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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

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In Dining Commentary

The oyster po boy is a whole lotta lunch.

In Dining Commentary

Molly Cool's opened in 2009 in the space that formerly housed Kincaid's and Third Street Pier.

In Dining Commentary

The patio offers a great view of the river and a roof prevents you cooking in the sun while you eat.

Lunch with Molly Cool's


Molly Cool's Seafood Tavern has settled in nicely in the sprawling riverfront restaurant space at 1110 N. Old World 3rd St. that had briefly been home to Kincaid's and was long the site of Third Street Pier.

Realizing I'd vowed to lunch there on more than a couple occasions but without ever following through, I decided to rectify that. So, on a beautifully warm, sunny summer day, I perched myself on the covered patio and watched rowers row past, kept an eye on the progress of the rebuilding of the Juneau Avenue bridge, gazed over at the Sydney Hih wondering how many more days it had left and just enjoyed being outside on one of the best patios Downtown.

Of course, I wandered into the dining room, too, to have a look around and I found a nice, comfortable dining room that has a casual – but not TOO casual – feel. Still, it's summer and I want out.

Molly's has a lunch menu but it sure looks like it might also serve as a dinner menu, with entrees like a 14-ounce ribeye for $24.99 and pan seared diver scallops for $25.99. Pastas are served in a lunch portion for $10.99-$13.99 and there is an array of soups, salads, wraps, sandwiches and appetizers on offer at lunch, too.

A separate menu lists the day's fresh oysters, raw bar selections and sushi, which are also available at lunch.

Prying my eyes away from the Crab Legs & Lobsters section of the menu and its pound of king crab legs ($34.99) and Lobster Diablo ($29.99) – a grilled cold water lobster with chipotle lime oil and served with ginger and green onion butter – I decided to try the fried clams po boy.

Though not inexpensive for lunch at $13.99, the po boy was large and piled high. In fact, the roll – toasted on the grill – was so packed with more than a half-dozen large fried oysters, tomatoes, lettuce, overnight pickle mix that I didn't even make any attempt to eat it as a sandwich, lest I make a fool of myself, lose most of the ingredients in my lap and/or cover myself in remoulade.

However, with a knife and fork, it was a treat. The oysters were flavorful and tender, though the batter could have been a tad crisper to my tastes. On the side were a small cup of lightly tangy cole slaw and two potato cakes that were crunchy on the outside and whipped smooth mashed on the inside.

Sandwiches come with the slaw, a pickle spear and a choice of the potato cakes, french fries, garlic chive mashed potatoes, chips, cottage cheese or fresh fruit.

Among the sandwich choices are three kinds of burgers ($9.99), a lobster roll on ciabatta ($15.99), a Cuban with pulled pork and smoked ham ($11.99), a salmon BLT ($15.99), fried walleye ($15.99), chicken ($10.99), crab cake ($14.99) and a raspberry turkey breast sandwich ($11.99). You can also opt for a po boy with shrimp or blackened chicken instead of fried oysters for $13.99.

Service was fast and friendly, though when I stopped in, a little before noon, business was slow.

All in all, my Molly Cool's lunch was satisfying. Although it cost a little more than I typically spend at lunch, the food was worth the price and I'll return, if not every week, certainly for a splurge lunch day. Especially, if it's the kind of day I can enjoy the patio again.

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