An Early Look at Central Standard’s Underwhelming New Restaurant

Central Standard sets expectations high but doesn’t deliver.

One thing Central Standard’s new Crafthouse & Kitchen (320 E. Clybourn Ave., 414-455-8870) does not lack is ambiance. Besides a rooftop bar, a distillery and a private event room, this impressive 11,700-square-foot facility also feeds its visitors inside a sleek dining room with exposed brick and beams, warm light and lovely plateware. It, in short, sets one’s dining expectations high.

I just wish it met them. At a late-summer meal, I delved deep into the concise menu of snacks, soups and salads, and larger plates ($8-$46), beginning with a crab dip served with crackers ($18) that was creamy and rich but pricey for its size. That set the tone for the rest of my order – underwhelming and overpriced.

The best of the lot was an aged rib eye ($46), which was tender and meaty, though the potato served with it was undercooked. The biggest disappointment was the heirloom tomato salad ($13) – four little slices of tomato sprinkled with a bit of ricotta salata and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. I’ve had bite-sized hors d’oeuvres that were more substantial.

I hate seeing restaurants with so much potential deliver so little. If the kitchen continues in that direction, I’d recommend visitors come for a drink but dine elsewhere.


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s November issue.

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Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.