La Merenda: small plates, big tastes
I think you could make an argument that La Merenda is right at the
top of the list of restaurants where it's tough to get a reservation.
And I was reminded why Saturday night at dinner with friends. I had
some things to eat you can't get any where else (that I know of) and
they were prepared with the kind of love and attention to detail that
you might find in your own kitchen.
La Merenda is a tapas restaurant so the best way to enjoy it is for
your table to order a variety of small plates and share them.
The star for me was a duck confit crepe. Soft chive crepes with duck
and mushrooms and a rosemary cream sauce. It was out of this world,
and I learned that any kind of confit means something that is cooked
in its own fat.
Second place was patatas bravas y chorizo (which might mean "brave
potatoes with sausage"). This was fried chopped potatoes, tossed in a
spicy tomato sauce, served with a garlic aioli and with a piece of
chorizo sausage on top.
I was also reminded of the wonderful atmosphere that Peter Sandroni
has created. It resembles nothing so much as a big family dining room
with mismatched chairs and servers who move easily back and forth with
small plates destined for a table, more than just a person.
The other thing about La Merenda is that it doesn't cost an arm and a
leg to get this wonderful food. Even if you have wine you can get out
of the place for less than $100 a couple. If you don't drink, you are
probably under $75 and that is more than worth an experience like
One of the best restaurants in Milwaukee. Fantastic food.
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