Wednesday, April 4, 2012

AMERICAN

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Buck Bradley's

1019 N. Old World Third St.

A saloon with 1890s charm with a bar said to be the longest east of the Mississippi. The dining room serves burgers, sandwiches, pizza, salads and a few dinner entrees. The Sicilian tenderloin is a treat. (J.B.) $$. CC. OD, DS, FF, FB. 224-8500

Comet Café

1947 N. Farwell Ave.

An all-in-one bar, restaurant and coffee shop, Comet Café cooks its comfort food from scratch using mostly local ingredients. Entrées are hearty and satisfying, with options including meatloaf with beer gravy, a turkey dinner and a vegan Salisbury steak (one of many vegetarian or vegan options). Among the more inspired sandwiches are the Leghorn (pulled chicken with vegetables topped with cream cheese and peach jelly) and a vegan gyro made with grilled seitan. Breakfast options, including pancakes made with bacon (one of the menu's favorite ingredients), are served until 3 p.m. daily. (E.R.) $-$$. CC. OD. SB. FF. FB. Handicap access 273-7677

Crabby's Bar & Grill

2113 E. Oklahoma Ave.

Crabby's Bar & Grill has been a Bay View fixture since 1964. A windowless dining room diminishes distractions allowing diners to focus on specialties ranging from Cajun, seafood, steaks, and pasta dishes. Homemade dressings are a nice touch on the salads. Tuesdays through Thursdays and Saturdays sample Francisco's classic thin crust pizzas featuring favorite traditional toppings. For those with a more adventurous side, try a cheese and kraut pizza topped with sauerkraut, caraway and sausage. (S.H.G) $$-$$$. CC. FF, FB. Handicap access. 769-9999

Eddie Martini's

8612 Watertown Plank Road

Just before the renaissance in Milwaukee dining began in the late '90s, Eddie's opened a swanky retro steak and chop place with great food, four-star service and a snazzy, well-stocked bar. Many restaurants have come and gone since it was established in 1995, but Eddie Martini's remains as busy as the day it opened. (D.L.) $$$-$$$$. CC. FB, RS. OD. Handicap access. 771-6680

Frankie's Sammiches

5300 W. Blue Mound Road

As the whimsical name suggests, Frankie's specializes in sandwiches, including such staples as hamburgers and BLTs, meatball and turkey wrap, plus more unusual contenders like the pepper and egg on French bread. Frankie's began as a food cart known for Italian beef and the sandwich offered at the restaurant is piled high and juicy, accented by choice of sweet or spicy peppers and a dollop of mozzarella. It's a mouthful. Along with the egg sandwich, vegetarians can try the portabella mushroom, profuse and arranged like a hamburger on a bun with sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. (D.L.) $. CC. 301-2141

Griddlers Café

41600 W. Loomis Road, (414) 545-6565

2012 W. Layton Ave., (414) 282-2460

211 N. Chicago Ave., South Milwaukee, (414) 762-8801

7510 W. Layton Ave., (414) 281-9696

10706 W. Greenfield Ave., (414) 727-7722

N88 W16747 Appleton Ave., (262) 255-2170

When several locations in the venerable George Webb franchise decided to break away under a new name, the owners gave the venues a gently modern facelift and updated the menu, offering more sides (including BBQ bacon beans and a side salad), expanded their breakfast offerings and changed their coffee blend and chili. Among the most popular new additions to the menu is the Jalapeno Hangover Burger: a double cheeseburger with bacon, jalapenos and a fried egg. (E.R.) $

Honeypie Bakery and Café

2643 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

Honeypie's menu is mainly sandwiches plus a few appetizers, entrees and salads. The theme is home-style Midwest cooking. Expect plenty of pork, chicken, turkey and bacon. The pork fries features Honeypie's fine French fries smothered with pulled pork, bacon and cheese sauce. The davenport is the ultimate open-faced roast turkey sandwich, a mountain of food with horseradish-mashed potatoes. This is true slow cooking, no shortcuts at all. (J.B.) $-$$. CC.OD. SB. Handicap access. 489-7437

Hubbard Park Lodge

3565 N. Morris Blvd.

Tucked away on the banks of the Milwaukee River, the Hubbard Park Lodge enjoys a scenic woodsy locale. Offering its rustic cathedral ceiling space for weddings and other events most days of the week, the Lodge now also serves Friday Fish Fry and Sunday brunch. The former is a laid-back but organized affair with attentive servers, high quality surf and turf selections and a family-friendly atmosphere (you probably will see small children dancing to the accordion music). The beer battered cod is a particularly tasty Wisconsin favorite, and the drink menu continues the local pride with selections from the Lakefront Brewery. (S.M.) $$. CC: All major. RS, SB, FF, FB. 332-4207

Indulge

708 N. Milwaukee St.

The choices here are charcuterie, wine or chocolate. Indulge in a wine of over 300 vintages and a charcuterie menu that ranges from duck prosciutto to speck and Serrano ham. The chocolate is merely the icing on the cake. Indulge! (J.B.) $$$$. Handicap access. 390-9463.

Mason Street Grill

425 E. Mason St.

The latest venue at the Pfister Hotel features a casual setting, a bar room with fireplace, a dining room and a marble counter where patrons are able to watch the chefs at work. The menu includes excellent steaks, solid seafood and a fine onion soup, along with a less expensive bar menu. The Mason Street Grill sets standards far above typical hotel fare. (J.B.) $$-$$$$. CC. RS. OD. Handicap access. 298-3131

Motor

401 W. Canal St.

The Harley-Davidson Museum restaurant is as architecturally impressive as the galleries. The dining room and the outdoor terrace boast serene views of the Menomonee River. The menu focuses on Wisconsin and the Midwest, including booyah, a soup thick as a stew and said to originate in Green Bay. Entrées include homey fare like mac'n'cheese, fish fry, steak and BBQ ribs. Portions tend to be large. While the museum is recommended, Motor has a setting and food that are worthy of a visit too. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. RS parties of 8 or more. FB. OD. Handicap access. 287-2778

North Star American Bistro

4515 N. Oakland Ave.

The new location ramps up the amenities with a larger bar, more spacious seating, tall ceilings and abundant windows. There is not a bad table in the house. The menu includes crab cakes served over a bed of leaf lettuce with tarragon aioli and spinach-and-fontina pizza with an abundance of roasted garlic. New menu additions include pork roulade, seafood risotto and coriander-crusted mahi mahi. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. SB. FF. FB. Handicap access. 964-4663

Open Flame

5081 S. 108th St.

Although there is a martini menu, don't expect anything trendy from the kitchen. Go for all-American fare like plump roast chickens or sliced roast pork with real mashed potatoes and gravy. The renovated interior of the former Omega has a clubby feel with dark woodwork and a spacious lounge. The priciest items are chargrilled steaks and chops, but even here there are bargains. It's a family-friendly place that just happens to serve cocktails. (J.B.) $-$$. CC. FF. SB. RS. Handicap access. 425-5177

Open Hearth

2930 N. 117th St.

The popular Tosa supper club has seen some updates in the last few years. The menu is now focused on steak and seafood, and a happy hour from 4:30-6:30 p.m. tempts the after work crowd with free appetizers, two for one rails and Miller on tap. A terrace has been added for outdoor dining with cigar nights on the patio Tuesday through Thursday. Live music is heard Thursday and Saturday nights.  (D.L.) $$$. CC. FB, FF. OD. Handicap access. 475-0839

Palomino

2491 S. Superior St.

All of the comforts of a South Side corner bar are here, complete with pool tables. The fare tends to be Southern, though vegetarians will find the menu welcoming, too. The best items are chicken-fried steak, BBQ baby back ribs and a definitive Southern-fried chicken. (J.B.) $-$$. CC. FB, OD, FF. SB. 747-1007

Range Line Inn

2635 W. Mequon Road

Though surrounded by subdivisions, this vintage 19th-century inn offers quiet, countrified charm. The traditional American menu offers thick steaks, chops and big racks of ribs. Don't miss the homemade dinner rolls, onion rings and potato chips. Saturday features prime rib and roast duck. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. RS, FF, FB.  (262) 242-0530

Sammy's Taste of Chicago

10534 W. Greenfield Ave.

If you're looking for a great place to bring the family out for an affordable meal, look no further than Sammy's Taste of Chicago. They offer many different food options, but they are known for their Chicago-style hot dogs topped with relish, pickles, onions, peppers and tomatoes. On Sundays, the restaurant offers 99-cent hot dogs, which are normally $2.25. The inside environment is retro, featuring paneled walls, and they even have a few yellow and green chairs shaped like hands.  774-0466. $. CC. OD. (H.Y.)

Swinging Door Exchange

219 E. Michigan St.

The Swingin' Door Exchange is a classic post-Prohibition tavern in the landmark Grain Exchange building. The bar still retains its original table and there is a back dining room for those who arrive just for food. The menu has casual fare, mostly sandwiches and appetizers. But entrees include a few steaks, ahi tuna and BBQ ribs. Also there are daily specials at moderate prices and a Friday fish fry that often includes bluegills. A fun place to drink, eat and socialize. (J.B.) $$. CC. FB, FF. SB. Handicap access. 276-8150

Victor's

1230 N. Van Buren St.

Though Victor's is better known as a singles spot, dinners are served before 9:30 p.m. The menu is typical supper-club fare with steaks, lobster, chops and crab legs. Portions are generous, including the Friday fish fry; prime rib smothered with mushrooms is served everyday. The lights are bright and the volume a bit high, but the food quality more than compensates. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. FF, FB. 272-2522

Zak's Café

231 S. Second St.

Open early for breakfast, the menu includes such hearty options as buttermilk pancakes or a gonzo breakfast burrito filled with scrambled eggs and served with hashbrowns and choice of bacon, sausage or ham. The warm fragrance of cinnamon rises from the brioche French toast, a stick-to-the-ribs serving dusted with powder sugar, brightened with blueberries and sliced strawberries and served with Wisconsin maple syrup. The lunch menu (served until 9 p.m. weekdays and 11 p.m. Saturdays) is heavy on sandwiches, including a Kobe burger and a turkey sandwich. (D.L.) $. CC. FB. OD. Handicap. 271-5555