Welcome to EatWisconsin, the blog formerly known as Undelicious. This blog will focus on the food, the people, the history, and restaurants in the State of Wisconsin. Though we will focus primarily on the State of Wisconsin, there will be occasional forays into other Cities.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Forty8 Review

I usually visit a restaurant twice before I go around telling friends and family that it is a great place. After my first meal at Forty8 located at where else but 48th & National Avenue in West Milwaukee I resisted the urge to tell everyone that they had some of the best seafood in the City. After a visit last week I can now proclaim that Forty8s seafood selections are incredible.

On our first visit it wasn’t very crowded because it was a Wednesday night. We were seated at a table in the corner of the restaurant. I was surprised to find that the restaurant was more of a bar that serves food than a restaurant. Their regular menu is rather uninspiring, with the exception of the appetizers. The rest of the menu featured sandwiches and burgers. Inside the menu is a separate sheet that lists an impressive number of specials. This is the menu that you want to order from. It changes monthly but you will find many items make appearances every month.

We started off with some Lakefront Riverwest Stein beer and ordered the Grilled Crab Stuffed Avocado. It is an avocado, stuffed with Backfin lump crabmeat, tossed with fresh mango, peppers, and onion; served with Mornay sauce &basil oil. I expected to see two avocado halves and was somewhat disappointed with the amount of crab in proportion to the amount of sauce and avocado. Nonetheless this original dish was outstanding. The basil oil and Mornay sauce provided a nice balance to the crab, peppers, and mango. Even after we finished off the crab meat we were using our forks to pick every last bit of pepper out, making sure to drag it through the delicious sauce.

For my entrée I ordered the pecan crusted Chilean Sea Bass and my fiancée ordered some crab cake special that featured two regular crab cakes and two stuffed crabs. The Sea Bass was perfectly sautéed resulting in a crunchy crust and moist flaky flesh. The sauce was a hazelnut orange sauce that seemed to be cream based. There was a faint hint of orange and a little more pronounced hazelnut flavor. I think they probably used hazelnut oil. The sauce was also drizzled on some angel hair pasta. A sizeable portion of sautéed veggies including yellow squash, zucchini, and carrots was also included. The sauce blended very well with the angel hair pasta and the vegetables were simply sautéed in extra virgin olive oil and a touch of salt and they tasted outstanding.

My fiancées crab cakes were equally impressive. The two cakes were pretty sizeable and were drizzled with a great Remoulade. I expected the stuffed crabs to simply have the same filling as the crab cakes. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was an entirely different mixture. The crab meat was the smaller (non lump) kind that you would find for 2-4 bucks at the grocery store, but was blended with breadcrumbs and spices and baked to perfection.

Our second visit was not as great as the first, but that is primarily our fault. We went on a Friday night on the same night the the Brewers were playing so it was packed. We were told it would be a 45 minute wait and we were pleasantly surprised that within 2 minutes of ordering drinks at the bar, we were seated. The wait was only 5 minutes! We were seated near the bar so we constantly had waitresses passing by our table. We also were kind of annoyed that people waiting for tables were kind of standing right next to us. It is very hard to carry on a conversation and enjoy a meal when you feel like you are being watched.

Nonetheless, with one minor exception the food proved to be as good as our first visit. We ordered the Fortygreat Crab cakes with a spicy Remoulade and wasabi dressing. The cakes were prefecly cooked, crunchy on the outside and moist and loaded with crab. The dish had multi-colored peppers sprinkled on top creating an impressive presentation, which tasted as good as it looked.

I ordered the stuffed monkfish, which was loaded with shrimp and crab. The fish was delicious and the mild taste of monkfish blended well with the red pepper cream sauce and the stuffing. I made sure to incorporate a bit of everything in each bite because the flavors fit perfectly together. It was served with sautéed veggies that were great, but a little too salty. My fiancée ordered the Grilled salmon filet topped with forty8's own tomato, caper and arugula salsa. It was served with with spinach tortellini filled with roasted vegetables, smothered in Mornay sauce, topped with fresh mozzarella stuffed cherry tomatoes. The tortellini was huge and tasted great. The tomato stuffed with the fresh mozzarella was nothing to write home about and I kind of wonder why it was even included with the dish. The salmon was overcooked and somewhat dry, which was surprising considering Forty8s mastery of fish dishes. Besides that, everything else was great. It was served with grilled peppers and asparagus that were so simple and flavorful that I wished I had a whole plate of them. They were just grilled, drizzled with olive oil and salted. I don’t think I have ever had grilled veggies that were so perfect. So our only complaint was the dry, overcooked salmon.

Service on our 2nd visit was a bit slow, but expected given that it was a Friday night. It was annoying to have people watching us eat and I think next time I would come on a weeknight.

Ratings (out of 10):
Décor/Ambiance: 4/10 It’s a no-frills bar and it can get a bit crowded. I would rather have them spend money on good ingredients than interesting décor. They really need a larger space.
Food: 7.5/10This place has seafood mastered. If the Salmon wasn’t overcooked, this would me an 8 or higher.
Service: 7/10The service good, but a bit slow…but that is to be expected on a Friday

Forty 8
4823 W. National Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53214
Phone: (414) 389-9350Fax: (262) 364-3365


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