I’ve been wanting to try Odd Duck for a long time, and finally got around to it when I was in Milwaukee for my friend’s wedding this past weekend. I made the reservation about a week or two in advance, which was absolutely necessary to get a table on a Friday night. The restaurant is a pretty small space and it was packed. They were only accepting walk ins for the bar which had a wait time of 30-40 minutes at 7pm.
The ambiance was really cozy and a little hipster. It’s located in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood, which has a ton of cool restaurants and bars. We had to wait about 15 minutes after our reservation time to get our table, but it was well worth the wait. This was one of the best meals I’ve had in Milwaukee.
To start off, we got some cocktails and charcuterie. The cocktail list is great–super inventive, delicious tasting options. I got a vodka cocktail with chamomile, honey and lemon. We got two different meats to start us off: jamon serrano from Spain, and a Gin & Juice salami. Both were delicious, served with a baguette, some fresh grain mustard and sweet pickles.
For our dishes, we went with five additional “small plates”. I say this in quotes because the serving sizes were definitely bigger than other small plates restaurants I’ve been to. We picked three from the animal section, and two from the vegetable. The waiter did a great job at pacing the dishes. The first was the honey glazed beets, served with crème fraîche and parsley, topped with a sunny side up egg. The beets were cooked perfectly, and the egg did a great job balancing out the sweetness from the glaze. This was a beautiful dish and great way to kick off the meal.
Next, we had the braised octopus. This dish was served in a chili shrimp bisque, with roasted potatoes, cherry tomatoes, red onion and squid ink aioli. To top it off was a Parmesan foam. The best parts about this dish were the octopus, aioli, and bisque. The octopus was cooked perfectly. It was tender yet firm with incredible flavor. The squid ink aioli was something I’d never had before, but enjoyed very much. Inventive and flavorful, it was a nice unique touch. Finally, the chili shrimp bisque was packed with flavor, not too spicy, and just the right amount of creamy. I could have eaten an entire bowl of that alone!
To follow the octopus, we had our second vegetable dish, the herb spaetzle. This was a unique dish, different from the traditional German style spaetzle that I grew up eating. It was served with charred kraut, beech mushroom, kohlrabi, chard, Swiss cheese mornay, topped with a pumpernickel crunch. This was a pretty generous portion for a small plate, especially since it was very rich with the mornay sauce. It was delicious, and the spaetzle was cooked perfectly. I really enjoyed the touch of the pumpernickel crunch as well!
Next, we had the lamb kofta. It was served on top of laffa bread, gyro sandwich style. It was accompanied by brown butter hummus, cucumber yogurt, onion, lemon tahini, radish, almonds, and pickled carrots. Since we were splitting this dish, it was a little tough to eat sandwich style. The flavors were so great. The kofta was delicious, and I especially enjoyed the brown butter hummus and lemon tahini. Since its a shareables restaurant, I would have preferred the dish to be served platter style to make it easier to eat, but nevertheless, it was yummy!
Our fifth and final dish was the sweet corn, saffron, & seafood curry. The seafood included was crab, shrimp, mussels, and cod. It was served over fragrant basmati rice, topped with an herb salad. This dish was SO flavorful. The curry was amazing. The seafood was all fresh and tender. I was fairly full by the time this dish rolled around, but I still managed to savor every bite. Again, this was a big serving that I would not classify as a small plate, perhaps a small meal. I would definitely order this again, as a perfect comforting curry dish.
I was super impressed by my meal at Odd Duck. It’s no surprise that the restaurant was so packed, and I only see that continuing. I can’t wait to go back on one of my next trips to Milwaukee! I highly recommend to anyone, as the menu has great variety at a reasonable price point for some incredible dishes.