Dinner sans toddler: Forequarter

20140528-235657-86217844.jpgThis past weekend, my husband and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. We decided to as I said that night, do it up. There are a number of restaurants in town that I have wanted to try, and Forequarter won my vote this time around. Mostly the cocktail menu online did it. I’m a sucker for craft cocktails. Honestly I make half of my dining decisions based on the cocktail menu.

Forequarter is small, housed in a former audio supply store transformed into a Northern Wisconsin influenced restaurant. Antlers adorn the wall and a stuffed badger watches from above the door. Even the restrooms mirror the theme. For the level of food served here, there is absoltely nothing pretentious about it.

Named one of Bon Appetit’s best new restaurants of 2013, the food blew me away. It was easily one of the best meals I’ve had in years. We were seated at the bar, which let me be honest, most of the time I really hate. But not here. Our bartender/server was a lovely woman who mixed some of the finest cocktails I’ve ever had. As I watched her mix, I realized she was tasting everything. Each custom cocktail she made, she tasted. I watched her mix and shake and pour a beautiful orange drink. When I asked her what it was she said it was her favorite thing on the menu, a Crocus Collins($10), a mix of house made saffron infused Corsair Gin, honey, lemon, sweet vermouth and sparkling water. It was phenomenal. Slightly floral and mildly bubbly, with a hint of kick from the alcohol in the background. Exactly what I want in a cocktail. I also had a dark and stormy($9), featuring house made ginger beer that was excellent. My husband quite enjoyed the house made cola as well.

The first thing we ate was a cheese plate($10). My husband and I love cheese, being from Wisconsin and all it is sort of required. The cheese that night was a band aged cheddar served with bread, hazelnuts and a bacon fig jam. I told my husband I could have eaten just that for my entire meal.

Next up we ordered a salad. I have a thing about salads. I feel like they are far too often served as filler and are bland and boring. This salad featured baby lettuce with butter milk dressing, blue cheese, turnips and fried capers($8). It was far from a boring salad. It was bright and peppery and the blue cheese was abundant, exactly how I like it.

Our next choice was the pasta, a buckwheat cavatelli with miso, daikon and leeks($15). It was defintely my favorite thing of the night. The sauce was flawless. We kept saying that if the toddler was with us, she would have eaten the entire bowl of it herself. I could have eaten it all night.

Last we had the salmon, pan seared and served with roast burdock(seriously how did they turn the obnoxious weed from my back yard into something so delicious?) and a sorrel-asparagus veloute($22). The salmon was perfectly seared, with large flakes of sea salt sitting on top. Again we marveled to each other how much our mini person would have loved it.

We decided we had to have dessert. There was a napoleon that sounded amazing, but when she said the words “cookie plate” I know what we were getting. There was a coconut fortune cookie(our fortune was …in bed), an oatmeal cookie dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt, a blue corn snickerdoodle and chocolate bourbon macaron($10). One bite of the macaron and I told my husband he couldn’t have any more of it. I would have gladly taken home a dozen of the macarons.

Our dinner was amazing. We spent the time pondering our living situation, and the possibilities or staying or going. We had time to reconnect, something which I far too often allow to fall through the cracks. It was wonderful. We did however, miss our girl. We told ourselves if we make it back, we will be bringing her. Why can’t a child eat just as well as we did? I guarantee the kid already has a refined palate. Sadly it was too dark to photograph most of my delicious food. Next time we venture out for such a meal, I will make sure to take my camera, and get a window seat.

Parking is sparse, and no sign denotes the place. They only take reservations on Sundays and have limited space so go early, bring your wallet and go hungry!

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