Monday, June 2, 2008

Food Stop: Harbor 550 Restaurant

Harbor 550 Restaurant
Monday, June 2, 2008
Approximately 8:30 P.M.

After checking into the Hilton we were really feeling our hunger pains. We considered making things simple and eating at the hotel but how adventurous would that be? Hey! I'm still living the life of Anthony Bourdain with every trip, you know.

After studying a tourist map, we headed back where we came and thought that there surely should be a nice restaurant by Lake Michigan we could explore. We decided to hop back into the RAV4 and drive around Milwaukee. After taking a wrong turn on the 794, we spotted the Milwaukee Public Market, where we would explore the next day.

After turning back onto the highway we decided to exit on Michigan St. We drove past the Milwaukee Art Museum trying to find anything appealing and for some reason did not see any restaurants near the water. Perhaps it was too dark for me to navigate or the hunger was making me miss the obvious? After driving around a few streets we decided that we had to find a dinner place soon before the kitchens shut down. It was 8:30p.m. and darn it we hadn't had a nice meal all day. Both Nick and I was getting restlessly antsy.

I remembered seeing a delicious menu in one of the travel guides we picked up at the Hilton, so we proceeded to search for Harbor 550. Uhmmm, let me just say that you have to know this restaurant is way behind the Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin on North Harbor Drive which curves when split into Museum Dr. The streets are not well lit, there are no signs to really direct you to the right place and it appears that the restaurant is closed as you approach, but it really is there by the waterfront! Later I found out from their website that they are the ONLY waterfront restaurant in Milwaukee. Uhmmm... now I know why we couldn't find any other restaurants on our drive. Let me just say, EUREKA we found it and it was my FAVORITE dining experience on this trip.

Sorry folks, no mouth watering photos of my delicious dinner to share. The restaurant was so dark, only lit by an occasional light and candles. Very romantic and overlooking Lake Michigan with a great view of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

This is how dark the night was. We were able to see how the waves were rippling away, outside on Lake Michigan, as it was super super windy! The photo here is of the Art Museum. And, apparently during the day, the structure opens up like the photo on the top of this post. I would have liked to capture this with my camera in the day time. Aaaah, but at last the dreaded rainy weather frustrates this explorer and photographer!

Oh shucks, let me just tell you about the delicious dinner and stop complaining about the horrible weather!

To start the meal, I ordered a cup of the New England Clam Chowder. Did you know that clam chowder is one of the most popular soups WOMEN ordered? When Harbor 550 stated on their menu that the soup is loaded with clams, potatoes and double cream, they were not kidding. My favorite soup indeed and comes close to the best chowder I've ever had on a trip to Boston, MA some years ago.

Nick and I shared the Crab and Shrimp Louie Salad. Our waiter apologized that they had to make the salad fresh so it would take longer than expected. I thought, who is going to complain about fresh made salad? Isn't that how salad is supposed to be made - FRESH? We had time on this first night in Milwaukee after all and was just going to enjoy being at the waterfront looking outside at the dark waves swooping by.

Then the salad came and OH MY GOODNESS! The salad had a heaping generous amount of shrimp, crab, asparagus, tomatoes, hard boiled egg, avocado and the best "cognac infused" Louie dressing. The dressing was absolutely divine and so YUMMY. So much for the tomato and salmonella scare. We ate hungrily. We ate it all, ALL, and left no morsels. The waiter came back and said "it was that good huh?" I had to explain to him that we hadn't eaten all day and just came in that afternoon from Los Angeles thus the reason we were feeding in a frenzy. HAHA. We had a good chat with him on where to go in Milwaukee as the restaurant wasn't that busy by then. We were the only two still having dinner there! I'm thinking it's because it was a Monday and plus they need better signage from the streets! Just my 2 cents as Harbor 550 is TOO GOOD of a find not to let the whole world know.

Nick ordered the Filet Oscar for dinner: Medallions of Filet Mignon topped with King Crab, asparagus and Bearnaise sauce. As the good husband, he gave me a smidgen of his meal for a taste test. Yes, it passed my taste test. It was yummy, very yummy. My dinner was the Seafood Collage because I wanted a bit of it all. I had wished they didn't serve the seafood with linguine. I actually prefer angel hair pasta but no luck. The seafood: lobster, shrimp, scallops, mussels and salmon with the white wine shallot cream sauce with herbs was MUY Delicioso! What I would change is take out the salmon as it is not needed in this meal and have the option of angel hair pasta. I couldn't finish the dinner, what a shame. But oh, I ate most of the seafood though! Yes as the good wife, I also shared the seafood with Nick. What were you thinking?

Obviously we did not have room for dessert. It was past 10 p.m. by the time we finished dinner and it started raining outside. Satisfied and happy we said our goodbyes, ran to the car and knew that if we came back to Milwaukee next year, Harbor 550 would definitely be a repeatable restaurant. I give them three YUMS even without food photos to share with you!


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