News that Shepherd’s On North was sold to the folks behind Red Dot and was getting a makeover was cause for excitement on the West Side. It was another piece in an East Tosa scene that includes the Rosebud, Juniper 61, Rocket Baby, Il Mito, an upcoming Bel Air Cantina and more.
After a big renovation and a quiet relaunch, Shepherd’s has now been officially re-christened "The Sherbrooke" (6715 W. North Ave., (414) 607-1045), and I stopped in recently on a Friday to scout the fish fry.
As I say, the sprawling, low-lit place – with a bar and a large dining room and another room off to the side that is being renovated and may open as a cocktail lounge – has gotten a complete re-do, with layers of wall pulled down to expose brick and blocks, new light fixtures and other changes.
On our visit we were just one of many families dining with children. A kids menu offers a burger, grilled cheese and a couple more options around $7 each.
The adult menu has about a half-dozen appetizers ($8-$10), including poutine, a chili lime marinated shrimp skewer, a cheese plate, mushroom bruschetta and wings in a variety of sauces.
There are salads and soups along with a list of sandwiches – steak, chicken, portabella, pork belly – and burgers (including a duck version) and a mix of entrees ($14-$22) like puff pastry salmon, steak au poivre, roasted duck and a couple others.
But, of course, I was focused on the fish fry, of which there are three varieties.
A panko-crusted lake cod ($10), pan-seared grouper ($13) and panko-crusted lake perch ($11). The fried fish is served with a rye roll, a dollop of coleslaw, tartar sauce and a choice of French fries or potato pancake.
The grouper is plated with dirty rice and a tomato crab sauce.
I went for the perch, which was delicious. The panko crust was perfectly seasoned and crisp and, best of all, not greasy, and the fish was delicious and tender. I wasn’t, however, knocked out by the coleslaw, which had a nice crunch but could have used a bit more vigorous seasoning.
The potato pancake was a bit of a surprise. Moderately thick and browned nicely, I expected it to crunch, but instead it was soft, made from coarsely mashed potatoes with some chunks. It’s not how I would describe the perfect potato pancake, but it sure tasted good and I really wished there were two on the plate instead of just one.
Having said that, I didn’t leave hungry.
The staff at The Sherbrooke was friendly and they made everyone – kids and adults – feel welcome. Early in its new life, the restaurant was bustling on a Friday night. It definitely feels like the place to be in East Tosa.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.