With more than 40 restaurants participating in this year’s DDW, there’s more than enough food to choose from. Deciding on a place to eat can be overwhelming during this event, especially if you don’t know where to start. To help you narrow down your search, we’ve selected five entrées that we can’t wait to get our mouths, err, hands on next week.
Vatapá at Charro, 729 N. Milwaukee St.
If you’re looking to expand your culinary horizons, try this classic Brazilian shrimp dish. At Charro, which specializes in Central and South American cuisine, the vatapá consists of shrimp, cashews, parsley and cherry tomatoes in a coconut milk sauce served on a bed of rice. This careful blend of flavors is sure to make your taste buds happy, and it’s a safe dish for those wary of spicy South American food.
Butternut Ravioli at The Knick, 1030 E. Juneau Ave.
When most Americans think of ravioli, they picture either cheese- or meat-filled pasta squares served in a red marinara sauce. And while this classic Italian dish has become a staple at many American restaurants, some of the more aspiring chefs are putting their own spin on the pasta. At The Knick, the ravioli is stuffed with butternut squash and parmesan cheese and served in a light chipotle cream sauce topped with fried sage and toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds). It’s different, delicious and vegetarian-friendly.
Pollo Ripieno at Osteria del Mondo, 1028 E. Juneau Ave.
Osteria takes the chicken breast dinner to a whole new level with this must-order dish. Not only is the chicken stuffed with polenta (a cornmeal paste), it is wrapped in pancetta (air-dried Italian bacon that has been cured in salt and spices). Cornmeal stuffed chicken wrapped in bacon – what more can a Milwaukee diner ask for? The entrée is completed with green beans and mushrooms in a red wine sauce.
Pesce Spada Alla Griglia at Zarletti, 741 N. Milwaukee St.
In English, this entrée means grilled swordfish. If the word “fish” is an automatic turn-off for you when it comes to food, don’t shy away just yet. Swordfish actually has more of a meat-like taste than the fishy flavor that tends to scare some diners off. Zarletti’s version is a marinated, grilled filet topped with citrus butter and served with your choice of gorgonzola mashed potatoes or vegetables. It is a lovely choice for meat- and fish-eaters alike.
Spanish Seafood Paella at Palms Bistro & Bar, 221 N. Broadway.
This Spanish rice dish is full of enticing seafood. Sautéed Atlantic mussels, black tiger shrimp, sea scallops and small pieces of pancetta (there’s that Italian bacon again) are flambéed with white wine and garlic and then simmered with mixed veggies and saffron-infused jasmine rice. It’s a mouthful to say, but a fabulous mouthful to eat. It is not offered on their regular dinner menu, so take advantage of this DDW opportunity.