Goodkind is oneofakind: A first look at Milwaukee's newest hot spot
One of Bay View's most anticipated new restaurants opened quietly this weekend. Goodkind, the result of a partnership between Chefs Paul Zerkel and Lisa Kirkpatrick, along with Burnhearts owners Jess and William (BJ) Seidel and bartender Katie Rose, is a groundbreaking addition to the Milwaukee scene in more ways than one.
A preview dinner this past week revealed not only expertly prepared food and drink, but also a buzzing friendly vibe that pays homage to both the intention and potential of a restaurant collaboration at which food and drink lies at the fore.
Walking into the newly minted space, you'd be hard-pressed to see much resemblance to the previous quarters of Mama DeMarinis, the pizza joint that was housed in the space at 2457 S. Wentworth Ave. in Bay View.
Work on the restaurant, which spanned the better part of this year, has resulted in a gorgeous space embellished with repurposed barn board and wallpaper and filled with countless upcycled items, including beautiful hardwood mirrors, an old farmhouse-style sideboard and gorgeous locally made hardwood tables.
The large bar, situated in the center of the restaurant, is a focal point with comfortable stools and plenty of room for both eating and drinking.
And this is one restaurant where the cocktails won't be upstaged by the food. Thanks to the work of Rose and a star-studded staff including Dan Dufek formerly of Hi-Hat and Bryant's Lounge, the large cocktail menu sports 13 exceedingly well-executed choices.
Options include the Brandy-based Golden Repair with Korbel, Averna, lemon, spiced tea bitters and Szechuan peppercorn ginger beer ($10) and the Manhattan-esque Wood Dog ($10), a serious drink featuring Bulleit bourbon, Byrrh, Carpano, raspberry syrup and Angostura bitters.
Those who love the delicious pine-forward notes of gin will adore the Morris & Co. ($10) which makes great use of the spruce-forward St. George Terroir gin and a spruce-mint syrup, delicately balanced with Lillet Blanc, lime and a mist of rosewater.
The Nogroni ($10) is the perfect apertif, with well balanced bitter notes and grapefruity accents, featuring Nolet's gin, Suze, Cocchi di Torino and Bitter Truth grapefruit bitters.
Two of the cocktails are available on tap, including a tequila-based option that I absolutely loved called Brightlighter, which features smoked grapefruit and lime with Ancho Reyes and jalapeno-pink peppercorn syrup ($9).
Tap wines were outstanding, too, featuring both Tangent Albarino and Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir for $8 and $11 a glass, respectively. An extended list of 15 bottles, most of which are also available by the glass, range from $28 to $138, with most in the $30-50 range.
And the craft beer list is a doozie thanks to the masterful beer-geekiness of co-owner BJ Seidel, whose interest in great beer has made offerings at Burnheart's Bar almost legendary. And, dare I say, the Goodkind list is even better.
Twenty draft options include classics like Anchor Steam ($6) and New Glarus Moon Man ($5) alongside Founders KBS Bourbon Coffee Stout ($10) and sours like Rodenbach Grand Cru ($9) and Del Ducato Frambozschella ($10).
Bottles, including lambics, sours, ales, and standbys are priced from $3 (for Miller and Pabst) to $50 for hard-to-find brews like Tilquin-Oude Quetsche.
Even the non-beer options include great choices like Aepeltreow Barn Swallow ($7) and B Nektar Zombie Killer, a Michigan-based cherry and apple mead ($8). House-made sodas, in flavors like dry-hopped orange and toasted sesame honey, are also available for $5.
The food, which has been described by Chef Kirkpatrick as a "modern take on European farmhouse fare," includes offerings in five categories: Bites, Larder, Pans, Fryer and Rotisserie.
Bites include fried chickpeas ($2), roasted olives ($4) and chicken liver crostini ($3) – all great bets to order while waiting for a table at the bar or enjoying an afternoon cocktail with friends.
Larder items include a variety of nibbles and salads, including a mouthwatering fromage fort (a spread made from cheeses and wine) served with spring vegetables and Rocket Baby baguette ($9) and a cumin crusted pork belly panzanella salad with roasted cherry tomatoes, mint pesto and pea shoots ($10).
The veal pate ($8) served with cornichons, mustard and whole grain bread is a fantastic take on the chunky country style pates served in the French countryside.
And the garlicky-delicious Caesar Salad is a must-try, sporting fresh escarole, pickled white anchovies and generous shreds of Cacio Pecora cheese ($10).
Pans include a nice selection of items including seafood like Alaskan Halibut with fenugreek roasted beets, pistachio puree and dandelion marmalade ($22) and Atlantic scallops with coppa, mustard greens, raisins and hazelnut served with a lemon cream ($15).
The spicy Dungeness crab bucatini is a deliciously comforting dish featuring thick al dente pasta with San Marzano tomatoes, bitter rapini and Ghost pepper pepperoni from Underground Meats topped with basil oil and fresh crab ($15).
Vegetarian and vegan options include roasted oyster mushrooms served with saffron rice, sweet peas, piquillo pepper and artichoke confit ($16) and orange-sherry marinated soya with coffee glazed black radishes, clover honey vinaigrette and spinach puree ($14).
When it comes to starters and share-able plates, the Fryer section of the menu shouldn't be overlooked. In fact, there are at least two items that should make your short list. The deep fried softshell crab with savoy cabbage and preserved lemon béarnaise is a sweet and salty delight ($18). And the crisp fried calamari, sweet onions, and lemons served with charred ramp remoulade ($10) easily challenges any calamari dish I've eaten in the state. I was especially enamored of the fried lemons, which simultaneously made me pucker and squee with delight.
Rotisserie items – a mainstay for the restaurant -- currently include the outstanding fennel pollen rubbed half chicken ($20), which tasted a little like magic and was served with roasted potatoes that benefited from a constant flow of drippings from the roasting chicken. Rosemary and coriander crusted bone-in pork loin ($20) will also be a standard offering, along with specials such as lamb, goat, prime rib and fish.
As far as desserts go, my eyes didn't travel further than the Basque cake -- an almond-infused tart served with candied fennel ice cream and cherries -- that blew my socks off with its crisp exterior and creamy center.
Ultimately, the biggest disappointment for me was that I couldn't possibly try every item I wanted on the menu. And I expect this will become a perennial problem.
Industry folks, and those looking for late night eats, will be delighted by the fact that Goodkind's kitchen will remain open until 1 a.m. – filling a void long present in the Milwaukee dining scene and generally filled by fast food and taco trucks.
Currently, Goodkind offers seating inside – both at tables and around the bar. But, sidewalk seating is expected to be added in the coming weeks.
Goodkind is open Wednesday through Monday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. with the bar open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Reservations are available by calling (414) 763-4706.
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