When Waukesha residents want a nice meal they usually head for Deliafield, Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, or Brookfield. Waukesha can boast a wide array of great cheap places to eat. Rochester Deli is one of the best sandwich spots in southeastern Wisconsin (their Rubens and Pastrami sandwiches are phenomenal), Jimmy’s Grotto’s ponzeratta’s are already legendary, the Mexican eateries are on par with many of Milwaukee’s favorite spots, and Fuzzy’s on Main serves up some of the best breakfasts in the County and one spectacular pub burger.
Unfortunately, Waukesha really has very few places that could be called “fine dining.” Most sit-down restaurants are chains catering to the lowest common denominator. But that appears to be changing and I think it can be traced to a single project, the Clarke Hotel and Black Trumpet Restaurant. Andy Ruggeri and business partner Drew Valozzi finally unveiled their long awaited project in the heart of downtown Waukesha a little over a week ago and the initial reviews from people I have talked to are really good. The food thankfully is not looking to cater to the supper club, meat and potato crowd that has unfairly been ascribed to aukesha’s residents. This is high-end, refined, creative cuisine with dishes like Lobster Confit, a Maine lobster tail poached in Irish butter and served on a white parsnip polenta with black trumpet mushroom stew ,or the Black Trumpet Angus Filet, which is a Black Angus filet seared au Mignonette and finished with a foie gras mousse and black trumpet ragoût. Served on truffle scented potato purée.
Sakura is a Japanese restaurant that opened up a little over a month ago. It’s a vast improvement over the Quizno’s that previously occupied the space. While the service needs some work, the food is good. The fish is as fresh as any sushi place I have visited. They have pretty standard sushi restaurant fare, maki rolls, sushi, sashimi, and a handful of non-sushi dishes to satisfy the annoying person in your party who not only won’t eat raw fish, but won’t even try the rolls with cooked fish in them. If you do skip the sushi, try the Sakura Udon soup. Its a flavorful broth with mushrooms, udon noodles, vegetables, and a huge tempura shrimp floating on top.
In the coming months look for Taylor’s Peoples Park and Generations at Five Points to open. People’s Park is will be an upscale bar/restaurant owned by the same folks who own the extremely popular Taylor’s in Downtown Milwaukee. I have heard that Generations at Five Points will be a Tapas (small plates) restaurant.
Ray’s On South opened earlier this fall and while I am not a huge fan of their food (it tastes good, but not really the kind of food I want to eat when I go out), they are non smoking and the bar is really nice inside.
It seems that this culinary wasteland is finally turning the corner.