Sunday, November 22, 2015
Milwaukee, WI Edition: Sanford
Sanford was the first place I booked a reservation for when I knew I was going to Milwaukee. It boasts award-winning chefs and an impressive repertoire of incredible dishes. It had rave reviews, and I wanted to try this magnificent place.
As soon as we walked in, I knew we were underdressed. While they do not enforce any dress code, it was abundantly clear this was a certain clientele of a certain echelon. Luckily, I had about three drinks in me at this point, so any self-consciousness was gone. Thank god.
The first thing that made me giggle as soon as we sat down was there were these long, thin, brittle breadsticks right on the table. They are some sort of appetizer in a way, but they were just kind of awkward for me. And not super tasty. Don't worry, it gets better.
The bread, while not warm, was very tasty. It had a nice flavor with some herbs mixed in.
The first bite was this amuse bouche made of lamb chimichurri with tomato. It was a nice palate cleanser.
For my entree, I ordered the "Seared Sea Scallops with Watercress Puree, Wine Potatoes, and Wild Mushrooms with Walnut Brown Butter." The scallops were very, very buttery. There wasn't a thick sear on them, but the flavor was delicious. The bedding had a very earthy taste, which I love, so it was a good combination.
Tony ordered the beef tenderloin, which came with yukon potato puree, escarole, and parmesan truffle dressing. I snuck a bite, and it was quite tasty.
On to dessert:
They are known for their desserts, and they often take some time to prepare. So, we ordered two and split them. We ordered the "Warm Blueberry Clafoutis, Lemon Ice Cream" and the "Banana Butterscotch Toffee Tart with Banana Rum Ice Cream."
The "Clafoutis" is just like a thick pancake that had a nice sear on both sides. The warm blueberry sauce made the experience just like eating a pancake + ice cream. A nice sweet - but not overly sweet - bite.
OK so this one was really, really good for me. The banana butterscotch toffee tart is what my dreams are made of. And typically I don't go after banana-y things. But it was a perfect mix of textures and a dark, roasted toffee flavor with the light floral banana flavor. The ice cream had this sort of gritty texture that was just a perfect complement. The little design thing of a mango and raspberry flavor was an outlier - a bit acidic and didn't mesh as well.
And, in case we hadn't already had enough sugar, we were presented with some petit fours. One was a chocolate chip biscotti (meh), one was a shortcake (eh), and one was a caramel almond square. I know it's shocking, but the caramel one was my favorite.
Overall thoughts: This place is a definitely a bit stuffier than I prefer. And I can do fancy. Just don't love "stuffy." The woman next to me was using a neck roll pillow behind her back for god's sake. A fancy one. BUT, I had such a good time. Maybe it was the few drinks beforehand, or maybe it's because we know how to have a good time, but I had fun and really liked my meal.