I hadn’t been to Cafe Benelux in quite some time, but I popped in to see if they still had this sandwich that I loved so much. Knowing that menus change all the time I was still hopeful. But in the back of my mind, I knew that it wouldn’t be there. Once I discovered that my beloved ham and cheese panini with peach preserves was gone, we decided to eat there anyway. The menu looked great and I wanted to eat their fries for nostalgia purposes. Also, I’m a french fry connoisseur and anytime they’re hand cut with an array of aiolis to accompany them, I’m all in.
If you ever find yourself exploring the historic third ward in Milwaukee, I highly recommend Cafe Benelux. It’s a little pricey if you go all out like we did. Our bill came out to roughly $70 bucks with tip for the two of us. My favorite part of the meal was the appetizer of crispy chicken sliders. Like true Wisconsinites, we picked up every last bit of the cheese that fell off the sandwiches. The Hook’s Triple Play Cheese was the definite star, teaming up with the spices on the perfectly seasoned chicken. I could go on and on about these sliders. I’m wishing I had them right now. You see how much I enjoyed them.
Lex decided on the tenderloin medallions in chimichurri butter with garlic whipped potatoes, roasted shallots, and asparagus. Pro tip: when eating here, if you like your steak medium (the best way to eat it in my opinion) then ask for it to be prepared medium well. The waitress let us know that they tend to undercook steaks. That little piece of advice turned out to be true because Lex’s steak was cooked to perfection. Of course, I sampled everything on her plate. I settled on the Sprocket burger (‘cause fries, duh!) and I was not disappointed. It had everything I enjoy on a burger. Thick-cut bacon, cheddar, duck fat fried egg, garlic aioli, and tomato jam served on a Miller Baking pretzel bun. I do wish that they seasoned their beef as well as they seasoned those crispy chicken sliders. I’ll say that was the only bad part of the meal, but once you add the flavorful sauces you forget all about that.
The service there is pretty good. They treat you like a friend who just stopped by to hang out. I’m not the type to want to be doted on while I’m dining. The waitress kept a safe distance and we could get her attention anytime we needed. The ambiance gets an A+ rating. My friends know I’m all about aesthetics, so much so I was banned from using the word. Named after the Benelux region of Lowland Europe (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg), you can’t help but feel the authenticity of the grand cafes that line those streets. There are fresh flowers on the tables, European inspired artwork, and outdoor seating in front of the restaurant and on the rooftop. I love that they use lots of Wisconsin products for their ingredients, and they also sell craft beers (or biers if you’re feeling super European). The beer menu is literally forty pages long. Whether you’re thirsty, starving, or just need a cool place to chill Cafe Benelux is definitely a Milwaukee gem.