Need a little sweetness in your life? It’s time to head over to Odyssey Patisserie, the brand new modern dessert cafe in the Historic Third Ward.
Odyssey is located in the former front bar and lounge at Char’d, 222 E. Erie St. And you’ll definitely want to put it on your list of places to patronize.
The cafe features a menu of coffee drinks, hot and iced teas … and beautifully prepared upscale desserts, priced nicely at $3-6.
The patissserie is headed up by Char’d pastry chef Byungwook Lee ("Lee" for short) and Olivia Olander, a ProStart graduate from Greenfield High School who trained with Lee for nearly six months before being hired as his assistant about two months ago.
Lee, who has created delicious desserts for Char'd since its inception, is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island whose impressive resume includes work for Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery and Chef Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin in New York.
Needless to say, he brings a wealth of experience – and classical training in pastry -- to the metaphoric (and literal) table. And you’ll see it in the patisserie’s menu of desserts, which spans options like cookies and mini tarts to French classics like religiuese and dacquioise (both French words which might as well mean "delicious").
On the menu
Among the options, you’ll find banana pudding, Portuguese egg custard tarts, and beautifully crisp canneles, little fluted rum cakes that feature a delicious custard-like interior set off by a crisp, caramelized exterior ($3 each). They’d be perfect alongside a cup of coffee or tea in the afternoon.
Of course, so would the buttery hazelnut cookies, drizzled with chocolate and decadent dark caramel ($3). They’re served a touch warm and are … perfect.
Pistachio lovers will want to zero in on the Pistachio Paris-brest, a dessert made with pistachio flavored choux pastry filled with pistachio cream ($6).
But, it’s summer, so you can’t go wrong with a beautiful raspberry tart featuring layers of almond cake, pastry cream, raspberry jam and a topping of fresh raspberries ($6).
Chocolate religieuse is essentially a duo of cream puffs (one the size of your fist, the other smaller) stacked and glazed with rich chocolate glaze ($6). They’re filled with a combination of chocolate pastry cream, mascarpone cream and caramel, giving them a balanced, nuanced sweetness that’s perfect for the chocolate lover.
But save room for the strawberry dacquoise – an oh-so-classic French meringue cake – featuring ultra light, beautifully sweet almond meringue, pistachio mousseline cream (a silky, decadent combination of pastry cream and butter), and freshly sliced strawberries ($6).
Large format desserts are also available, including pistachio Paris-brest, strawberry dacquoise and raspberry tarts for $25. More intricate desserts, like the beautifully piped Frasier are $50.
Lee says guests can expect the menu to change about every two months. The current summer menu will be in place until sometime in October, when he’ll integrate autumnal spices and fruits like apples and pears. During the winter months, you’ll see chocolate, hazelnuts and slightly heavier options. Lee says he’ll also roll out a variety of special pastries for the holidays.
As for the name Odyssey, it’s meant to conjure the excitement of an epic journey.
"It’s a really nice journey for the restaurant, Char’d," says Lee. "And for a Korean guy who trained in New York City. But it’s also a beautiful journey for the people of Milwaukee. If we have the chance to decorate their lives with beautiful pastries, I think that’s a very good thing."
Odyssey Patisserie is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pastries will also be served at Char’d, and can be purchased for carryout during regualar Char’d hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 4:30 to 11 p.m. and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Special orders (including custom requests) are welcomed; please allow 48 hours notice.
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.