In summer 2008, Andrew Schneider and Therese Hittman opened a two-tiered, French cuisine inspired bistro and patisserie in the heart of Wauwatosa. Le Reve, 7610 Harwood Avenue, pairs a sleek, contemporary dining environment with a small, well-thought-out menu and wine and beer selection; but the main attraction at Le Reve is undoubtedly their vast pastry and dessert selection which taunts diners from the far reaching glass case on the first floor.
Le Reve will -- not surprisingly -- remind diners of Coquette Café, one of Schneider's stops prior to starting this new venture, and that makes the presence of Le Reve's desserts and cheese and charcuterie plates even less surprising. Chalkboards deliver featured wine and beer specials on one wall, and an adjacent board brags the available tortes, tarts, and truffles.
A recent scouting visit to Le Reve was relaxing and pleasant, with dessert as the highlight of the evening.
Diners can expect a warm, cozy atmosphere with exposed cream city brick and the inviting smell of coffees and French hot chocolate permeating the air. The one page menu tempts with salad and sandwich selections as well as entrées, all with moderate prices and unique flavor combinations. Le Reve is one of the few restaurants I've found that offers paté in sandwich form, with a country pate (pork, $7.50) traditionally paired with cornichons, and served on a baguette with Dijon mustard and gruyere cheese.
Appetizers truly ring French, with moules frites (mussels in Pernod, $10.75), assiette de charcuterie (a combination terrine, mousse and confit platter, $11.95), assiette de fromage, (a cheese platter with apples, pears, and toast, $12.95), and mais oui, escargots ($10.50).
Specials vary daily, and on our visit, the soup of the day was carrot (cup, $3; bowl, $4.50), and the entrée was lamb loin ($21.95). We elected to sample from the daily menu, which offers items such as steak frites au poivre, saumon (salmon), carnard (duck), and one vegetarian option, tarte de champignon, a mushroom and leak tart served with a shirred egg. All entrée selections come in at $21.95 or less, and most offer a paired vegetable and starch.
We were sitting directly opposite the patisserie case, so even whilst enjoying our dinners, I couldn't take my eyes off the lovely tarts, cakes and truffles behind the glass. After much deliberation I settled on a multi-tiered carrot cake with cream cheese frosting ($5.25) and my dining companion sampled a feullitine cookie($1.25), a tiny, rich chocolate cookie with bits of feullitine (similar to a crunchy crepe) mixed into the batter.
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.