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Beta by Sabor's Bold, Daring Menu

Small plates, craft drinks bring Brazil to Milwaukee

Sep. 15, 2011
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The unique Sabor is Milwaukee's only restaurant with a Brazilian theme. The churrascaria offers an all-you-can-eat feast, complete with soup, side dishes, one of the best salad bars in the area, and a variety of grilled meats. Dinners typically approach the $50 range, with the price including all the food one could handle. This summer, however, Sabor added a new, lighter menu for the front bar and adjacent lounge. Called Beta by Sabor, the menu offers trendy small plates, craft drinks and nitrogen ice creams and sorbets. The small plates range from $3 to $13.

The bar, featuring a thick granite top, is located at the front of the restaurant. The lounge, situated between the bar and main dining room, provides a tranquil setting.

For a light touch, start with one of the toast and jams. This is similar to British tea food. The toast is grilled slices of artisan bread and the jams ($3-$10) are served in small glass jars. Not all of the jams are fruit-based. One option is blackberry bourbon, while others include tomato jam and foie gras pate. The avocado with blue cheese and bacon spreads nicely and is a delight.

Next, try the pork rinds ($4), freshly made and served in a small paper bag. Light in texture and with a hint of cheese flavor, the rinds come with a small martini glass filled with warm honey that is sprinkled with amaranth. These novel pork rinds set a high standard.

Heirloom tomatoes are becoming mandatory on better menus. Beta offers a fine heirloom tomato salad ($7) with halved heirloom tomatoes placed over slices of larger varieties. This homage to truly ripe tomatoes of all flavors represents the best of summer. The simple preparation features tomatoes served with chive oil and over a pool of white and dark balsamic vinaigrette. Fresh mozzarella dust is created using liquid nitrogen.

For the carpaccio surf and turf ($12.25), the plate is split between a thin slice of beef tenderloin and sushi-grade tuna (the pinkish color suggests yellowfin). The dish arrives with grilled artisan bread, whole grain mustard sauce, a sprinkling of micro greens and tart slices of caper berries.

Among the menu's edgier items is grilled roasted bone marrow split ($7), a split beef bone with the creamy marrow accompanied by a caper berry chimichurri. It comes with bread and a micro green salad sprinkled with Asiago cheese. This is a reminder that marrow too seldom appears on menus.

The best item on this menu is the braised veal and halibut cheeks ($12). This small serving places halibut over a few thin slices of veal. It is served over creamy white sauce, perfect for the halibut, surrounded by an intense veal reduction. The veal cheek is the ultimate in tenderness and flavor.

The nitrogen ice creams and sorbets are intended to serve five to 10 people, which is why the prices range from $35-$45. Fruit infuses many of these unique craft drinks. Along with a decent wine list, there is a good Brazilian lager and dark beer.

Diners will enjoy exploring the bold, daring menu at Beta by Sabor.

Beta by Sabor

777 N. Water St.

(414) 431-3106


Credit Cards: All Major

Handicap Accessible



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