Price and quality intersect at new Mitchell's Fish Market
Milwaukee is awash in upscale chain eateries all of a sudden, thanks especially to new space opening up at Bayshore Town Center and Brookfield Square. The latest arrival is Mitchell's Fish Market, in Brookfield Square.
The 7,255-sq. ft. upscale casual restaurant -- adorned with tiling and signage that conjures the classic old fish markets of the coasts -- is part of the same group that recently opened Cameron's Steakhouse at Bayshore. An 800-sq. ft. patio is open weather permitting.
Chain dining is nothing new at malls and we should rejoice that the quality of these restaurants is on the rise. As long as you've got the money and the time, the food court and a family sit-down burger joint are not the only options anymore.
Price and quality intersect at a pleasant point at Mitchell's. At a preview event Thursday, two dined at lunchtime, ordering the equivalent of a dinner off the dinner menu -- two entrees, a shared appetizer, one salad and a cup of soup with two strawberry lemonades -- for under $60.
Because the food was of high quality and the service as attentive as at any fine dining restaurant in Milwaukee, that's a good deal.
Blackened scallops were juicy and seared but rare and grilled halibut nearly crumbled at the touch of a fork. Both were served with fresh steamed vegetables and a starch (one with jambalaya rice and the other with mashed potatoes).
The crab meat and asparagus dip was laced with three kinds of cheese and piled high with chunk crab meat creating a dish that was sinfully rich.
In addition to appetizers, salads (all of which looked good as they went past the table and the one we sampled -- spinach and pear with blue cheese and a sherry vinaigrette -- was delicious) and a variety of seafood bisques and chowders, the Mitchell menu has two main sections.
Chefs Specialties with a range of fish and shellfish served over pasta or crusted with pecans or in a fish 'n' chips plate. Today's Fresh Catch lists a dozen or more fresh fish -- tilapia, halibut, scallops, swordfish, mahi mahi, etc. -- and allows diners to select from four preparations: blackened, grilled, broiled or Shang Hai (steamed with ginger and scallions). Side dishes are matched to the preparations.
There is also an oyster bar with four varieties on ice and sampler trays are available.
As in most upscale chains these days, the kitchen at Mitchell's is partially open to the dining room, which is done up in model schooners and maritime maps and red mahogany trim. On one end is the bar, adorned with framed semaphore signal flags. The atmosphere is bustling and alive, like at a good fish market, and more conducive to a family night out or a dinner with friends than a romantic meal for two.
The wash rooms are stocked with mouthwash, stain removing wipes, dental floss and lint rollers, adding to the perception of being a customer-focused fine dining establishment.
Like all the new seafood places in town, Mitchell's makes sure its servers tell you early on that all the fish is flown in daily and we have no reason to doubt it -- other than the prices -- since the ones we sampled were fresh and delicious.
Milwaukee has never been known as a seafood town and strictly seafood eateries have had a long swim upstream here. Only a few -- Crawdaddy's and Moceans spring to mind – have managed to make a long-term go of it.
Perhaps the chains -- with their buying power and leverage -- are actually able to keep Milwaukee swimming in fresh fish, something that can prove excessively cost prohibitive to an independent restaurant, especially one that aims to focus on the treasures of the distant oceans. That might not be great news for some local restaurateurs, but it will be good news to local seafood lovers.
My Wife and I went 6-23-07. We had the crab spinich dip appetizer, and it was excellent! My wife had a steak-medium well. Most places get that wrong, they got it perfect. Good steak. I had the trio (Slamon, scallops and Mahi) Excellent-all three done perfect. Staff was very accomadating, but a bit slow. Three drinks brought the bill to $100 with tip. A tad expensive, but the best seafood I have had in Milwaukee to date.
My wife and I really enjoyed Mitchell's Fish Market. The Cedar Plank salmon was delicious and so was the walleye! Great presentation and it was a nice touch that one of the managers came over to our table to ask us how our meal was and if we had any questions. We will definitely be back!
My bill for 4 people for dinner, including wine was about $165. The food was good, but not fantastic... and it took almost an hour for us to get our entrees... you could tell the sides to the main course had been plated a good while before hand, as they were a much cooler temperature than the fish. Our waitress was friendly and accommodating but was very obviously reading off of a script of sorts when interacting with us with comments such as "fantastic choice, sir" and "the shrimp is delictable". All-in-all a good experience, but I think they have a ways to go before hitting their stride.
I thought it was nice, but I'm wondering how the service will be in a month after the shine has worn off, and they're not trying to "build" a client base, but just sustain it. I noticed that the menus were also printed daily...
Very good food and service. The manager stopped by and introduced himself and our server Jennifer was extremely attentive. The prices, for the portions given, were very reasonable. I would highly recommend it!
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