I don’t read reviews before I go to a restaurant. I know, that’s odd for someone who regularly writes them, but I want my experience to be my own, not influenced by someone else’s observations.
And so many are bogus, anyway, aren’t they? I wonder what kind of person it takes to completely trash a restaurant based on some (usually imagined) slight, like “My water had ice cubes in it?” “We were VERY nice to the waitress but it didn’t help.” “I didn’t want onions on it, even tho the menu said that, and I didn’t tell you otherwise.”
I can imagine these people as children: “Wah, you didn’t cut the crusts of my sammich!” “What do you mean you washed my favorite shirt?” Whatever.
None of them have the slightest clue about how difficult it is to start and run an independent restaurant, and then add 4-5 more of the same concept over a few years. Somebody’s blood, sweat, tears, money, debt, and 100 hour weeks. Nor do the whiners have any concept of what it’s like to be a server, one of the least appreciated jobs around, where no matter how big of a jerk your customer is, you’re expected to be ultra sweet and polite to every one. I couldn’t do it. Either. For sure.
So as for me, I look for the redeeming things in every restaurant experience, because I take into account the points I listed above. I have ‘elastic boundaries.’ And I like to be surprised to the point where the reality of a meal experience far exceeds my expectations.
And after that long line of B.S. above, we come to the heart of the matter, my experience at Milwaukee Burger Company (MBC), at their Kenosha location.
This indy has five locations in SE Wisconsin. And during my visit, they exceeded every one of my expectations.
MBC has taken local ingredients to create American cuisine that just rocks. While there are some creative takes on the menu, the chef didn’t feel the urge to go crazy by reinventing American classics.
This is a burger shop. And craft beer. And they excel at both.
So here’s the deal: server – John. Knowledgeable. Friendly. Interested in our experience. Conscientious checking back.
Hamburger. I had the Cheese Curd cheeseburger, which had two giant curds atop the patty (see pic below). If you’re not from or been thru Wisconsin, cheese curds are a pretty standard offering but most of them are pretty awful, reminiscent of those fried cheese sticks in bars.
Curds are not supposed to be like that, and these certainly aren’t. MBC starts with a sizable cube of (choice of) fresh cheese, and douses it with their own unique breading formula before frying it just to the point of the breading being crisp and the cheese starting to melt. Perfect. These should be the standard by which all other curds are judged. I’m not joking, pal.
Onion rings for an appetizer. I’ve had the pleasure (privilege?) of dining in 65 countries, and o-rings are one of my go-to foods to try every where. Spoiler alert? Without a doubt, no questions asked, no contest, MBC makes the best rings I have had anywhere on the planet.
They start with large slices of sweet onion, again into their special batter which somehow ends up being crispy and fluffy at the same time without being overbearing. I like a lighter breading on my rings, not those kind that are more like a string of onion inside a donut. Two of us couldn’t finish an order. A very generous serving, and a good value.
Finally, the burger. I dissemble them, that’s my thing. I want to see how I like each part of a burger before seeing how I like the entire experience. And of course, the beef patty has to be the star of the show, and at MBC it surely it. Great beef flavor, a light seasoning, nice texture. A very pleasurable experience.
The menu offers a variety of ‘pre-designed’ choices for burgers, or the build your own option, with lots of choices for cheese, toppings, and condiments.
The burger comes nestled on a bakery soft, brushed with butter bun, which is sturdy enough to hold whatever you choose to top your burger with. And as I am sure you are aware, flimsy buns can be a problem at many places.
I upgraded my side to get the poutine, which, if you’re not familiar, is the national snack dish of Canada, available everywhere you go up North. It’s fries (here, superb fresh cut), brown gravy, and cheese curds (not fried), and MBC’s “interpretation” is great. Too many chefs today think this is one of those things they can ‘gussy up’ with weird ingredients. Loved this one.
All in all? I’m enthused enough that I will drive the hour that it takes me to get to one of their locations to try many more things on the menu. To me, it is that good. Congrats, people!!! Oh, and I’m not a craft beer drinker, but if you are, you’ll be more than happy with the selections available.
Was there anything I didn’t like? Sure, but that’s just me. Most people will find the wall to wall TV’s with sports enjoyable. Whenever I’m in a joint like that, I always wish they could have one TV on
CNN or something. But you (I) don’t have to watch, either.
Fantastic Onion Rings
Cheese curd burger and poutine
Milwaukee Burger Company Review
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