Bavette La Boucherie is ready to welcome its first guests at their brand new location at 217 N. Broadway. In fact, guests can enjoy their first meals at the shiny new restaurant starting today (April 28) at 11 a.m..
The new location is mere blocks from the former restaurant, but some of the changes for the longtime butcher shop and restaurant are fairly significant.
For one, the new space is about 1,000 square feet larger than the former, seating about 25 more guests at a combination of bar seats, low tables and banquettes. The new space was designed with the assistance of Beth Miller of Form Fine Goods, who helped Bell to choose the colors, textures and furnishings for the space.
“We wanted the space to feel warm and inviting,” says Bell, “While taking advantage of the natural architectural details of the space. I wanted something modern and light, but that also felt timeless.”
Those details played out in a space that takes full advantage of architectural elements like cream city brick, wooden beams and high ceilings, knitting them together seamlessly with clean modern lines and a Scandinavian aesthetic that embraces muted tones of mint, teal, yellow and shades of pink.
Much like the former location, guests seated at the bar have a bird’s eye view of the old school butcher table where Bavette’s butchers cut meats for the butcher shop and for the restaurant. They can also witness the bustle of food preparation taking place in the larger area just behind the blue-green tiled bar.
But guests throughout the dining room also have a view of the larger kitchen, which is visible through a large pass surrounded by muted peach-toned tile.
Meanwhile, a retail space at the front of the restaurant offers an expanded selection of high quality pantry items, condiments, sweets and wines, along with a variety of houseware items – including glasses, platters, vases and candle-holders – many of which would be more than appropriate for gift giving.
The area is augmented by a natural wood fireplace that will be used during chilly spells.
Guests will also find freezer cases with heat and eat items like the restaurant’s soups, along with refrigerated cases containing a selection of Bavette’s sausages and meats, along with an expanded assortment of cheeses, charcuterie and accompaniments. Bell says they plan to add more grab and go items, including salads and other housemade items.
As the weather warms, garage doors on the front of the restaurant can be opened to allow for open air dining. Bell says she also expects to service about five tables on the restaurant's wide sidewalk patio.
A larger kitchen, along with additions like a range hood and fryer, have also allowed expansions to Bavette’s menu, which remains true to its mission of sustainable, nose-to-tail cooking, which makes use of off cuts and trim from the butcher shop to create memorable chef-driven dishes.
While lunch offerings remain largely the same (offering a combination of appetizers, cheese and charcuterie, salads, sandwiches and a few creative entree-style plates), guests will find the majority of changes on the dinner menu.
Additions include starters like crispy octopus with brandade, chorizo and salsa verde, along with substantial vegetable dishes like a roasted cauliflower gratin with pickled peppers, almonds, grapes and parmesan.
Guests can still opt for grazeable dishes like beef carpaccio, steak tartare and crudo, along with a large selection of cheese and charcuterie plates, including housemade pates, mousse and rillette. The new menu also includes slices of sourdough bread from Amano Pan served with a choice of cultured butter or truffle butter.
Dinner guests can keep things casual with Bavette’s memorable sandwiches, including their popular fried chicken with hot honey butter, collard greens, pickled zucchini and pimento cheese. Bavette’s Wednesday Night burgers have also been converted into a regular menu item, which will change monthly. Currently, the burger is topped with Rush Creek fondue, mushroom duxelle, grilled pickled onions and jamon crumbles. Sandwiches are now served with a choice of green salad or beef fat fries.
The largest changes can likely be seen in the selection of larger plates, which now feature a butcher’s cut steak and frites. The butcher’s cut isn’t likely to be a ribeye or filet. Instead, it will reflect the tasty, less common cuts which take skill to butcher and prepare.
Currently, that includes a toro steak, a richly marbled cut taken from the cow’s underbelly which is often used to make pastrami or funneled into ground beef.
The toro is grilled and served with garlicky spinach, bone marrow red wine butter, beef fat fries and aioli.
Additional plates include a pork coppa steak, a cut from the pork shoulder, which is served with mole; fettuccine with spicy lamb puttanesca, ricotta and preserved lemon; linguica sausage with clams, potatoes, leeks, fennel, romesco and grilled bread; and skate fish cheeks served with pea puree, asparagus, mushrooms and brown butter caper sauce.
A new beginning
Bell says she owes much to her staff, who stuck it out during the weeks between their final service at the Menomonee Street location and the move.
“I have a really great staff, and they worked really hard to get everything moved and situated so that we could reopen,” says Bell, noting that the move offered the opportunity to make some much needed changes at the restaurant. “We had a great nine years in our former space, but it was definitely time for a change. I’m excited to welcome people back.”
Hours for Bavette are Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made online.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.