Da Beef wrote:
Another stop on my radar that I guess I'll share here before I get to go (Insert Winky face here) is the Swingin' Door Exchange
. This place came rec'd not only because the guy said they do an excellent fish fry but also because they offer lake perch and blue gill (cod too) and its setting is an old school basement tavern. Sounds/seems like some classic Milwaukee eating to me. Anyone ever been?
We were there last night, and thanks so much for mentioning it! Swingin' Door is is terrific! One of the best fish fries I've had so far in Milwaukee.
The fish, which runs from $7.75 to $13.95, depending on what you get offers a choice of Icelandic cod, lake perch, bluegills or jumbo shrimp and comes with homemade coleslaw, lemon, tartar sauce, a buttered slice of that ubiquitous squishy Miller marble rye bread and your choice of sides: fries, house-made Saratoga chips, spicy vermouth carrots, a cup of soup, or, for 50 cents more, a small house salad.
We had the combo with some of each fish and the perch. The fish is breaded, rather than battered and nicely cooked, and we enjoyed it all, though especially the perch -- but we always like perch best. The perch fry, with four big pieces, was $10.95. The accompanying slaw, lightly creamy, had a welcome bite of horseradish.
We couldn't decide among the sides and sought guidance from our waitress, who recommended the carrots and the chips. But I decided I also wanted some soup -- there was a choice of three kinds, and I got the New England clam chowder -- so we ordered the chips as an appetizer with chunky, house-made blue-cheese dressing. They were a bit greasy, but in a good way.
The soup was OK, nothing special. It was the beige kind. I have never quite figured out what people do to clam chowder to make it beige, but I rarely like it as well as white chowder.
I loved the carrots. I'd go back just for those. They're cut into thin slices and sauteed, with just a bit of spicy heat.
They aren't in the basement but on the first floor of the Mackie Building, below the Grain Exchange
. The place is cozy, with two rooms, a very busy bar side with a few high-top tables, and a dining room with maybe a dozen tables adjoining. I assume they are very busy from 5 to 7, peak Milwaukee dining hours, but we walked right in at a little after 8. And Swingin' Door is that rarity in Milwaukee, a kitchen open till 10 p.m.! Service was great, too.
The bar crowd looked like they were having a good time. I liked that we were neither the oldest nor the youngest people in the place. Many of the latenight (for Milwaukee) restaurants are on the East Side and draw a collegiate crowd, while a bunch of the supper club-type places seem to be Alte Kocker Land.
Swingin' Door has something on special every night.
DAILY RESTAURANT SPECIALS
Dogs; Chicago style ($2), chili-cheese or western ($2.50)
Tacos; your choice of ground beef, chicken, or vegetarian meat ($2.50)
Mussels; all-you-care-to-eat in French or Thai style, 5-9:30pm ($9.95)
Alaskan Snow Crab dinner ($15.95)
Fish Fry; Icelandic cod, lake perch, bluegills & shrimp
Brunch 10am-2pm, Pasta plate 4-9pm ($5.95)
There were also signs up promoting a Saturday steak dinner, $9.95. I'm tempted to go back tonight.Swingin' Door Exchange Saloon & Eatery
219 E. Michigan St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 276-8150 http://www.swingindoorexchange.com