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Friday, Feb. 21, 2014

Changing Perceptions at the Stackner Cabaret

Whiskey Dinner serves distinctive American flavors

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The Stackner Cabaret (108 E. Wells St.) has upped its culinary game since chef Clifford Hull took the reins early in the 2012-2013 season. Adjoining the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s most intimate stage, this quiet establishment is re-writing its role in Milwaukee’s dining scene. Specializing in high-quality, made-from-scratch American comfort food, Hull has updated the menu over the course of the past year and recently added a popular prix fixe dinner. With a desire to expand boundaries in the Stackner’s kitchen, Hull and his talented crew have put together a special six-course Whiskey Dinner for Monday, Feb. 24.

The evening will feature five varieties of High West Distillery’s finest whiskies, mixed as delicious cocktails to accompany dishes that highlight distinctly American flavors.

Each course includes a brief explanation of the pertinent whiskey by whiskey apostle Kieran Walsh of this Utah-based distillery. Walsh is an accomplished mixologist and has offered guidance to Stackner bartender Matt Flannery on the best way to showcase these whiskies in cocktails. “We’ve been working hard to create some amazing drinks for this dinner,” says Flannery. Lest anyone think this dinner is about tying one on, he adds: “The pours will be about one ounce each. We want people to enjoy their drinks, but remember what they’re eating too.”

Guests will be greeted with an amuse-bouche of house-cured wild boar bacon with pickled oyster, which will be accompanied with High West’s Son of Bourye, a blend of rye and bourbon whiskey. “We are really proud of the first course,” says Hull. “This whiskey, which is among my favorites, pairs so well with the wild boar and sets the tone for the whole night.”

Guest chef Chad Meier, formerly of The Blue Jacket, is overseeing the main course of elk tenderloin Wellington and roasted wild mushroom dauphine potato with a cherry-juniper glace. “Chad’s help has been key to the planning and execution of this whole dinner,” says Hull, “It’s been great working with him and hearing his ideas.”

The dessert of a Meyer lemon pudding cake topped with a cherry cordial sauce is the only dish that incorporates whiskey as an ingredient, as well as being paired with High West’s OMG Pure Rye clear, un-aged whiskey.

For people who are feeling gun-shy about the $95-per-person dinner, Hull suggests, “Anyone would be hard pressed to find a six-course meal with cocktails for under $100. I’m confident that high-end whiskey lovers and really anyone with an adventurous palate will enjoy this dinner.”

For more information or to make reservations for this event, call 414-272-1994 or visit milwaukeerep.com.