Meals I've Eaten, Issues I've Seen & Operations Advice


Day 5 of Restaurant Week-Graze

GrazeGraze chose to not take reservations during Restaurant Week and instead was on a first come, first serve basis.  This is smart because it still gets people in their door and to the bars at both Graze and L’etoile (which they  opened for overflow).  They also chose to charge $30 for dinner, not $25.  The service at Graze was warmer than I’m used to and very attentive-which is definitely the norm.  I was happy to see more smiles and a lightened up mood.

Here were our RW choices and what here’s what we picked…

First Coarse Choices: Beet “Steak”  & Cod Cakes 

cod cakeThe cod cakes were a substantial portion of two thin and crispy cakes held together by egg and very little if no breading.  They were served with sautéed shoots, a lightly spicy aioli and sundried tomato relish studded with a few nicoise olives. The aioli left me wanting more spice and the relish fell flat and didn’t really pair with the cod.

beetsThe beet “steak” was so named because  it was dressed on the plate with red win jus and topped with a single onion ring to simulate a real steak.  Herbed goat cheese and watercress rounded out the dish that was so good I thought my companion might lick the plate clean.  It was a warm, wonderful pairing with complementary flavors and gorgeous presentation.


Entree Choices: Chili- Braised Pork Shoulder & Shellfish Bouillabaisse

bouillaOn a cold night, the chili braised pork shoulder with rich cheddar grits and sautéed spinach is the way you want to go for comfort food.  The grits had bold cheddar flavor and the pork was very juicy with a nice kick of heat.  The bouillabaisse was a disappointment for me. Although it had all the ingredients a classic version should have, it oddly lacked flavor.  Perhaps more saffron?  The seafood was well prepared but the broth rather boring.


Dessert Coarse Choices: Strawberry Panna Cotta & Apple-Almond Tart

apple tart

I am a huge lover of panna cotta. Five restaurants had it on their menus this Restaurant Week. Is this a hot new trend in desserts?  Not sure, but I hope so.  Panna cotta is basically gelatin and heavy cream, infused with flavor. Gelatin is added to firm up its consistency.  So yes, it’s cream Jello Wisconsinites!  Trust me, Bill Cosby NEVER sold Jello like this. panna cottaThe little lovely pink cream was bursting with fresh strawberry flavor and had perfect creamy texture.  It was served with a thin slice of pistachio biscotti & a drizzle of citrus honey (not needed but delightful).  My friend, who just returned from an extended trip to Paris and the eating of many an apple tart, approved of her American version. The crust and crumbly top was crisp, sweet and studded with toasted almonds and powdered sugar. There was more almond in the crust in the form of marzipan. It was accompanied by with raspberry sauce & sweet cream cheese.

Cappuccinos accompanied our desserts and were reminiscent of the perfect ones we had in Paris together in November- ideal steamed foam and served with a little spoon and sugar cube. Treat yourself to one of these next time you’re at Graze, along with ANY of their exquisitely made pastry, and you will be spoiled for sure!

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