Tusk, the new restaurant operated by McBob's owner Christine McRoberts, is now open at 5513 W. North Ave.
The bar and restaurant – which offers a menu of shareable snacks, soups, salads, sandwiches and entrees – officially opened to the public on Friday, Nov. 16 after a soft opening for friends and family on Thursday, Nov. 15.
Tusk, which is named in homage to McRoberts’ appreciation for elephants, sports a warm, cozy interior featuring a combination of white tile, brick and rustic, repurposed wood panels. The bar, which seats about 20, is the focal point of the space which seats an additional 20 guests at both high- and low-top tables.
Folks can belly up and enjoy cocktails, wines by the glass or bottle and a rotating selection of craft and domestic beer or cider.
The menu, which was created by McBob's Chef George Wellington Jones V, was written explicitly to accommodate a wide variety of diners. In fact, guests will find a nice variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free items across all menu categories.
Shareable plates include casual bar-style snacks including tempura green beans; housemade hummus; beer marinated hickory and mesquite smoked and deep-fried wings (choice of garlic and herb brown butter, lemon pepper, smoky barbecue or Tusk hot sauce); and breaded and fried macaroni and cheese rounds (all priced $7-11).
Guests are also invited to build-their-own cheese and charcuterie boards. The base board features spent grain crostini, crackers and pickled vegetables ($3). Additions include a rotating list of cheeses ($7 each), meats, including soppressata, prosciutto, salami and Iberico ham ($7 each) and accoutrements including honeycomb, date spread, beer mustard, strawberry jalapeno spread and olive tapenade ($1 each).
Tusk offers three salads including a house salad with tarragon vinaigrette, an edamame salad with pickled shallots, Japanese peanuts and peanut dressing and a grilled cauliflower salad featuring toasted barley, beets, queso, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and saison citrus vinaigrette. Salads are $8-9 and can be augmented with a choice of proteins including fried tofu, chicken breast, salmon, shrimp or top sirloin for $6-8 more.
Tusk will feature a rotating daily soup, along with its signature beer cheese soup, coconut shrimp soup, a fall stew made with root vegetables, potatoes, beef and stout beer and a ramen bowl featuring a dry style ramen featuring hirauchi (flat) ramen noodles, bacon dashi or umami broth, soft-boiled soy egg, carrots, green beans, Japanese peanuts, green onions, chives and chili oil ($15).
Meanwhile, there are a variety of sandwiches, from the Tusk grilled cheese, blackened chicken breast, pulled pork with slaw to the Tusk burger dressed with saison vinaigrette, garlic aioli, balsamic cherry tomatoes and greens ($8-12). Each are served with a choice of sweet potato chips or slaw. Roasted vegetables, housemade hush puppies, garlic mashed potatoes, side salad or soup are also available for $2 more.
Entrees include grilled or blackened salmon with garlic mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables ($14); pork shoulder with roasted parsnips, turnips and hush puppies ($22) or coffee crusted steak (filet or top sirloin) with garlic mashed potatoes, sauteed broccoli and beer cream sauce with caramelized onions and mushrooms ($19/$15).
On the dessert side, there’s carrot cake, cookies and cream creme brulee and flourless chocolate cake (around $8 each).
For more information and updates, follow Tusk on Facebook.
Tusk’s kitchen is open Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 11 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 11 p.m.; the bar will observe later hours as demand warrants.
Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.
Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.