By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Oct 27, 2015 at 11:12 AM

For the ninth straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee, presented by the restaurants of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, dining guides, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as voting for your "Best of Dining 2015."

If you’ve written off Plum Lounge, 780 N. Jefferson St., as merely a swanky spot to grab a late night drink with friends, think again. Its swanky fire patio is super cool, but the food deserves a taste as well. In fact, a brand new small plates menu released this past week offers up tasty options for snacking, sharing or enjoying a full blown meal.

Take for instance the crab cakes ($13 for three), which are made simply, with crab, mayonnaise and seasonings. They’re softer in texture than most, since the cakes are full of bread or vegetable fillers; but the panko crust on the exterior gives them a pleasant crunch. A charred jalapeno sauce provides a lot of flavor without a ton of kick. And the garnish – micro-cilantro leaves – provide a really nice floral note to the dish.

If you’re in the mood for something rich, take a stab at the lobster ravioli ($14 for six good sized ravioli), which comes bathed in a tomato cream sauce. The ravioli, which contain both crab and claw meat, are outsourced; but they benefit from the Italian roots of Chef Adam Pawlak, who serves them perfectly cooked with a housemade sauce that provides just the right balance of acidic tomato and rich cream.

But, maybe you’re in the mood for something meatier?  Try the petite filet au poivre ($15), which features perfectly seasoned filet, cooked medium rare and served atop a flavorful mustard horseradish cream and a micro-greens salad. Blistered cherry tomatoes are a nice touch and add a smoky sweet flavor to the plate.

Not necessarily new, but worth a mention are the duck confit banh mi sliders ($12 for three), which incorporate the freshness of cucumber, carrot and cilantro alongside tender duck confit with a spread of hoisin aioli. The sweetness and crunch of a toasted brioche slider bun pulls everything together.

Other items include a truffle grilled cheese ($11) served with kettle chips, braised chicken tacos ($13). There’s also an arugula salad with baby arugula, tomatoes, parmesan and truffle vinaigrette ($9) as well as shrimp cocktail ($9) and oysters on the half shell (three for $5 or six for $9). Just looking for a snack with your mojito? Opt for housemade bacon popcorn ($6).

The kitchen at Plum Lounge is open Tuesday through Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m. 

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

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.