I first encountered Eddie Martini's about 10 years ago at a Chicagoland food show that featured a smattering of Milwaukee restaurants. At the time, I was so taken with the samples I later ventured west to the restaurant and found the same simple perfection throughout Eddie Martini's menu.
Over the years, the restaurant at 8612 Watertown Plank Rd. in Wauwatosa has garnered recognition in Gourmet magazine and is one of Milwaukee area's four DiRoNa award recipients (Distinguished Restaurants of North America) alongside Dream Dance, Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro and Sanford. A recent visit to the restaurant solidified its reputation as one of Milwaukee's premier dining establishments.
Eddie Martini's cuisine is simplicity defined. Just about every item on the menu is simply and expertly prepared with flawless results. Service is prompt and professional, attentive without being invasive, and the timing here is flawless, making a dining experience at Eddie Martini's one to be treasured.
Appetizers have heavy emphasis on seafood, with options for escargot, an ocean martini with crab, lobster, shrimp, scallops, oysters and mussels, and black and blue ahi tuna among the selections. We tried a blue crab cocktail ($13) that paired light, fresh lump crab with a choice of green goddess or aioli for dipping, both of which made a good compliment to the sweetness of the crabmeat, which was delightful on its own as well.
A spinach salad ($7) added spicy walnuts to a contemporary version of the salad with shallot-bacon dressing and crumbled aged cheddar cheese for a comforting and delicious result.
Duckling ($24) was wonderfully tender and balanced with a marmalade glaze and a woodsy cherry pecan wild rice. As with all the other dishes we sampled, plating was straightforward and beautiful and the flavors well-matched.
A 6-oz. filet ($25) with mushrooms ($4) came with a choice of potato; I opted for the potato bacon hash. The filet was divine and sliced at just the touch of my steak knife. Cooked to a lovely pink medium rare, drizzled with melted butter and eaten with a forkful of well-seasoned mushrooms, this cut of beef is one of the city's best. The side of hash was a great comforting and very basic accompaniment that made the meal even more enjoyable.
We finished the evening with a banana cake ($7) filled with molten chocolate and topped with a scoop of banana ice cream. The plate was intricately laced with chocolate sauce and garnished with raspberries for a stunning presentation and flavor combination.
The breadth of experience and expertise at Eddie Martini's easily makes it perfect for everything from a business meeting to an intimate date night for two. The restaurant's longevity, dedication to high-quality cuisine and reasonable prices make this a place to try if you haven't yet, and one to return to if it has been a while since your last visit. I'll definitely be back the next time I'm looking for a nearly perfect dining experience.
Amy L. Schubert is a 15-year veteran of the hospitality industry and has worked in every aspect of bar and restaurant operations. A graduate of Marquette University (B.A.-Writing Intensive English, 1997) and UW-Milwaukee (M.A.-Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Writing, 2001), Amy still occasionally moonlights as a guest bartender and she mixes a mean martini.
The restaurant business seems to be in Amy’s blood, and she prides herself in researching and experimenting with culinary combinations and cooking techniques in her own kitchen as well as in friends’ restaurants. Both she and her husband, Scott, are avid cooks and “wine heads,” and love to entertain friends, family and neighbors as frequently as possible.
Amy and Scott live with their boys, Alex and Nick, in Bay View, where they are all very active in the community. Amy finds great pleasure in sharing her knowledge and passions for food and writing in her contributions to OnMilwaukee.com.