Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tenuta’s – Milwaukee, WI (Bayview)

Callous-un and I wanted to go someplace nice to eat for NYE, but not so nice that we went broke eating there. We scouted the Internet to see what we could find as far as decent Italian food. Tenuta’s kept popping up and had really good reviews, so we booked a reservation there late.

When we got there, a guy greeted us at the door and asked us if we had reservations, he found our name on the list at the host stand and then started laughing. He was just a random waiting for his coat, didn’t work there at all. He was hilarious when he told us it would be a short wait for our table.

We were amused by the real hostess when she finally talked to us about 5 minutes after we came through the door. She was wearing an extremely tight and extremely short leopard print shiny mini skirt and 5 inch stiletto heels. She was actually hobbling in stiletto heels and was clearly in pain and complaining about her feet to people at the bar. She could have VERY easily passed for a girl on Rock of Love or that show with the Sluts on a Bus. I’m not saying she didn’t have nice hair or a nice figure, but she reminded me of the people on Jersey Shore who complain about working 3 hours a week because they’re such high maintenance trixies. This girl was NOT friendly nor even borderline nice.

While we waited for our table, we grabbed a bottle of wine at the bar. A nice Zinfandel for dinner. I also saw they had Balvenie Doublewood 12y, so I got a glass of scotch as well. I love that stuff. The bartender that helped us was very willing to let us try a couple different wines until we found one we liked. It only took us two bottles, so I think that’s good. We were amused by the guys at the bar (including Mr. Tenuta himself) that were playing dice. That’s seriously old school. Additionally, there was a guy there who looked like he was made of plastic, including his hair, and trying to play dice with the big boys. Like Callous-un says, “If you can’t have those chincy chianti bottles with candles at your table, then you’d better have Italians playing dice somewhere.” Truer words was never spoked.

Our server was quite awesome and a normal person, so we had a good time with her. I feel empathy for people working on NYE when they’d rather be out drinking with friends. I feel fortunate this year to have lost my job and can actually enjoy the holiday. She brought us a basket of really delicious bread and we got to fill our plates with olive oil and their homemade balsamic vinegar. We might have put butter on our bread, but we saw that it was kept next to the front door in a plastic to-go container (just thought it was really odd place for it) and we didn’t ask for it. We checked out the menu and came up with some ideas for our dinners.

I decided on the Strauss Veal Chop with truffle-infused mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables. And a Caesar Salad to start with. Callousun went with the Gnocchi alla Funghi with a regular salad to start. The hostess headed back to the kitchen to coerce the staff into making our food and I untangled my hair from the garland on the wall that I had gotten too close to. I’m an idiot.

The salads came out quickly and were just ho-hum salads. Nothing flashy here. They were good, just not anything you wouldn’t find at any other Italian place. We scoured the room for people to mock (that’s what we do) and found some winners. Of note, was a table of two couples. A super drunk Italian guy with his shirt unbuttoned to his stomach with his pretty smoking hot wife (we checked to see if they had rings – I guess it doesn’t mean they’re married to each other, just married – you never know). The guy didn’t look at her once. He only looked at and spoke with the guy across from him while he cackled like a witch (one of the most painful laughs ever to come out of a man’s face). The other couple talked loudly about trannies, which we thought was hysterical. Then the wife of the other guy went to the restroom at least 6 times that we noticed – geesh, I wonder what she was doing in there – we could only guess. There was also a random guy with his wife at another table who had super awesome sideburns/chops. Kudos to that guy – I notice these things.

The food came out and we were starving. It wasn’t that long of a wait, but we were already well into the bottle of wine and hadn’t eaten in a while. It was pretty dark in there, but I took a photo with the flash anyway, so you could see how awesome it was.

The veal chop was one of the best I’ve ever had. I’m a big fan of veal in most formats, but a simple chop cooked perfectly is one of the best. Every bite was great and there was simply no fat on the cut. The truffle-infused mashed potatoes were really excellent as were the vegetables (squash and wintery vegetables). I would get this again here. Callous-un’s Gnocchi was above average. She didn’t rave about it, but I thought it was pretty good. They were little potato dumplings in a mushroom cream sauce. I polished off her plate when she got full, so I was really stuffed.

The server brought out complimentary champagne for us after we were finished with our meal and the champagne was the sweetest either of us had ever tasted. I’m not a huge champagne fan, but this sweet stuff was like candy. WURD.

After we were finished and waiting for the check, a guy came out of the kitchen with this hilariously awesome Hawaiian shirt on. People in the place (including customers) were making comments to him about it. He took it all in stride and proudly wore the thing. It was awesome.

Overall, this was a really excellent meal and a fun time. The staff (minus the hostess) were all really friendly and helpful. It’s kind of in a residential area, so you’ll have to look for this place, but it’s well worth going to and won’t break the bank.

Top 5 things about Tenuta’s
1. Strauss Veal Chop
2. Gnocchi alla Funghi
3. Homemade bread and balsamic vinegar
4. Super sweet complimentary champagne
5. Really awesome staff

Bottom 5 things
1. The hostess (though she ranked high for comedy factor)
2. We never got butter, but could plainly see piles of it next to the door
3. Carnivorous garland on the wall
4. Plastic man trying to be a high roller
5. The salads were ho-hum, but I hesitate to even put it on the list (they’re weren’t bad or anything)

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