for 15 years in the service industry before teaming up to begin a restaurant of their own. In addition to signature Mexican eats—enchiladas verdes, carne asada, tacos—the menu crosses the border with omelets, pancakes, and burgers often unseen in a Mexican restaurant. Extending its devotion to Hispanic culture beyond just food, the eatery hosts salsa lessons on Thursday nights.
Described by OnMilwaukee.com as "a warm and relaxing getaway that's close to all the East Side action," Tess occupies a renovated Victorian on the Milwaukee River's east bank. Chef Martin Magana and his team man the kitchen, marrying locally sourced ingredients with time-tested counterparts: sage with sausage, strawberries with arugula, and potatoes with beef. Although the chefs adjust the menu seasonally, they maintain a consistently robust wine list and artisan beer collection. Tess's modestly sized dining room opens up to a garden patio, which then opens up to Narnia, but only if you have the proper armoire.
Housed inside the old Gas Light building in the Third Ward, Tulip Restaurant combines an Old World menu of Turkish and Mediterranean fare with a chic industrial aesthetic. Cream City brick walls provide the backdrop to framed pattern prints and an onyx bar with colorful lighting. Amid the dining-room tables, a pair of comfy couches and a coffee table surround a red fireplace that provides a place to warm hands or interrogate uncooperative chestnuts. Turkish dishes include succulent lamb chops, while Mediterranean fare ranges from fettuccine with sautéed shrimp to homemade ravioli.
Crocus Restaurant's story begins in Cold War–era Poland, when Andrzej and Elzbeita Wasielewski emigrated to America in 1964. Nineteen years later, they established the eatery, whose name refers to the crocus flower––one of the first spring blooms in the old country. Today, the Wasielewskis have passed the torch to Dorota and Joel Rewolinski, the latter being a third-generation Polish chef. In the festive restaurant, Joel and his kitchen staff keep things traditional, preparing classics such as braised-beef roll-ups, breaded pork chops, stuffed cabbage, and platefuls of pierogi.
It's not every day that a dinner with friends risks a murder accusation. That's a good possibility for the guests of The Murder Mystery Company, who find themselves in the middle of a investigation for which any one of them could stand accused by a hapless detective. During each interactive dinner, the company's troupe of professional improv actors ignites the dining room with entertaining outbursts and hilarious one-liners in an effort to divulge clues and redirect guilt. Meanwhile, guests work together to sniff out the real culprit, which is definitely not the school janitor in a mask. Birthday parties, bachelorette celebrations, and corporate events can also get in on the interactive action by scheduling a private murder-mystery dinner.