For the sixth straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com, presented by Concordia University. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2012."
It's always a pleasure to sample a restaurant's new menu. I find it's a bit like getting inside a chef's mind for a moment – and peering around at the ingenuity and imagination that lies there. I had the opportunity to do just that as I joined part of the crew of OnMilwaukee.com for a retreat luncheon at the Rumpus Room last week.
We gathered in a cozy corner of the restaurant, where I expected to sample a few bites of this and spoons full of that, in between pleasant banter and work-related conversation. It turns out, I was only half right. The banter was most certainly pleasant (though not necessarily work related), but the food came out in plates and platters ... each dish better than the last.
Our lunch began with a platter of charcuterie, including the Rumpus Room's chicken liver mousse, Bolzano Old School salami, Underground Meats Goat Salami and shaved cured duck breast along with house mustard and cornichons. Both salami were flavorful, redolent with spices and delightfully salty. The chicken liver mousse was rich and creamy with a subtle hint of seasoning that reminded me of the flavors found in traditional braunschweiger. While I enjoyed the varied selection, my favorite item was the shaved, cured duck breast, which had the texture and melt-in-your-mouth qualities of fine prosciutto, with all the flavor and richness expected from duck.
While we were chatting about the charcuterie, our server brought out delicious bowls of crisp, fried strips of pig ear, which were seasoned – if I'm not mistaken – with a bit of garlic, paprika and salt. Many at the table commented that the ears reminded them a bit of chicken skin with regard to both texture and flavor, and I couldn't…Read more...