Each week we are featuring a new restaurant as part of “Cash Mob MKE,” an initiative created to give Milwaukee restaurants a boost during these tough times. Click here for a delectable repast of everything we’ve ordered (maybe inspiration for your next carry-out meal)
311 N. Plankinton Ave., (414) 276-4400
Americans celebrate the day’s end with happy hour. Italians celebrate every day with aperitivo, a similar cultural expression that embraces typically low abv cocktails paired with snacks (think: cheese, charcuterie, marinated vegetables and other noshes), both of which serve to both whet your appetite – and tide you over – until dinner.
When I first wrote about Aperitivo opening in the Pritzlaff Building, it was some of the most exciting news I’d reported in a while, and I was very much looking forward to embracing the notion and creating an at least weekly habit of dropping by for a glass of wine or an amaro and snacks with folks from my social circle. And then… COVID-19 hit, and I found myself drinking my amari at home.
After months of renegotiating my “normal” habits – and looking for meaningful ways to support local restaurants – I found myself gravitating toward a style of eating that was often more like grazing. Meals became like little feasts with bites of this, spoons of that and plenty of great conversations with my husband in between sips of wine or cocktails. Aperitivo is the perfect spot to acquire such a meal.
This week, we availed ourselves of their amazingly noshable menu, ordering up drinks, cheese and charcuterie, hummus, pizza and dessert to enjoy at home.
The hummus plate featured garlicky hummus (perfect with a squeeze off the included lemon), marinated olives for noshing and soft, freshly baked pita bread that was still slightly warm when we got it home ($8).
It went perfectly with the citrus notes in the margarita we ordered (made with Chamucos Blanco, Lazzarroni Triplo, fresh lime and lemon and bar sour ($12, look for it amidst the list of beverages for carry-out). It was refreshing and nicely balanced; I’d be more than happy to order a 32-ounce growler next time!
We supplemented that with a cheese and charcuterie plate that showcased spicy ham capocollo, sopressata and calabrese with Asiago, sage derby and Irish cheddar cheeses ($17).
Accompaniments included a melange of dried fruits and nuts, grapes, marinated olives, fig preserves and toasted bread. It was perfect with a nip of the rose we ordered (available in half-bottles).
Their 11” pizzas are built to feed one hungry diner; but they’re also perfect for splitting. I was intrigued by the Mediterranean flavors in our choice, which featured heady lamb sausage, red onion, feta cheese, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and Italian seasoning ($12).
I made a note when I ordered not to cut the pizza, and it transported beautifully that way. That, combined with a quick refresh (no longer than 5 minutes) in a preheated 500-degree oven made it downright close to perfection.
The crust was crisp on its edges and fairly soft elsewhere (but with a nice chew), making it foldable like a New York style pie. Meanwhile, the toppings were flavorful and balanced: the housemade sauce was deeply flavored of tomato, the onions slightly sharp and the feta brought a pop of briny salt to the table that complemented the lamb sausage.
If you like almond flavored desserts, don’t sleep on the Italian almond cake, which was moist and dense, with a crisp, sugared crust and a pretty fantastic almond flavor ($7).
How to order
Order online for carry-out or third-party delivery; either way, be sure to use the ordering link on their website. Dine-in is also available for up to six. Reserve your table by phone at (414) 276-4400. Can’t support with a meal today; purchase a gift card online to use another day or to give as a gift.
Aperitivo is open today for breakfast (8 to 11 a.m.), lunch or dinner (11 a.m. to 9 p.m.).
If you choose to participate in our restaurant love bomb, bolster your support by sharing photos of your meal on social media using #CashMobMKE.
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.