Recently we went to the new Milwaukee restaurant, Ash, in the Iron Horse Hotel, which replaced the very fine but dated Symth. We went with our friends Mark & Julie Darnieder. Ash is run by the Dan-Dan boys, Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite. This is their 4th Milwaukee location for fine dining, including the aforementioned Dan-Dan, EsterEv, and Fauntleroy.
As you walk into the restaurant, one of the first things you notice is the wood-burning hearth, where most of the food is prepared (hence the name “Ash”). We were lucky enough to be seated at a table right next to the bustling wood-burning oven station. It is the centerpiece of the room and the restaurant.
The wait staff was pleasant and helpful, very knowledgeable about the menu. We ordered two appetizers; the grilled avocado, with onion spread, Wisconsin white cheddar, bacon, and on-the-hearth toasted sourdough and the grilled eggplant, which was placed on top of roasted baba ganouj.
The grilled eggplant was a very tasty dish and an inventive way to serve grilled eggplant two ways in the same appetizer. The grilled avocado was delicious, but wasn’t as memorable as the eggplant. The presentation, quantity and imaginative way to serve these two dishes set the tone for the evening.
Although there are many fine main course choices, we were very interested in the “For 2” entrees, which are made for sharing. We ordered the Peking Duck For 2, glazed in Wisconsin’s own Spotted Cow Beer. Mark & Julie had the Short Ribs For 2, both dishes served with lettuce cups, sauces, fry bread, scallion, cucumber and radishes. The duck was perfectly cooked and the short ribs were as tender a piece of meat you could ever want. The server told us that they slow cook the short ribs for 48 hours, which is why they are so tender. We also had the Smashed Fingerling potatoes, with umami mayo. It was another well executed side dish.
Now it wasn’t cheap, but the amount of food that was served allowed us to take home a significant quantity of duck and beef. We got at least two more meals from the leftovers at home the following day.
The overall experience was outstanding and a return visit will be happening soon. Ash will undoubtedly make the Top 30 list of Milwaukee’s best restaurants next year. It was that good.
Ash is located at 500 West Florida Street Milwaukee, WI 53204 in the Iron Horse Hotel. They also serve a weekend brunch, which I had heard mixed comments about. Their website is Iron Horse Hotel/Ash Website
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