Goodkind Offers All The Best
Small Bay View restaurant is charming, with fun menu and fine food.
The idea to visit Goodkind starts at a beer dinner at Pizza Man when my friend and I sit across the table from a couple of recent Marquette grads. During our conversation, talk turns to favorite Italian restaurants as they are on a quest to find the best in Milwaukee. They tell us, in their opinion, that Milwaukee’s best Italian restaurant is Goodkind. Really? I decide to check it out.
After my friend mentions she too graduated from Marquette, class of ’61, the husband says, “Wow! You are the oldest Marquette grad I’ve ever met.” Everyone at the table laughs.
First I’ll set the record straight. Goodkind is not an Italian restaurant, though it’s located in the building that was long the home of a DeMarini’s pizza place. If Goodkind has a “specialty” it would be Rotisserie meats. The night I ate there, one pasta dish on the menu, Mint Maltagliati Pasta with Apricot Ragu, Chanterelles, Gypsy Peppers, Arugula, and Smoked Almonds could possibly lead to the Italian connection, but since the menu changes weekly, it’s unlikely the grads sampled that dish. Maybe they confused Goodkind with Tenuta’s, an Italian neighborhood restaurant, also in Bay View.
Goodkind sits at the corner of Wentworth and Potter, two quiet, mainly residential streets in Bay View. It may be a neighborhood restaurant and tavern, but don’t look for ordinary bar food. My friend and I did not sample their specialty, Rotisserie meats, but here’s what we missed: Fennel Pollen Dry Brined ½ Chicken; Spiced Honey Glazed Pork Ribs; and Lavender and Anchovy Rubbed Leg of lamb. The meat comes with a choice of a la carte sharable sides: Roasted Beets and Greens; Rotisserie Potatoes and Vegetables; and Parmesan Polenta.
We decide this former blacksmith shop, pizza parlor, and neighborhood tap still looks like a bar, albeit a bar with upgrades. It’s long and narrow with the kitchen at one end and a dining area that seats 40 at the other, and in the middle, a sleek U-shaped bar. A chalkboard list specials and colorful metal letters on a back wall spell Goodkind.
A long list of house cocktails made with freshly squeezed juices makes for interesting reading. My Darling Amadeus made with Chili Liqueur, Pisco, lemon, lime, and an egg white, reminds me of San Francisco’s popular Remus Fizz, known as the ultimate hangover remedy.
The menu divides into four sections, Bites, Small Plates, Rotisserie, and Large Plates. From Bites, Chicken Liver Mousse with Pickled Red Onion and Crostini turns out to be far more than a “bite,” more like a sharable small plate. The delicious light buttery mousse pairs perfectly with the red onion. As we were unwilling to leave any on the plate, we order more crostini ($.50) to smear every morsel. From that same menu, a small dish of crunchy, deep-fried chickpeas flavored with smoked paprika and garlic also proves to be a sharable. We devour them like popcorn. They go especially well with my New Glarus Dancing Man beer.
From Large Plates, Eggplant Escabeche, Rainbow Chard, Wine Couscous studded with pine nuts and raisins raises the bar on eggplant for me. When I later mention to a friend that I had eggplant at Goodkind she says, “Oh, parmigiani I suppose.”
“Not exactly,” I say. “Escabeche.” The chef had charred small wedges of eggplant giving it an intense flavor and served it over a mix of couscous with sautéed chard. Escabeche refers to a Spanish preparation for fish where the chef first sears it, then marinates it in a vinegar sauce with herbs, then serves it at room temperature. That explains the dense flavor of my eggplant.
From desserts on the chalkboard we share Gateau Basque, an almond-toffee torte with Door County Cherries, Crème Fraiche, and Candied Fennel.
“Candies Fennel?” we ask, “what’s that about?”
“We like to surprise our diners,” our friendly and very efficient server says. She always knew how to explain the menu and answered all our questions.
The almond-toffee torte lives up our expectations based on the rest of the delicious meal, and the fennel — tiny pink and yellow candies sprinkled on the crème fraiche — tastes of anise, a perfect contrast to the sweet/sour torte.
As for the name Goodkind, I quote from the website, “All to the good and the best of its kind.” Perfect.
On the Menu
- Location: 2457 S. Wentworth Ave.
- Phone: 414-763-4706
- Hours: 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Mon-Sat, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sun
- Walk Score: 74
- Website: http://goodkindbayview.com
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/goodkindbayview
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/goodkindbayview/?fref=ts
- UM Rating: 3.9666666666667 stars (average of Yelp, Trip Advisor and Zomato)
- Menu size: 26
- Price range food (small plates): $3.00-$15.00
- Price range food (entrees): $12.00-$30.00
- Wine list size (bottles): 42
- Wine list size (glasses): 18
- Price range wine (bottles): $35.00-$85.00
- Price range wine (glasses): $8.00-$13.00
- Beer list size (tap): 19
- Beer list size (bottles): 17
- Cuisine Style: Traditional American