milwaukee: lake park bistro (slideshow)

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Ever since the baby arrived, we’ve been reluctant to leave the house with or without child in tow.  After much discussion, Grace’s parents convinced us to sneak out for a bit of alone time.  But when it came time to make a decision about where to go, there were a lot of things to consider – how far were we willing to stray for the baby (what if we need to rush back), how long was the meal going to take (what if we need to rush back), and what do we want to eat (what if we need to rush back!).  We finally decided to celebrate a bit and try Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro.

The restaurant is perched above Lincoln Memorial Drive overlooking the lake and positioned in the center of the  Frederick Law Olmstead designed Lake Park.   The white building together with the grand set of stairs to the East conjures images of a fine French house.

Despite its stately setting, the food has a distinct bistro flair (uh, duh, the name is Lake Park Bistro).  In ordering, we decided to eat as much as we could of the things which Grace was not allowed to eat while pregnant – rare beef (how about raw?), shellfish (bring on the snails and mussels), runny yolks (gotta have it).

Tasting Notes:

Beignets de brocciu avec prisuttu fume – Corsican cheese fritters served with La Quercia smoked prosciutto, watercress and green apple – the salad was fresh, but the cheese beignets were a bit dense and really nothing special. PS – La Quercia prosciutto is really good.

Steak Tartare – Chopped filet mignon with capers, Dijon mustard, egg yolk and grilled baguette – a fine tartar, more comforting than revelatory

Escargots Bourguignons en Croute – Traditional Burgundian snails baked with garlic-parsley butter, diced tomato and mushrooms under a pastry crust – succulent escargots in a perfectly seasoned garlic parsley sauce begging to saturate the bread near by.

Oeuf Mollet – Sauteed asparagus with a fried whole soft cooked egg, frisee lettuce, and black truffle vinaigrette – a very nice salad with strong essence of mushroom bolstered by the scent of truffles.  The fried egg is nice no matter how many times I meet it either here or at Bacchus.

Loup de Mer en Papillote – Mediterranean sea bass with shrimp, mussels, and fingerling potatoes steamed in parchment and served table side – frankly a disappointment.  Aside from the presentation preparation was all over the map.  Fish slightly over done.  Potatoes underdone.  Mussels and shrimp overdone.  Everything, under seasoned.

Cotelette de porc roti – Roasted Berkshire pork T-bone with a potato-cauliflower mash, Swiss chard mustard-onion compote – delicious.  Pork was spot on.  Potato-cauliflower mash had an interesting texture, but delicious non the less.

Dessert Degustation - Dessert Tasting

  • Pavlova – Classic baked meringue filled with pastry cream, citrus melange and mint – nice pavlova.  Light and airy.
  • Cremes Glacees Et Sorbets - A selection of three house-made ice creams or sorbets – textures were off, just not ass smooth as I like my ice cream, but still ice cream, so how bad can it be.
  • Biscuit au Chocolat - A warm chocolate-almond cake with a chocolate ganache center with creme Anglaise and mint ice cream – always a nice finish to a meal.

Overall, the experience was very nice.  We even lost track of time for a bit before snapping back to reality and rushing back home to the baby.   There were clearly some issues that detracted from dinner keeping it from being perfect, but it was just nice to eat out and eat whatever we wanted again. Perhaps expectations were high, but I think that’s what comes with a James Beard award.  The food is good and classic. What sets Lake Park Bistro apart is not its food, but rather its sense of place.

Lake Park Bistro
3133 East Newberry Blvd.
Milwaukee, WI 53211

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