Since it opened twenty-five years ago, we've gone to Sanford for many anniversaries and birthdays and always had a lovely meal. This time was no exception.
Each dinner at Sanford begins with an amuse-bouche, a small pre-appetizer morsel intended to wake up the taste buds. This time it was pickled tuna with 'crispy capers.' This was a revelation. The vinegary pickled tuna was wonderfully fresh-tasting and good. Why has no one done this before? Milwaukee is the home of pickled fish, in the form of pickled herring, but it is a good question why no one seems to have tried other fish.
For first course, we had Molasses Glazed Quail and Seared Foie Gras with Grilled Belgian Endive and Black Currant Elderflower Preserve. Both the quail and the foie gras were delicious and set off nicely by the endive and the preserve.
For entrée, Georgie had "Citrus Seared Alaskan Halibut on Corn Risotto Cake, Pickled Purslane and Toasted Almonds, Purslane Nage". Halibut is a favorite of hers, and this was excellent. The corn risotto was very good also, and the purslane fascinating. Georgie compared the purslane to a more strongly flavored watercress.
It had been a long time since I had swordfish, so I ordered the "Grilled Swordfish with Miso Noodles and Summer Vegetables, Toasted Sesame Dressing." I was amused that, while Georgie got a fish knife with her entrée, I got a steak knife, but then I knew that swordfish is a very "meaty" fish. The generous cut of fish was perfectly done, and the mellow miso and sesame were perfect complements. We accompanied the main course with a glass each of Riesling, which went down very well.
For dessert, we had the Blueberry Black Currant Clafoutis with Lemon Ice Cream. A clafoutis is a baked dessert of fruit covered in a thick-flan like batter, dusted with powdered sugar, and served warm. The blueberry black currant clafoutis was a variation on one of Sanford's classics, tart cherry, and worked deliciously well. The cool tart lemon ice cream was a nice contrast with the warm flavors of the clafoutis.
As ever, the service at Sanford was prompt, attentive, and friendly. Dinner at Sanford is always an event, and, especially considering prices at first-class restaurants in other large cities, excellent value as well.
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