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Blue Jacket's Ever-Changing Menu

A local food experience served with craft beer and cocktails

Jan. 22, 2014
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Milwaukeeans who love restaurants with craft cocktails and interesting locally sourced food have had much to cheer about this past year. Open since June 2013, Blue Jacket is prominent among this new class of restaurants. Small-plate dining, artesian planks and commitment to using local products make Blue Jacket very “of the moment.” A recent change in chef hasn’t diminished the quality or creativity of the food in the least.

The eye-catching exterior of Blue Jacket is a mosaic of beautifully placed reclaimed wood from an old barn. A welcoming interior is cozy and softly lit, with a mix of booth, table and bar seating. In season, the outdoor patio is a lovely place to catch a lake breeze. At peak times, there can be a wait for a table, so it pays to call ahead for a reservation.  

A great way to begin your Blue Jacket dining experience is with the flawlessly cooked mussels ($14) served in a flavorful cream sauce with fresh bread. Or, try the crazy-good Brussels sprouts ($7) fried to crispy perfection and topped with grated grana padano cheese.

A foodie obsession of late has been charcuterie, and Blue Jacket does it very well. Their “planks” come in four varieties; meat ($14), cheese ($15), fish ($14) or a combination of all ($26). Delicately smoked fish, savory sausages and tangy cheeses are obviously selected with care and are complemented by the accompanying crunchy cornichons, pickled veggies and zippy mustards. It would be easy to make a meal just of the planks, but the “plates” are too good to miss.

The menu changes often, so depending on when you visit you could find entirely different offerings. On a recent visit the gnocchi in duck ragu ($13) was incredibly flavorful. A lamb dish ($18) was melt-in-your-mouth tender. Seafood is a good bet here, both the monk fish ($13) and red snapper ($26) were excellent. Whatever you order, the food is prepared with a delicious inventiveness that just works.

Blue Jacket’s commitment to using local products extends beyond the food to their beer and cocktail menus. Beers from all around Wisconsin and the states that border Lake Michigan make the list. Beer connoisseurs will thrill to find gems like 3 Floyd’s Alpha King and Ale Asylum Hopalicious available on tap. Blue Jacket’s cocktail list is created by Nick Kosevich and Ira Koplowitz, the brains behind Bittercube bitters. So it follows that the cocktails all contain some variety of bitters. The cocktails are priced fairly and are tasty enough to merit a trip here just for drinks. Check out the daily grog ($7), which is always good; experiencing the surprise of what you’ll get is half the fun.


Blue Jacket

135 E. National Ave.




Handicap access: yes


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