Restaurant Review: Cafe Benelux

Okay, I’m back! And this time for good. I haven’t posted in weeks, only because my schedule has been filled with other blogging responsibilities, finals, traveling, graduations, etc. Memorial Day is here, and so is summer! I’ll be posting a ton more on great Milwaukee restaurants, events, and happenings throughout the season.

Naturally, the first thing to do upon arriving back to my hometown is to dine out with the ‘rents. Preferably on a rooftop deck on a Friday night.

Cafe Benelux, a new-ish sister spot to Cafe Hollander, Cafe Centraal, and Trocadero {all are owned by Lowlands Group} is named after the Benelux region of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg and “features regional favorites like mussels, pannenkoeken and, of course, frites”. In case you were wondering {I was}, pannenkoeken is a Belgian pancake and frites are good ole french fries. Other foreign terms on their menu include bitterballen, a meat-based snack; and Beer Mosa, you guessed it, beer and freshly squeezed orange juice.

Speaking of beer, or “bier” as it appears on the menu, Cafe Benelux sorta takes the cake. With over 150 different beers to choose from, all featured on a 15-page “Beer Book” that sits at every table, it can be a bit overwhelming to select the right one. Luckily, all of the waiters are knowledgable on the different tastes and are great at recommending the right flavors for each person.

My dad made it easy on our waitress in his classic choice: a New Glarius Spotted Cow. My mom chose wine {Cooper’s Creek Sauvignon Blanc}, of which there are also a multitude of choices. I myself was interested in a mimosa, but seeing as it was 6pm, I decided to wait until I return for a midday brunch.

{image via the website}

Sitting on the rooftop is so much fun; the views of Milwaukee are fantastic, with cool apartments and shops to the right and left, and the Milwaukee Public Market right smack in the middle. The place was madness when we arrived, but it was an easy fifteen minute wait.

While Cafe Benelux isn’t exactly a vegan’s go-to spot, the amazing atmosphere and coolness of this place keeps drawing me back. So, I improvise! My mom and I took two items off of the menu, pretty much ripped them apart, and put together our own rendition of a vegan-friendly meal. Luckily, the waitress took our ridiculously picky and obnoxious order so nicely-we might as well have been asking for extra napkins!

The original item descriptions looked like this:

The Benelux Salad-spring mix, cherry tomatoes, red onion, candied walnuts, bleu cheese, balsamic vinaigrette

The Black Bean Burger-lettuce, tomato, red onion, sriracha mayo, served with frites

Here were our changes:

-black bean burger with no bun

-avocado instead of mayo

-side benelux salad instead of frites

-no goat cheese

-toasted almonds in place of candied walnuts

The result? Perfection.

I definitely felt a little silly, even snobbish, that our order was so specific. But, my mom reminded me that restaurants like these want a reputation for taking care of its customers. They are there to serve us! And they did exactly that. The order was both completely correct and completely fantastic.

My return to Cafe Benelux is imminent. Until then, stay tuned for more reviews on downtown Milwaukee…going away to New York has really made me appreciate how incredibly cool and easy-going my town truly is.

Have you ever been to Cafe Benelux…thoughts?

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This entry was published on May 26, 2012 at 4:26 pm. It’s filed under restaurant reviews, vegan and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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