Maybe not favorite favorite, but definitely in the top 5. Carnevor on Milwaukee Street.
David and I have been anxious to try this place ever since reading the late great Dennis Getto’s review. We love us some slabs of red meat, so this seemed like an ideal place to try. When he told me he made reservations here to celebrate my birthday I was so excited, and I still am. I think I can still sense the buttery, juicy taste of my 30-day dry aged New York Strip Steak. Let’s start at the beginning…
We had to eat early because of our show. I feel weird going into a trendy restaurant at 5:30, but nobody looked at us like we were totally lame, so that was nice. The hostess took our jackets and we were led to our table at the far end of the modern, lighted bar. The restaurant looks incredible. It is done earthy tones of brown and orange, the ceiling resembles a ribcage, and the entire place seems to glow with a rich warmth.
The menu is equally impressive. Especially since it said “Happy Birthday Natasha” down at the bottom! It was so cute! After ordering a martini (the European) it was time to figure out how crazy we wanted to go. We listened to our server expertly rattle through the night’s specials. There were many of them. I was really glad to hear him list the prices at the end of each description. I especially loved hearing the price following his mouthwatering explanation of the 7oz true Japanese Wagyu Kobe Beef fillet: $170.
We decided on splitting the “for the table” macaroni and cheese. Yes, that’s right, mac & cheese. Only this had perfectly al dente pasta florets coated in goat, pecorino, and maytag cheeses and spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon.
We thought that splitting an appetizer justified getting a soup and salad. David had the soup du jour which was a roasted butternut squash soup. It was thick and creamy and had a pork and apple potsticker floating in the middle. The texture, temperature, and the subtle spices warmed us up from head to toe. I went with their special baby beet salad. Chunks of red and golden baby beets were scattered across a bed of fresh arugula which had been tossed in a 10-year aged balsamic vinegar. It was accompanied by a slice of deeply marinated tomato and a small slab of Gorgonzola cheese. It was so good! Those flavors go so well together. I ate every last bite.
Then it was onto the main event. The steak. Steaks are cooked to order and have a couple topping options and sauces. Sides and other toppings are available a la carte, but are big enough to share. David got the 20oz bone-in Ribeye au poivre. It came, looking massive, even on the big platter it was served on, coated in cracked black pepper. The plates are white and unadorned. There is nothing to distract from the hunk of red meat in front of you.
I ordered the 14oz 30-day dry aged New York Strip Steak. I got an herbed garlic butter to top it off. It was the perfect complement to the steak’s buttery taste and texture. Both our steaks were done perfectly to medium rare. Cutting into it was like a work of art, the barely red center contrasting against the stark white plate. We ordered an exotic mushroom medley and the haystack- fried onion strings. Both tasted perfect alongside the steak.
We could only eat about half of our steaks and I can’t wait to finish them off at home tonight. Just when I thought the meal would be over, out came our server with a dish lit by a birthday candle. Free dessert? Score!! Dessert was four puffy, crusty, fried doughnuts with three sauces to dip- wildberry, chocolate, and vanilla. These definitely lived up to the meal we just ate. The quality and flavors were perfectly fresh and sweet. It was just the right thing to follow up that hearty meal.
After tax and tip, we spent more than we realized (about $180) but we both agreed it was worth it. At our favorite restaurant, Bacchus, we have to really try to spend that much money (appetizers, salads, soups, entrees, cheese, dessert, wine) but here it was so easy. With steaks averaging $40-$50, the price tag is a hefty one. We won’t be able to return here too soon, but we will be back. Hmm… David’s birthday is in March…