The Knick: Casual but classy

Posted on 23 October 2008 by Remington Tonar

A few weeks ago New York Times travel columnist Maura Casey spent 36 hours in the Brew City, exploring the main attractions that Milwaukee has to offer. Among the host of restaurants she mentioned was The Knick, thae only one in her article that I had not dined at. As an amateur connoisseur of Milwaukee restaurants, I made time last week to satiate my taste buds at The Knick.

The restaurant itself is nestled into the side of The Knickerbocker Hotel on Juneau (map), and from the outside looks more like a bar than a restaurant. While not as graciously austere as The Knickerbocker’s other restaurant, Osteria del Mondo, The Knick manages to create a casual but elegant and welcoming atmosphere. The service was younger and the décor slightly whimsical in its color scheme (the poor attempt at Halloween decorations didn’t help); both of these observations made me question the quality of the establishment’s food.

To begin my party ordered a bottle of the ever popular Muller Riesling from The Knick’s modest wine list, and made our entrée selections. The menu was heavily inundated with seafood items, so I thought it best to order a seafood dish, thinking that the chef staff might specialize in preparing sea-dishes. I ordered the seared scallops, the perfect dish to test the ability of the person with the tall white hat in the kitchen. When our food arrived, I found myself pleasantly surprised by the quality of the scallops, which I order frequently when dining out. They were, without a doubt, some of the better scallops I’ve had in the downtown Milwaukee area. Although my friend’s steak did not measure up to Bacchus, 925 E. Wells St. or Sabor, 777 N Water St., those of us who ordered seafood were very delighted.

The prices are slightly beyond what most college students would like to pay for dinner (my scallops were over $22), but if the goal is quality food in a relaxed atmosphere, then The Knick is the perfect venue.

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