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Jun 23, 2010 07:27 AM

New to Milwaukee, looking for guidance

We will be moving to Milwaukee at the end of the summer and are looking for a plan of attack for finding our food niche. We currently live in St. Paul, MN and essentially live off Asian food. We eat dim sum a lot, Japanese, Chinese (esp. Szechuan), some Thai, plenty of Vietnamese/Hmong. There are good options for all of these cuisines in the twin cities. While we are not looking to recreate our lives here, we would like some leads on how to find some new favorites.
I understand that one can search the boards, but what I am hoping is that people will either point me to particularly good threads or post some blogs or suggestions. I am getting that Peony is the beginning and end of dim sum in Milwaukee, is that right?
Thanks in advance!

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  1. For Thai/Laotion, you'd be hard pressed to find better than EE-Sane on N. Farwell. (you'll also find several other ethnic places on the same block, Ethiopian, Turkish, Indian and Middle Eastern a few blocks up). The place is somewhat of a dump (but clean), but the food is incredible. Unfortunately, you're right, Peony is the only place I know of that does dim sum. However, many Chinese consider Fortune in Hales Corners to be very authentic. Be sure to ask for the actual Chinese menu, as there is a menu for non-Chinese people (sweet and sour/egg foo young, etc.) and one for Chinese people. Many locals also like Emperor of China on Brady St. You'll also find a few good Vietnamese places in town. Milwaukee is full of local gems that you'll have a great time finding and trying. I'll will admit though, I takes a little more effort in Milwaukee than it does in other cities, but there are great places. The suburbs can be a little sparse as far as good ethnic options, but the the city is great! When you get to town I would recommend picking up a copy of the Sheppard Express (the local free paper) as there is a weekly review of a different place. Chains are VERY rarely written up. You can also try Although I can't stand there reviews, it will give you an opportunity to see what's out there! Good luck!

    Emperor of China
    1010 E Brady St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

    1 Reply
    1. re: KoolWhip

      We did go to Fortune for our very Jewish Christmas. It was better than what we have had so far around here, which is admittedly not much for Chinese food. The salt and pepper squid was a little less flavorful than I like and the Ma Po Tofu was also a little bland. I wonder if you need to press them on really wanting spicy authentic food.

    2. Welcome to Milwaukee. This site may also be of some use to you:

      If you can tell us what part of town you will be living in, we may be able to give you suggestions close to home.

      1. Alice - A few other spots you might be interested to check out would include MeeKong Cafe on West North Avenue (near Wauwatosa), which offers a nice selection of Laos, Thai and Vietnamese food (including a number of family recipes).

        Nanakusa in the Third Ward (close to downtown) is a great place for sushi and other Japanese cuisine -- and won't let you down for either cuisine or atmosphere.

        And Umami Moto downtown offers a variety of Asian cuisine, including dim sum on Wednesdays and Sundays.

        Admittedly, it can take a bit more effort to find great little spots in Milwaukee -- but they do exist, and I always think that half the fun is exploring the city in search of that perfect little spot.

        Umami Moto Milwaukee
        718 Milwaukee Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202

        Nanakusa Japanese Restaurant
        408 E Chicago St, Milwaukee, WI 53202

        MeeKong Cafe
        5930 W North Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53208

        4 Replies
        1. re: Burpblog

          These are all such great suggestions and ideas, I can tell I'm gonna like it here!
          We are moving to Whitefish Bay, but I will be working in Wauwatosa, and we are also willing to go anywhere for the best.
          On our next trip out there we will do some sampling.

          1. re: AliceS

            My fav thai is Thai-namite. Don't let the cheesy name fool you. On the east side of milwaukee.

            My fav viet is Hue in Bay View (southeast Milw). within walking distance of Burnheart's too (fun bar).

            Fortune at 108th and National Ave does get raves from asians as best chinese. I haven't tried it yet. But i found it interesting that someone else made the same comment.

            Ee-sane is great, but low atmosphere and spotty service. get there early for lunch or get carry out,. The service isn't horrible. It just takes forever to get your check when youre done.

            Bay View Bar
            3008 Patterson Rd, Bay City, MI 48706

            2599 S Logan Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207

            1. re: Milwhawkeye

              been to Thai-namite twice now and I think their sushi is better than their Thai. Had some so-so drunken noodles the first time while the wife had very good spicy tuna roll. Last night had spicy tuna again, with a very good Red Dragon roll (spicy shrimp with tuna in a spicy mayo), the Mexican (tuna + cilantro and jalapenos roll, there was another fish in there too, I forget what), and a spicy shrimp tempura rolls. And the regular tempura itself was also very good. I love a nice green curry and I might break down and try theirs at some point, but I think I'll still generally stick to their sushi. Service is a bit on the slowish side but very, very nice.

              As said, EE Sane is the place for Thai, but service is so bad/slow it is almost comical. On some days the desire for great Thai outweighs the negatives of sitting forever.

              I'm a big fan of Szechuan cooking and haven't found anything since moving here.

          2. re: Burpblog

            Hong Thai on West Greenfield Ave in West Allis is a Thai place run by a Laotian family. I used to order off menu Laotian specialties. Granted this was a few years ago, but it was delicious, especially their "volcano chicken" with carmelized cabbage and onions.

          3. By the way, how is Jake's Deli?

            2 Replies
            1. re: AliceS

              Jake's is in the top five best corned beef and pastrami sandwiches between coasts. The neighborhood is dicey to some, but I've never had an issue with that, and they are not open at night anyway. It should not be missed by anyone who is a fan of kosher-style deli.

              1. re: Fydeaux

                We ate at Jake's yesterday on our short trip out, and I would not even add the "between coasts" caveat. It's the best Pastrami I have ever had, and I am from NYC. Best EVER.

            2. I'm learning about Milwaukee eats from my husband when we return to visit his family. I never eat Asian in Milwaukee, so I have a few suggestions from other cuisines. My suggestions are all on the south side or in Bay View:
              Jalapeno Loco--sounds touristy, but in fact has excellent moles
              Kopps & Leons--frozen custard better than anywhere
              Lulu's--their Asian slaw is worth the trip
              Canfora's bakery--their donuts, cookies and desserts are delish!
              Palomino bar--pub food, but nice vegetarian options and fun atmosphere

              New places:
              Honeypie--specializes in locally sourced and offers special dietary needs meals
              Pastiche bistro--french food, more expensive, but very good quality

              1 Reply
              1. re: scrub

                I will infinitely second Jalapeno Loco. Completely random looking place located more or less on the grounds of Mitchell Airport, but the food is delicious. Not to mention the fact that the service is insanely fast.

                Also will second Lulu's. Their grilled portobella sandwich with veggies and Boursin is one of my favorite lunches ever.