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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pitch's Sicilian-American Tradition

Barbecue ribs, steak and fish fry among favorites

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Many Milwaukeeans will recognize the name Pitch's from its booths at Summerfest and the Wisconsin State Fair. The menu has changed over the years, but the summertime booths still offer a hint of the food found at the restaurant. Core items include barbecue ribs, Sicilian steak and a Friday fish fry. Pitch's, located a block north of Brady Street, has also added several new items, among them lighter entrée salads, additional steaks, and more fish fry choices.

The obvious starter is the shredded onion rings ($4.95-$6.95), a thin haystack variety that features a light, crisp batter.

The Bar-B-Que baby back ribs ($15.95-$17.95) remain from the original menu. They are nicely trimmed, minus any excess fat, and are easy to eat with a fork and knife. The sauce offers a good tang and is not too sweet. The ribs are also served in combos with other items like chicken, steak and shrimp.

Another original menu item is the Sicilian steak ($19.95), an ultra-tender steer filet coated with Sicilian seasoned bread crumbs. This item has been consistently good of late. A smaller filet is also sold as a sandwich ($12.95).

The newer items offer plenty to tempt diners as well. Those who enjoy the Sicilian steak will want to try the spiedini ($19.95), tender slices of rolled beef steak stuffed with seasoned bread crumbs. It's another winner.

On Fridays, try the pan-fried lake perch ($15.95). The fish, served butterflied and lightly breaded, is simply seasoned with lemon juice and white wine. This is the best item among the Friday specials.

Another visit found a few more daily specials. One was a decent veal marsala ($17.95), tender slices of pounded veal in a rich, sweet wine sauce. It's a good value for the price.

Entrees come with a basket of bread, a choice of soup or salad, and a choice of potato. The bread, from the nearby Sciortino's Bakery, offers a tasty crust with sesame seeds.

The salads are basic, with assorted greens, tomatoes, a cucumber slice and red onions. Order the blue cheese dressing (extra charge) since it is the real thing—sour cream with plenty of crumbled cheese.

The choice of potato is obvious: Get the hash browns. The current kitchen staff prepares them the right way.

A visit to Pitch's is a flashback to how dining in the Brady Street area used to be, in the days before Mimma's and even Giovanni's. The street entrance leads to a large dining room with Art Nouveau art glass panels; windows can be found at the back of the room. The separate bar is a popular watering hole for locals.

The Picciurro family opened Pitch's in 1942. Back then, nearly all of the eateries were Sicilian-American. Times may have changed, but the Sicilian restaurant tradition still holds appeal. It's a tradition that Pitch's keeps alive and well.

Pitch's

1801 N. Humboldt Ave.

(414) 272-9313

$$

Handicap Accessible

pitchsribs.com

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