Each week, we’ll be highlighting take-out from restaurants across the city. Follow along for a new take-out adventure every Thursday. Click here for a delectable repast of all the take-out we’ve enjoyed!
My appreciation for the stellar fare at Bavette is no secret. For years I’ve steered diners to this (oft overlooked) restaurant where Chef Karen Bell and her crew deserve every accolade for their inventive sandwiches and beautifully balanced plates. And I’m pleased to say that this week’s Take-out Thursday feature is no exception.
Bavette’s menu has always been lovely in its ability to accommodate a wide range of eaters. For those looking for a simple meal, there are always bowls of steaming soup (or excellent chili), with the option of corn bread to enjoy alongside or sandwiches served with chips or housemade couscous salad. More traditional diners will find it easy to enjoy multiple courses (appetizer, soup or salad and an entree). And grazers will find a wealth of dishes that lend themselves to sharing or snacking.
On this particular night, we found ourselves in the latter camp, opting for a range of noshes, nibbles and shareable plates, starting off with the smoked trout deviled eggs ($8), a tasty riff on the classic snack that harnesses the light smokiness of trout along with the saline-forward pop of lime-green fish roe.
We also tried out the seasonal vegetable plate featuring caramelized slices of roasted sweet potatoes, pears and beets served with a creamy, tangy goat cheese labneh, slightly spicy ‘nduja honey and pickled currants ($13). The disparate ingredients blended harmoniously, the sweetness off-setting the spiciness of the ‘nduja, the goat cheese labneh adding an additional pop of savoriness and the pickled currents offering a beautiful pop of acid. It was among the best dishes I’ve had in a while.
I was also pleased to see one of my favorite preparations of steak tartare (Bavette changes things up fairly regularly, and this prep is nearly as lovely as their beef tartare with tonnato).
The freshly cut beef took on a rich, slightly smoky flavor from the mild harissa; but it absolutely shone thanks to the herbal notes and citrus of the fresh green chimichurri ($14).
We took some heaviness out of the meal by ordering one of their nicely-composed salads (a meal unto itself or a great dish to split between two or three people as a side).
There are always at least two or three salads from which to choose. This winter preparation featured a bed of greens with a peppy pickled pepper vinaigrette topped with nutty, sweet cauliflower, fresh halved grapes, shards of almond and parmesan cheese ($11).
It was tough to choose favorites among the dishes; but the kuri squash tortellini was definitely a highlight.
The squash, which is sweet and nutty (with nuttiness similar to chestnuts) was fully complemented by brown butter sherry broth and earthy slices of king trumpet mushrooms. Wilted arugula offered up a peppery kick and a bit of parmesan pulled the dish together with its signature umami ($13).
We finished things off nicely with a pair of chocolate chip potato chip cookies ($3 each), a cookie in which the simplicity of sweet and salty come together in a dessert that’s rich enough to split between two people, but that you’ll likely want to keep all for yourself.
How to order
You can go with your comfort level at Bavette, which offers socially distanced dine-in service (reservations recommended), as well as carry-out and curbside pick-up. The latter offerings are both easy as pie. Simply order your meal online (requesting a time for pick-up). If you specify curbside service, park along Milwaukee where street is blocked, or go through the alley off of Chicago Street to Menomonee Street. From there, just call when you arrive and someone will bring your order right out to your car.
Bavette is open Sunday through Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
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.