Finally. It’s official. I am a resident of Milwaukee. I’m living in a quaint (that’s right, I said quaint) apartment in Cold Spring Park. If you’re ever in the area then you should stop and visit. I’ve got a sweet balcony and and entire bathroom. It’s pretty fancy.
My new Milwaukee digs led to two trips for the next restaurant on my review list. On my official move-in day I was lucky enough to convince 4 of my friends (2 of whom had cars!) to make the trip up to The Wauk (can I call it that now?) and help me move in. The only catch was that I had to buy lunch. Well, I didn’t have to buy lunch, but being the nice Appalachian boy that I am I decided that lunch was a fair price for the savings of a great many hours work on my part.
My caravan left Evanston earlyish on a rainy Sunday morning and arrived at Chateau Burger (I’m trying out new names for my apartment…that one doesn’t look like a keeper so leave suggestions in the comments!) an hour and a half later and were surprised to find sunny skies. An hour later we had unloaded the car and begun to assemble my assortment of Ikea furniture.
Secretly, I had planned on letting my compatriots in on my burger blog experience while hitting up another spot on my list of places to visit, but I had to pretend that they actually had a say in where we went. When I asked for suggestions Cracker Barrel became the early favorite. I’ll confess, I love the crap out of Cracker Barrel. From a young age I’ve enjoyed going to Cracker Barrel and basking in their sweet (though homosexual and minority intolerant) family atmosphere followed by a purchase of an entire loaf of their delicious sourdough bread (of which I would typically eat in a day or so). But, I wanted to take this opportunity to have a big group contribute to my review.
“How about a place that has been referred to as ‘fried food heaven’?” I suggested.
“YES” was the unanimous response.
We quickly finished our deciphering of Ikea’s Swedish hieroglyphics and made our way to the south side and Palomino Bar.
On the way to Palomino I couldn’t get that Will Ferrel skit out of my head. You know, the one where he is a terrible doctor who answers the phone in the middle of trying to give a family some horrible news. At one point in this hilarious sketch Ferrel says “Chester, the Palomino?!” so I continually made reference to this throughout the afternoon. No one knew what I was talking about. Fools. FOOLS!
Anyway, the first thing I noticed about Palomino was it’s proximity to the lake. Nice locale! We were lucky to visit on a beautiful Sunday afternoon (around 2) and we joined a number of people who were already spending their Sunday afternoon at Palomino.
Cory was the first one to refer to Palomino as a “hipster bar,” a term that I don’t necessarily think Palomino deserves. Palomino’s walls are adorned with typical hipster-grit-chic art like a mounted deer head, cowboy art, and a beautiful painting of Burt Reynolds that looks like it was painted by the mom from “Bridesmaids.” I should point out that Cory thinks almost everyone/everything is a hipster. We once walked by a guy playing a ukulele and Cory swore that he was a hipster when in actuality he was a Hawaiian. OK, that might not be a true story. Nonetheless, though the waitstaff and decor of Palomino might fit that of the hipster motif, Palomino Bar presented a friendly, welcome environment that does not typically fit into the hipster ethos.
I was especially excited to visit Palomino because I wanted to eat a ridiculous amount of fried food. So did my compadres, but sadly we were too early for the dinner menu. Instead we were met with the vegan/vegetarian friendly brunch menu. The brunch menu, though, was quite good. Two of my friends ordered the BLT, and the remaining three of us ordered the Brunch Burger.
This would be my first fried egg on top of burger experience. I’ve always had trepidations about the fried egg on the burger because though I love my eggs fried sunny side up, I enjoy them that way because of the delicious gooey yellow center and merely deal with the more or less flavorless rubbery white nonsense. The Brunch Burger is a 1/3 lb grass-fed burger topped with a fried egg, sausage gravy, and cheese or bacon for $1 extra each (actually bacon is $1.25 extra). I opted for the bacon, chess and egg version without the gravy while the other two burger orderers kept the gravy. All 5 of us ordered different sides so that we could try each.
I was pleasantly surprised with the egg on my burger. Like I thought, the white was rubbery and flavorless, but the deliciously smoky burger and bacon helped overcome this. When I made it to the gooey yellow I was met with deliciousity. The runny yellow really complimented the burger’s flavor and created a really good brunch sandwich. The sausage gravy was deemed to be “meh” by the other two burger-eaters in my group. They both like the texture of it but felt that there was not enough gravy to actually be tasted. In case you were wondering, the BLT was deemed quite delicious by my official BLT reviewers….maybe they’ll start a Milwaukee BLT blog. Probably not.
All in all, we really enjoyed our first trip to Palomino. But, I was not fulfilled. I wanted to try the famous sweet potato tots and fried cheese curds, so I decided to head back to Palomino on my return trip to MKE a few days later.
On my return trip I ordered the legendary deep-fried cheese curds as an appetizer. That was a really good idea. The curds are delicious. They taste like Thomas Edison time-traveled into the future with a new invention that would take sunshine and magic and transform them into a delicious, deep-fried, edible form. Brilliant decision. For dinner I grabbed the 1/3 lb Palomino burger with cheddar and bacon and a side of sweet potato tots.
It was a total burger experience. Once again the burger itself was deliciously smoky and was well complimented by delicious bacon, cheddar, and a wonderfully proportioned bun. The sweet potato tots were just fantastic. I wish I could eat sweet potato tots every day, or have them fed to me like Dionysus eating a bunch of grapes.
Palomino is a really good bar with a cool, dare I say hip vibe.
On to the review:
Bun (1-5): 4
– Do you know what I remember most about this bun? Nothing in particular! If a bun isn’t deliciously memorable then it should be a compliment or afterthought to the burger. This bun was just that. It was light, fluffy, well sized, and it absorbed the completely appropriate amount of juice. It was a great holster for a great burger.
Bacon (1-5): 4
– As with most bacon in Wisconsin, this bacon was deliciously smoky and added to the delicious, grilled flavor of the burger.
Cheese (1-5): 4
– Much like the bacon it is very hard to do Wisconsin cheddar wrong. Nothing in particular stands out about this cheddar but it was a great addition to a great burger.
Egg (1-5): 3
– This is more of a rating for eggs on burgers in general. If it were possible to only have the egg yolk on a burger I might do this every time. Alas, we all have to deal with the rubber egg-white nonsense.
Beef (1-5): 5
– This 1/3 lb grass-fed burger was a delicious, smoky, grilled creation. It was the perfect size and incredibly flavorful. My burger was cooked to medium perfection and the grilled exterior locked in some really great juices.
Onion Rings (1-5): 4
– I’m a big fan of flaky onion rings. These were light, buttery and good.
Hush Puppy (1-5): 3
– The Hush Puppy was tasty, but it had a weird sort of mustardy-ness in the inside. I’m not a big fan of mustard. It was subtle mustardy-ness though.
Fries (1-5): 3.5
– The fries were really, really solid but were nothing spectacular. When compared to the sweet potato tots they are left in the dust. As a baseline fry to start with something else these fries were perfect. With some sort of seasoning or sauce these fries are an easy 5.
Sweet Potato Tots (1-5): 5
– These tots were fantastic. They combine (seemingly) healthy sweet potatoes with typically over-processed tater tots to create a delicious and fresh side. The tots were golden fried with a delicious flavor. Stop what you are doing and go get these tots. NOW.
Deep-Fried Cheese Curds (1-5): 5
– These are a fantastic appetizer. The cheese was golden fried and was the perfect size devour. It was impossible for me to stop eating them. I had to put the curds on the other side of the table so I would stop eating them and could start on my burger.
– Palomino is one of the best burger spots I have visited in Milwaukee. It is the perfect place to grab a dinner burger or to visit with your equally hip friends for a late-night fried-food-a-thon. The waitstaff was friendly (though a little busy) and the decor is kitschy enough to start a conversation on even the worst date. On a nice Sunday you can head over and have a vegetarian/vegan friendly meal…or a delicious burger.
– The Palomino burger/dining experience get’s a 5 out of 5. The burger, sides, appetizers, and atmosphere were all great and a worthwhile visit in South Milwaukee.
PS: I promise not every review will be glowing! I’ve mostly been reviewing Milwaukee’s more famous burger spots, and will be critical when the time comes! Go check out my Sobleman’s review if you want a less than glowing burger review.