For years Milwaukeeans seeking a great selection of imported and microbrews, the Gasthaus Zur Krone 839 S. 2nd Street in Walkers Point. Then for some strange reason the owners decided to pack up and leave the neighborhood for greener pastures in of all places, Theinsville. They claimed that the neighborhood was in decline and patrons were afraid to come there. Shortly after their move they went out of business. Had Zur Krone stuck it out they would have noticed quite the turnaround in their neighborhood. The condo boom has pushed south bringing an influx of residents to Walkers Point with money to spend. The area is filled with great restaurants including Don Quixote, Barossa and Crazy Water, which is located in the space formerly occupied by Zur Krone.
The owner, Peggy Magester, has transformed this place into a warm and cozy restaurant, regarded by many as one of the best in the City. As you walk in you cannot help but notice the kitchen, which is located right by the door. I was taken aback by how small it was. My cubicle at work is actually larger than Crazy Water’s kitchen. But don’t let that fool you, that tiny kitchen can kick out some very impressive dishes.
We ordered some wine, which one of our friends thought was a bit sweet so the server offered to take it back and open a new bottle of something else. We decided to stick with it but appreciated the offer to replace it with another selection. We then ordered appetizers and salads. My wife and I split an order of crab cakes. Well it was only one cake, but it was decent sized and had very little filler so the crab flavor really stood out. There was a cabbage slaw served underneath with a hint of fennel, which was a nice accompaniment. The sauce was a creme fraiche with chives and was the perfect topping. I didn’t try it, but one of our friends said the beet salad, with spiced walnuts and raspberry blue cheese vinaigrette, was very good.
On the night we ate there the special was a lamb tenderloin with a red wine reduction served with blue cheese bread pudding and haricot verts (French green beans), I usually jump at any chance to eat lamb so I ordered it and was not disappointed. The lamb was cooked to medium rare and had a nice crust. It was sliced and covered with this amazing red wine reduction which provided a great acidic balance to the richness of the lamb. While the lamb was very good, the unlikely star of this dish was the blue cheese bread pudding. The chef’s twist of turning a typically sweet desert into a savory side dish worked incredibly well. The bread was a baguette and some mild blue cheese and onions were mixed in. The bread pudding was baked to provide a nice crunchy exterior. My only complaint about my entree was that the beans were under-seasoned, but all they needed was a tad of salt to bring out their flavor.
My wife had the fish special, which was Corvina, which is a mild sweet delicious white fish from California. It was served atop some risotto and it tasted amazing. The fish was cooked perfectly and the risotto was rich and satisfying. One of our friends had the Wasabi BBQ Shrimp which while being described as tasty, didn’t have enough shrimp. Shrimp are not that expensive, so I think that diners are inclined to feel ripped off when there are not a lot of them in their entree. I think they could add 3-4 more shrimp and remedy this problem.
We were quite full so we opted to skip dessert, however given the kitchen’s talent with the savory dishes, I can only assume the desserts are also very good. I cannot recommend this place enough. Everything from the cozy atmosphere to the creative food leads me to believe that Crazy Water will remain in the upper echelon of Milwaukee’s dining scene for a long time.
Side Note: Shortly after we dined at Crazy Water the Milwaukee Journal published the recipe for the spectacular Blue Cheese Bread Pudding at Crazy Water. I made it for a Christmas get together and it was met with rave reviews.
839 S. 2nd St.
Milwaukee, WI 53204