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Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011

INdustri Café Highlights Local Ingredients

Trendy, welcoming spot takes over for former Fuzion Café

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Locally produced ingredients are the restaurant industry’s trend du jour. Milwaukee-area places like Roots and ParkSide 23 already embody this idea, and another is now joining in: INdustri Café.

INdustri’s owners, Chris Miller and Robert Klemm, bring decades of experience between them. The restaurant is located in Walker’s Point in the former Fuzion Café. The décor remains largely the same, with wooden floors, a bar featuring a sturdy concrete surface, and a large Mobil logo of Pegasus dominating the main art-covered wall. There is a small lounge area next to the windows, as well as an intimate seating area on a balcony above the bar. The place is trendy and welcoming.

The menu at INdustri Café is interesting and thoughtful. In a nod to Milwaukee, there is a liverwurst sandwich and an appetizer of kabobs made with kielbasa and white cheddar cheese. The liverwurst and sausage are made from local artisans.

The sole soup is roasted corn chowder ($8), which also includes a grilled prawn skewer. The chowder, served in a mug, has a cream base with chunks of potato and flecks of roasted poblano pepper intermingled with the corn kernels—it’s tasty and on the light side. The jumbo prawn is impaled on a skewer and grilled. It needs no further assistance, as the grilling proves to be enough. You may want to order a trio of them ($14). There is also an update of a spinach and bacon salad ($8), that staple of Milwaukee’s German restaurants. The dressing is not sweet at all, but this is a very rich salad with abundant hickory-smoked bacon, sliced mushrooms, very fresh baby spinach and a quartered hard-boiled egg. It is topped with pickled red onions, which appear on a number of items.

Entrees include prawns, steak, duck and a homey corned beef hash. Vegetarians will find an artichoke and mushroom pot pie.

The entrees start off with sliced holiday-style duck breast with stuffing ($16) that is cooked medium rare to medium. The slices of meat, cooked to a pinkish hue, are good enough. The stuffing, though, just has too much bread. It buries the nuggets of duck sausage, bits of artichoke and tiny wild mushrooms. Only the fresh sage holds up. But the apple-bourbon and craisins reduction really helps to make this dish and provides the proper holiday flavors. Hickory-smoked bacon-wrapped scallops ($21) simply have been away from the sea too long. The orange-infused maple gastrique is too sweet and the semi-mashed potatoes seem out of place with scallops. The smashed butter-parsley red potatoes, on the other hand, are a proper match for the meatloaf stuffed with Polish sausage ($14). The meatloaf is served in slices with sausage in the center. The apple and fennel slaw make this an updated version of family fare.

The “local source” concept is followed on the drink list as well. A Bloody Mary is made with locally produced Rehorst vodka and all of the beers—a diverse list—are produced in Wisconsin. The smallish wine list features half from California and half from elsewhere around the world, as well as a few vintage ports.

The INdustri Café is an interesting place, though not all of the kinks have been worked out. The kitchen can be slow at times and the service is uneven. At other times, however, it is excellent. The use of local ingredients is a sound concept and the main reason to give INdustri Café a try.

INdustri Café

524 S. Second St.

(414) 224-7777

$$

Credit Cards: MC, VS

Handicap Accessible

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