Milwaukee Brat House epitomizes what Wisconsin is all about. The quintessential Brew City restaurant specializes in sausage offerings, has a robust beer list, and boasts a bounty of televisions so restaurant-goers can watch the sporting event du jour.
The nearly ten-year-old sports bar and grill is a well-known spot in the area; after opening its first location in 2008 near the BMO Harris Bradley Center in downtown, the owners behind the Milwaukee dining spot recently rolled out another location in the northern suburb of Shorewood.
It wouldn’t be a true Wisconsin-focused restaurant if it didn’t have cheese curds on the menu, so I decided to stop by the Shorewood location on a Sunday night this past November to give them a try. A few Internet forums have indicated that Milwaukee Brat House has some of the best cheese curds in town, so my expectations were high.
Overall, I came with an appetite for the curds, but my taste buds ended up enjoying their other menu items better. Here’s how the Brat House curds fared:
Description (from the Brat House menu): “The Wisconsin classic! White cheddar curds that are beer battered, deep-fried, and dusted with Parmesan cheese, served with a side of ranch.”
Breading/batter: These curds are batter-dipped and feature a thinner crust, akin to the fried shell you’d find on curds at a local festival where deep-fried foods reign supreme. These curds didn’t clump together — a phenomenon that happens surprisingly often with this dish — and they were dusted with grated parmesan cheese, which was a nice touch.
Diners at the Brat House can also try the curds tossed in a house buffalo sauce, but I opted out of that alternative, instead deciding to try them in their original form.
Gooeyness: I found these cheese curds to be a little undercooked and too firm for my liking. For me, a perfect cheese curd should be have a crispy outer shell, but an inside that’s warm and gooey. In my opinion, the cheese curds needed an extra few minutes in the fryer to yield that melted interior that I crave.
Sauce: Ranch came on the side with Brat House cheese curds — a standard counterpart sauce. It was a thicker dressing and, from what I could tell, the dip wasn’t homemade. It was an adequate pairing with curds, but not exceptional, nor did it necessarily enhance the flavors of the dish it was matched with.
Speediness of service: I didn’t wait long for these curds; they came out of the kitchen in around five minutes.
Price/value: $8.95 for the cheese curds, which is about on par with what you’d find at similar establishments. The Brat House serving would be adequate for anywhere between two and four people. (I split this dish with one other dining companion and we easily finished off the plate together.)
The ruling: Go to Milwaukee Brat House if you want a taste of Wisconsin. During my visit, I also ended up ordering dinner and found the restaurant’s sausage was the real standout. These fairly conventional cheese curds — and a Bloody Mary with a beer chaser — helped round out what could be considered a very Milwaukee-esque meal. However, if you’re looking for curds with a distinct twist or flair, I would venture elsewhere.
Milwaukee Brat House
Locations: 1013 N. Old World Third St., Milwaukee
4022 N. Oakland Ave., Shorewood