Milwaukee: Braise

Tags: dinner lunch

Here’s to another venture into the world of small plates! And boy, was it a delicious one. After work about a week ago, I got to experience the simple, fresh, and locally sourced cuisine at the one and only, Braise! Their menu is seasonal and the food is skillfully prepared. The restaurant is hugely supported by local farmers and is dedicated to teaching people to engage with their meals. They often host classes onsite for home cooks. With that said, you can expect greatness coming from their kitchen!

We decided to choose a few different dishes, which come spaced apart so that there’s enough time to enjoy each one when they’re fresh out of the kitchen. The first that arrived was the faaaabulous grilled mushroom trio. These mushrooms change seasonally, but when we were at Braise, it was a combination of lobster, shiitake, and chantrelle mushrooms, on top of a Parmesan custard, pickled ramps, and ramp jam. If you’re unfamiliar with ramps, they’re a species of wild onions. The Parmesan custard was to die for, but I’m all about the cheese all the time.

I even feel inclined to mention our drinks because they were extremely simple, but positively delicious blends of tea. We had the Rishi blueberry rooibos iced tea and the jasmine mint Arnold Palmer. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with a fruity iced tea. Still, this fancy version of an Arnold Palmer stole my heart. Instead of the usual half lemonade/half tea, they added in two herbs that upped the ante in a huge way! I would drink this with every meal for the rest of my life, I swear.

For our second dish, the steamed pork buns. This was my first experience with steamed buns, which I have been dying to try. I had no idea what to expect! It was very interesting, but also very delicious! The buns reminded me more of a dumpling consistency, but still bready. Basically like biting into a cloud! The pork was wonderfully flavored and covered with a scallion vinaigrette and crushed spicy peanuts. I’ve been hesitant in the past when ordering, but I look forward to trying them again!

Our final savory dish was the humba. This is Filipino braised pork, a crispy scallion rice cake, and daikon slaw. Everything about it was perfect. Not only was this another excellent pork dish, but I loved that the rice cake was the tiniest bit crispy. I happen to love daikon (a mild flavored radish) and was thrilled that they created a slaw from it. It gave each bite a little bit of crunch!

We decided to go all out and order dessert and coffee. There were a few different options for coffee, so we went with the Chemex as recommended by our server. He said it was the “best, most chemically correct” way to brew coffee, and since I’m something of a coffee connoisseur, I wanted to give it a shot. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever had better coffee. I’ve had excellent pour over coffee before, but I’m not sure this method was used. Obsessed!

As for dessert, we went with the flourless chocolate cake topped with the house cherry brandy and fresh cherries. It is accompanied with a scoop of Purple Door vanilla ice cream and toasted almonds. I’ve only had flourless chocolate cake one other time, and they have both been completely different! This one was super soft and almost fluffy. Dense and chocolaty, it paired great with our coffee! But it was the cherry brandy sauce that stole the show. With a bit of vanilla ice cream with every bite, it was the perfect way to end our delicious meal at Braise! I am fully prepared to return to sample the rest of their incredibly crafted menu!

Braise (1101 S 2nd Street, Milwaukee, WI // 414.212.8843)

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