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A look at the French restaurant Cafe Grace, opening Tuesday in Wauwatosa

A large dining room with large windows is one of two dining areas at Cafe Grace.
A large dining room with large windows is one of two dining areas at Cafe Grace. Credit: Gary Porter / for the Journal Sentinel
MKE Diner

News and notes on the restaurant scene from dining critic Carol Deptolla

July 13, 2016
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By Carol Deptolla of the Journal Sentinel

July 13, 2016 0

Cafe Grace, the Bartolotta-run French restaurant in Wauwatosa’s Mayfair Collection, opens to the public Tuesday with a casual atmosphere, an array of rotisserie and charcoal-fired meats, and small bites and wines to appeal to customers who want to pause only briefly.

It’s the last of four restaurants opened by the Bartolotta group at the shopping center, 11200 W. Burleigh St.; the restaurants are owned by Phoenix, the shopping center’s developer. 

The group has operated the fine-dining Lake Park Bistro on Milwaukee’s east side for more than 20 years; the group’s corporate chef, Adam Siegel, won a James Beard Foundation award for best chef Midwest in 2008 for his work at Lake Park.

Siegel wrote the menu for Cafe Grace along with Zachary Espinosa, the chef overseeing Grace and sister restaurants ABV Social and Taqueria El Jefe, and chef de cuisine Klayton Mutchler (in photo below, at rotisserie).

“They both spent time with me at Bacchus and Lake Park, and it has been a great time working with them on this,” Siegel said of Espinosa and Mutchler.

The pastry chef for Cafe Grace and its sister restaurants in the same building in Tosa is Stephanie Fisher, who previously worked at Simma’s, ParkSide 23 and Eddie Martini’s.

Black-and-white awnings mark the restaurant’s exterior; inside, Cafe Grace has been decorated in brass accents, light tones and tiled floors.

The menu will have classics such as onion soup and salad Lyonnaise with slightly different flavors to distinguish this menu from Lake Park’s.

It will have a section of small bites for shoppers and others who want just a snack, such as gougeres filled with fondue made with Grand Cru by Wisconsin cheesemaker Emmi Roth.

Also different from Lake Park, Grace will serve sandwiches, including a grass-fed beef burger patty from Strauss topped with brie, roasted Roma tomato and red onion.

Among appetizers are goat cheese and mushroom tart, mussels with saffron cream, and ragout of flageolet beans.

Meat will be a centerpiece of the menu: The vertical rotisserie will turn out meats such as herb-marinated chicken, leg of lamb and bone-in pork loin glazed with honey and Dijon mustard. 

A charcoal-fired oven will be used to make burgers as well as the steak for steak frites (coulotte, cut from the sirloin, or New York strip) and other main dishes, including ribeye for two and swordfish.

Other fish and seafood at Cafe Grace will include seafood towers constructed of oysters, poached shrimp and poached lobster.

For dessert, expect to see baked lemon tart, warm chocolate cake, coffee pot de creme and profiteroles.

Prices will range from $5 to $12 for appetizers, $14 to $35 for main courses and $6 or $7 for dessert.

Cafe Grace will seat about 90 guests in the main dining room; a private dining room can hold about 40.

From the bar: wines will be French, mostly, but the list will include some New World varietals, as well.

The bar area seats two dozen at stools and high-top tables, and 30 can sit outside on the patio.

Hours at the outset will be 3 to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 3 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Lunch service is expected to begin in early August, at 11 a.m. daily; the date will be announced later.

The phone number for Cafe Grace will be (414) 837-6310.

Photos for the Journal Sentinel by Gary Porter

About Carol Deptolla

Carol Deptolla is the Journal Sentinel dining critic. She also reports on restaurants, bars and other food- and drink-related businesses.

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