The successor to Wolf Peach’s old digs in Brewers Hill keeps its focus skyward.
The upper-level dining room at View MKE was designed to accentuate the restaurant’s No.1 asset – the panorama of the city. When Wolf Peach exited the two-level Brewers Hill building in March, some fans of the space worried that the next occupant would mar the vista-based mystique. But in many respects, that has been enhanced.
This is very much a different enterprise for the Tomiches, better known as the operators of family-oriented, buffet-style StoneFire Pizza Co. in New Berlin. The only parallel to that business is pizza, described here as “Milwaukee style” and baked in the refurbished wood-burning oven. The pies join close to 20 small or shareable plates, plus snacks and cheese/charcuterie boards.
1818 N. Hubbard St.
HOURS: Dinner Tues-Sun. / Brunch Sat-Sun
PRICES: Shareable plates $9-$24; pizzas $14-$15
The kitchen headed by executive chef Zach Panoske, formerly of Harbor House, is not reinventing the small-plate wheel here, but several plates are executed well (satisfying and luscious), a mix of simple and sophisticated combinations.
Among more understated dishes, fried Brussels sprouts with goat cheese, pistachios and hot honey ($11); date-glazed red beets with creamy farm cheese and wafer slices of pear ($10); and charred octopus with hummus ($24) all are winners in their own ways: the delicate fried sprout leaves, mesquite-like beets with crisp fruit, and tender, meaty octopus enlivened by harissa paste and creamy hummus.
The Korean beef tartare ($14) and curried cauliflower ($10) are great finds. The plump, pleasingly chewy beef steak gets a nice dose of richness from the glutinous soy egg yolk and sweet-spicy gochujang aioli and bite from the pickled shallots. Spoon it generously on the salt-dusted house-made wheat crackers.
Mild curry courses through the fragile, tender cauliflower florets, subtly dressed with honey yogurt, toasted pepitas, craisins and pickled Fresno chile.
The changing market fish may result in a delish learning experience, as ours – seared moonfish – did ($15-$20). With the texture of swordfish and the color/oiliness of salmon, this great niche fish melded into carrot puree and gossamer-like sliced fresh fennel.
While the toppings come in flavorful variations (e.g., three cheeses, three mushrooms), the pizza isn’t built on the expected cracker-thin Milwaukee crust, nor is it on a chewy, bready creation ($14-$15). It tries to achieve a happy medium, but it’s not tender or elastic enough.
There are bugs to work out, to be sure, but still much to like at this new View.