Chow Down In Milwaukee

Restaurant Reviews

Daily Hand-Made Pasta From Egg and Flour + Pizzeria

Egg and Flour has two locations, one in Bay View and the other on Milwaukee’s East Side at 2238 N Farwell Avenue. It’s one of eight vendors in Milwaukee’s first food hall, Crossroads Collective, that prepare fresh food daily. Egg and Flour locally sources their ingredients and takes pride in their hand made pasta, creating dishes with Chef Pawlak’s Italian heritage.

I was conflicted on whether or not to order the shells with cheese sauce or one of the tomato based dishes. I ended up choosing the shells because the description intrigued me; it’s prepared with Egg and Flour’s house made cheese sauce. I also liked the fact that it came with two appealing garnishes – chives and bread crumbs. And most of you will appreciate the fact that it has bacon in it!

Before the dish came out, based on the bacon and garnishes, I was expecting the house made cheese sauce to be of cheddar variety. Instead, the sauce was mainly made of parmesan cheese – which is kind of surprising considering parmesans melting properties. Because of this, the sauce was a bit on the grittier side, rather than smooth. However, the flavor was nice and subtle and the sauce was a proper consistency to coat the shells.

Many of us enjoy a good breadcrumb topping on our macaroni (shells, in this case) and cheese. A big part of the reason for this is because of the contrast in textures between the soft noodles and creamy cheese and the slightly crunchy, crispy breadcrumbs. However, I believe the breadcrumbs in this dish could have been toasted before being sprinkled on top, or they could have stuck the dish under the broiler for a short time and voila – crispy breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs were also very finely crumbled and since there was no texture contrast, it was almost hard to decipher the parmesan cheese from the breadcrumbs.

I was hoping for fresh chives - maybe they were, but they seemed a bit dark and also very finely chopped, almost undetectable. I would have liked to get a bit more of that extra flavor that chives can bring to a dish. The bacon was brunoise diced, nearly as small as bits, but added a hearty touch to this comforting dish. I also enjoyed the slight saltiness it presented and the natural fats add a bit of richness.

Now for their claim to fame, their made-from-scratch pasta; I must say, they hit the nail on the head here. Many cooks debate over the subject of which pasta is the best to use with cheese sauce. I’d have to agree with Egg and Flour and say Shells are the best pasta – and they made theirs perfect! The pasta was not too thick or thin and the tools they used shaped the pasta perfectly. Not only that, Egg and Flour definitely knows how to cook their pasta as well. It was cooked just slightly past al dente, allowing the pasta to keep its shape and still be somewhat soft. By doing so, the shells acted as little cups for the cheese sauce, bacon and garnishes, scooping a little bit of goodness into every shell and every bite.

Egg and Flour also has a Pizzeria within the Crossroads Collective location where they sell pizza, whole or by the slice, breadsticks and salad. They’ll always have four-cheese, pepperoni, and shroom (vegetarian) pizza, along with a Pizza of the Day which changes regularly. On the day that I visited the restaurant, they had Pickle Pizza as their special. It sounded, well, different – so I thought, why not, and ordered that.

When I purchased a slice of the Pickle Pizza, I was not expecting to receive a whole quarter of the pizza, but that’s what I got. You know how something can just look delicious, before you even try it? That was this slice of pizza. The bright green slices of pickle nuzzled in the melted cheese, topped with fragrant fresh dill and drizzled with garlic aioli – it was picturesque and the aromas filled my nose. Needless to say, I was excited to taste this pizza.

Just like many foods, pizza crust is one of those items where most of us have a preference – thick or thin. I can appreciate both styles for different reasons and that’s why I liked this crust so much – it has the preferred aspects of both. The bottom of the crust was caramel brown, perfectly toasted, making the crust sturdy enough to hold the toppings and not flop over when picked up. Above the crisp bottom was pillow-like crust that supplied the thickness and soft texture.

When I bit into a pickle on my first bite, my taste-buds soared. The bright acid from the pickle was a delightful complement to the rich melted cheese. The pickle itself was crisp, adding to the texture variance and tasted like it had been picked right out of the garden. Along with the pickle, the fresh dill was pleasing to the pallet. Cucumber, pickle and dill are perfect pairings so it would make sense as to why this combination worked so harmoniously.

Topping off the pizza, last but definitely not least, was the garlic aioli. The punch of garlic was immediate and strong yet balanced. As a whole, the aioli had a nice smooth consistency and was a light yet flavorful drizzled garnish. When I would get a bite with all three wonderful elements of this pizza, I felt like I was biting into a fresh, green garden every time. Very delightful and one I will definitely be going back for!

I’d like to mention that they also have two dishes with tomato sauce – one with noodles and tomato sauce and the other with a Bolognese, which is a tomato sauce with meat. However, they also have the option of ordering a side of meatballs. While I do enjoy a good Bolognese, I typically like my spaghetti with meatballs on top. So when I go back, I will be trying their Bucatini (tomato sauce and parmesan) with a side of meatballs.

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