Bavette’s New Location Gives Diners More to Love

Bavette’s new space is roomier and lovelier than the original, with an expanded, still delicious menu to boot.    

Photo by Marty Peters

When Bavette La Boucherie closed its original Third Ward den – digs it occupied for nine years – I started to feel what I call Restaurant Attachment Disorder. I thought back to that summer night I met a friend for a charcuterie plate, after which I biked the Oak Leaf Trail home to the serenade of legions of crickets. I worried that this storefront where the diner feels embedded in the action – sausage-making to sandwich-carving – would lose its Bavette-ness. 

But then, weeks later, after the baton officially passed to the new locale two blocks away, the clouds part and my wistful yearnings … wait, what wistful yearnings?  

The new space is bright, open, modern, bigger. The few shelves of products Bavette had back on Menomonee Street have grown to a modest marketplace of glass- and tableware, along with crackers, condiments, frozen meals and such. You can choose to eat at the (full) bar or sleek upholstered banquette. Chef/owner Karen Bell can still see you eating your butcher’s cut steak frites while she plates dishes in the open, tile-surrounded kitchen. The tile, soft lighting and colors (pale green, peach), exposed brick and beams – they all just work. While the old space felt more like a shop, this place on higher-profile Broadway smacks of a restaurant. The menu is a mix of old and new. 


 

SIGN UP FOR OUR FREE WOMEN & WEALTH WEBINAR

Join us for a live conversation about maximizing the benefits of your Health Savings Account. Associated Bank’s CFA and VP of Investment Portfolio Management Lora Olenchek and SVP and Director of HSA and Health Benefits Melissa Hukriede will share expert tips and answer your questions.


Photo by Marty Peters

I’ve had a couple of good meals here, and about the only thing I miss from the previous location is Wednesday burger night. But Bavette has remedied that by adding a burger to the regular menu, and it’s a nice one – a juicy inch-or-so-thick patty of grass-fed beef fancily topped (at this writing) with Rush Creek fondue, mushroom duxelles, ham crumbles and grilled pickled onions ($18). With a deep fryer on the premises now, you can have the burger with properly crisp, rich frites fried in beef fat. That is a treat. 

Among the new items on the menu is the seared octopus-brandade starter with wispy sliced chorizo and salsa verde. ($18). The revelation here is that rich brandade, a creamy puree of salt cod and potato. In large-ish plate territory, the pork coppa steak – a well-marbled, flavorful loin cut – is lifted by a luscious mix of subtly layered mole negro sauce, salsa macha (chile oil), briny pickled radish and sweet pineapple ($28). There’s a good, hearty Spanish-tinged stew of house-made linguica (a Portuguese sausage), clams, fennel, potatoes and leeks in a bold, boisterous tomato-red pepper sauce (called romesco) served with grilled bread ($26). And the skate cheeks (truly the cheek of the fish) are tender hunks of pan-seared succulence, strong enough to carry the richness of a brown butter caper sauce laced with curried raisins and pine nuts ($28). 

Yes, the new location will make you want to taste everything that’s new, but I fall back into routine with dessert – Bavette’s terrific potato chip-chocolate chip cookie ($3). I have to cave to my attachment disorder somewhere. 


Bavette

217 N. BROADWAY | 414-273-3375

Hours: Tues-Thurs 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri-Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Prices: Vegetables/soup $10-$14; sandwiches $15-$18; plates $24-$28
Reservations: Recommended


 

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

Find it on newsstands or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop

Be the first to get every new issue. Subscribe.

Comments

comments

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.