Inventive Small Plates at I.d. at the Delafield Hotel

The best gastronomic reason to live near downtown Delafield is this charming, modern hotel restaurant.

Photo by Adam Ryan Morris

The 10-year-old Delafield Hotel’s sale to a new owner in 2015 preceded – and prompted – a complete aesthetic and culinary overhaul of the restaurant formerly known as Andrew’s. Where it was once separated into quiet, antiques-laden rooms, the new incarnation named I.d. is modern, lofty and lively, with seating options that include a counter facing the open kitchen.

Head chef Jonna Froelich, who held the reins of Andrew’s kitchen for the last three-plus years of its life, led the collaborative effort to transform the menu to a crack mix of snacks (roasted stuffed dates, Cuban fritters) and small plates. Froelich’s varied interests – she holds a master’s degree in British lit – led her to work in restaurants from Telluride, Colo., to Evanston, Ill. She has no intention of letting I.d.’s menu languish and plans to change it often and not according to a schedule, thus giving the menu its tagline “randomly inspired.” There are plenty of spiritied choices here, along with bright flavors and seasonal touches. And while the inspiration and choices may be random, there’s nothing haphazard about their renderings. Froelich runs an orderly kitchen but isn’t afraid to have fun. The plates reflect that.

And while the menu isn’t your traditional three-course affair, it’s simple to create a “meal” from I.d.’s grouping of “Snacks and Spreads,” and plates listed under vegetable-, seafood- and meat-based headings. Start off with bites like chicken liver paté or Cuban fritters with ham, Gruyere and house pickles before venturing down the road of roughage – a wilted spinach and wild rice salad with hazelnuts, grapes, wood-grilled mushrooms and Parmesan cheese. Or the wonderful Moroccan baby kale and wood-grilled carrots with quinoa, apricots, cashews, chickpea fritters and cooling yogurt.

Craving more heft? I am. For that, there’s a wood-grilled, grass-fed Niman Ranch flat iron steak, and the more exotic wood-grilled Kauai shrimp with broccolini, black rice and romesco sauce – both delicious in their own right. The requisite ending at I.d. is the butterscotch pot, a dessert that makes chocolate, peanut butter, banana and potato chips seem celestial. I.d.’s playful culinary message is resoundingly, and delectably, clear in Lake Country. ◆

I.d. at the Delafield Hotel
415 Genesee St., 262-646-1600
Hours: Dinner daily. Brunch Sun.
Prices: $4-$20.

This dining review appears in the Dine Out Pocket Guide in the April 2017 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

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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.