Wednesday, January 11, 2012

La Merenda Review

So my husband and I have been quite excited about trying La Merenda in Milwaukee. I was giddy about the thought of a restaurant having all local ingredients with grass fed meat. We have seen the restaurant featured on Wisconsin Foodie for special events showcasing their use of local ingredients.

La Merenda Website

All the excitement and it was a complete bust.

I won't even go in depth on the service since that is irrelevant if the food was spectacular. (The service was pretty bad - staff was nice but they were so neglectful)

All the food seemed to us that is was half put together.

First off the La Merenda salad had gorgonzola cheese. I love gorgonzola, but it needs to be broken up and incorporated into the salad. There were MASSIVE balls of gorgonzola in the salad. My husband is still burping up that cheese today. The cheese to me seemed to have all funk and no flavor. Just bad.

The bread brought to our table I would equate with a Pick N Save store brand loaf. It was cold and had no flavor. My bread would be considered gourmet artisan in comparison. Apparently they need a master break maker. Or even a mediocre bread baker to improve upon the quality.

The rest of our "tapas" were less than average. The concept was great but it was poorly executed. It seemed as though there were no spices used. There was nothing that excited the tongue. The sauce pairings were off. And everything was quite expensive. I am more than happy to pay more for organic and local items, but they need to taste good.

We had empanadas, spanakopita, roasted squash ravioli, duck confit crepes and the special which was a filet on rosemary mashed potatoes. All the descriptions on the menu sounded fabulous. There was nothing that stood out as even remotely pleasing to the palate though. To top it all off, the steak was brought out with the wrong topping, and the server only offered to remake it. We said we would keep it since we wanted to go, but nothing else was done to remedy the problem.

When a food is well-crafted, there will be layers of flavor. There were no layers of flavor. Just expensive, bad tasting local food.

I also couldn't stand that I had to eat off the same tiny, dirty plate the entire meal. Not once was a clean plate brought to me. Apparently $8 for 4 ravioli does not warrant a clean plate.

Maybe it was the chef that night. Maybe it is simply the way things are done. I had spoken with another local restaurant owner a couple months ago and they asked me if we had been there. They gave us the exact same feedback as we experienced last night.

So, if you are daring enough to try it out for yourself, go ahead.

If you want an excellent, small dish restaurant, go to Juto down the road instead.

Juto Website

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