Chow Down In Milwaukee

Restaurant Reviews

Fine Dining in Shorewood at Buttermint

If you’re looking for a fine dining experience, then Buttermint in Shorewood could certainly be an option. Buttermint describes their menu as modern with a 1960’s influence focusing on Continental dishes that highlight French and Mediterranean cuisine.

A lot of what makes a restaurant “fine dining” is not just the food, but the atmosphere in which you dine as well. The restaurant is warmly light, not bright or dim, candles on every table, clean walls (not cluttered with paintings) and beautiful, artistic light fixtures all added to the calming ambiance.

They have multiple seating options for whatever the occasion may be. The main dining area has typical tables for four, nicely spaced apart from one another. Of course, Buttermint offers a variety of cocktails, beer on tap, non-alcoholic beverages and more – so there is always the option of sitting at the bar as well. Two other options, located in a small area right off the main dining room, are few high-top tables as well as a couple lounge areas for two.

Buttermint is only open for dinner service between the hours of 4 PM and 9 PM Tuesday through Saturday and closed on Sundays and Mondays. I went on a Thursday and arrived at approximately 6:00 PM – I was lucky to get a seat. I was directed to the last available option which happened to be one of the three lounge spots. It was a very comfortable chair, but a very small table.

Many people feel that when they are going to a fine dining restaurant they must dress up. I will find any excuse to dress up, so I did. However, a couple of older women were enjoying cocktails in one of the other lounge seats near me. They were both in jeans and a nice blouse, while others were fairly dressed up. Either way, feel free to ‘dress for the occasion’ as they say, whether that be a casual drink with friends or a romantic date night out.

To start my dinner, I decided to try something I’ve never had before – Oysters. The Oysters of the Day could be East Coast, West Coast or a combination of the two. The waitress informed me that tonight it would be a mix of the two, so I was fortunate enough to try both. It’s a platter of 6 Oysters for $18 and comes with Buttermint’s house made cocktail sauce, fresh horseradish and a few wedges of lemon which is all plated on a layer of crushed ice.

I’ll start by telling you that these two oysters are extremely different, both in appearance, texture and flavor. When the waitress arrived with the oysters, I asked her which one was which. She responded by saying that, typically, the East Coast shells have a smoother edge, whereas the shells of oysters on the West Coast are more wavy.

I grabbed for the miniature fork provided and tried an East Coast Oyster first, twirling the oyster just a little to make sure it was completely separated from the shell. I then tilted the shell up with the larger end toward me and ate the oyster. Some simply swallow it whole, which is certainly an option. But the immediate flavor didn’t shock me like I was expecting so I chewed a little in order to get a sense of the texture. Honestly, the oyster’s consistency reminds me of a sautéed mushroom, with that smooth silky outside and a bit tougher inside. The liquid the oyster lays in was more watery than anything and tasted a bit salty. Every so often when chewing it’d feel a grit of sand or shell here and there, but it was quite fine and didn’t disrupt the experience.

Overall, I really enjoyed the East Coast Oysters. I didn’t need any cocktail sauce or horseradish because the flavor on its own was nice and subtle. I could easily eat 10 more of these. If you have never tried oysters before, I highly encourage you to try them, specifically the East Coast variety – it’s the best one for beginners such as myself.

When most people think of oysters, common words that come to mind are salty, sandy and slimy. Well, if they’re thinking of West Coast Oysters, then they may be right. Compared to the East Coast ones, these oysters tasted like I picked them right off the bottom of the ocean floor. The flavor in these was bold and powerful, it tasted like that of seaweed and was much saltier. Also, it had a lot more shards of gritty pieces throughout; I was chewing without caution and felt like I almost chipped a tooth (but didn’t). Word to the wise: be careful when eating West Coast oysters.

The flavor was so pungent that I decided to slurp the second two. Also, I figured any other essence I could add to this oyster would help, so I lobbed on a heap of Buttermint’s house made cocktail sauce and boy did that work. The spark of heat and spice form the cocktail sauce definitely saved the day. If you can appreciate the true essence of the oceans flavor and all that comes with it, then the West Coast Oysters are right for you.

For dinner, I ordered the Roasted Breast of Amish Chicken – but before it came, a waiter dropped off a palate cleanser. The drink was served in a square shot glass and consisted of blood orange and grapefruit juices. Palate cleansers are offered between meals and are typically of neutral flavor but sometimes citrus may also be used. Its purpose is to clear any lingering taste the diner may have in order to prepare them for the next course.

The dinner was nicely presented, it looked very elegant. The chicken was well roasted, the skin thin and crispy – it somewhat reminded me of a slow cooked rotisserie chicken. Since it was well-cooked, the layer of Jus on the plate was appreciated.

The squash was grilled, which brought out the flavor and caramelized its natural sugar, sweetening the deal. The spinach, though, was cooked in too much oil and probably wasn’t strained before being platted. While the chicken needed some juice, it didn’t need that much. Even so, somehow the perfect bite really consisted of all three components - the sautéed spinach, sweet squash and chicken.

Also served as part of the dinner, was Chicken Sausage Pelmeni. This is a filled dumpling which is either fried, boiled or baked. In this case, Buttermint’s Pelmeni were filled with  chicken sausage and boiled, rather than fried or baked. The Texture was smooth and consistent and the meat to dough ratio was spot on.

At the end when given the check, the waitress also put on the table a Buttermint tin of mints. I liked these mints a lot – they remind me of Christmas because they’re the multicolored ones that are soft, melt in your mouth and have that sweet peppermint flavor. The ones you eat five of before getting to your car. I had a good experience here and I’ll probably go back. But next time, I’ll share the experience with another.

Go Back


Blog Search