A dependable way to determine if you are eating the food of a chef, as opposed to a cook, is if a good percentage of the menu consists of dishes that either flout an established tradition or adhere to it, nailing it perfectly. Any chef’s career is marked with this zig and zag through ingredients, codified cooking styles and their own stamp.
Most recently, the Bartolotta gang is taking a stab at it with Joey Gerard’s, a supper club in Mequon. Sure the institution’s got its must haves – cue the relish trays and surf and turf – but if you get more than three Midwesterners together over Old Fashioneds and solicit their criteria – which I have done – you’re going to get a slew of assertions. From the glasses the cocktails need to come in, to waitstaff’s uniforms. It’s like Christmas really. Everybody’s got their memories of how it should be, and none of them are really wrong.
I don’t know that there is a right answer. I know that Gerard’s feels right, and, really, that is what it comes down to. It’s the nuances: the lobster you can add to your tenderloin order, the spin of the Lazy Susans, and the Old Fashioneds that smell like your parents’ breath as they carried you out of the car and into the house for bed.
11120 N. Cedarburg Rd.
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