ON OUR RADAR IN 2019
FAUNTLEROY: The second restaurant from the DanDan owners/ chefs is a loose, modern interpretation of French cuisine. Yes, there’s foie gras, escargot, pâté, mussels and other traditional-sounding things: They’re not trying to be Alain Ducasse. The
’70s rock music (Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin) sets a very boisterous tone in the relaxed though polished dining room. After its late July opening, I’ve given this buzzy restaurant time to find its footing; expect a review in early 2019.
(316 N. Milwaukee St.) DON’S DINER & COCKTAILS: The 2018 diner is no hole-in-the-wall – as enjoyable as that experience can be. A sibling of Hotel Madrid, Movida and others, Don’s hits the 1950s vibe with a contemporary, stylish aesthetic. And menu-wise, its foundation is diner-y (breakfast served all day) but with flourishes like foie gras on the burger and lamb meatballs served with a mushroom-truffle demi-glace, it sounds like it’s redefining stereotypes.
(1100 S. First St.) CA’LUCCHENZO: Zak and Sarah Baker, the rock-solid duo at least partially responsible for the success of the Pizza Man empire, are adding “restaurateur” to their résumés. They met when both were working for Bartolotta Restaurants, and now in the place where they call all the shots, they plan to deep-dive into homey, rustic homemade pastas along with apps, soups and salads. With Sarah’s wine-director background, the list of Italian wines should be molto bene.
(6030 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa)
MERGE: Just a few months after opening Char’d, the Korean fusion retreat in the Third Ward, the owners announced a sibling in the works, this time in the (short-lived) old Yokohama digs. Just as the menu is creatively spun at Char’d, Merge aims for a relaxed, counter-service take on bar food, with a Korean twist. That means Korean fried chicken wings, fried dumplings and (yes, this is Korean street food) corn dogs. Interior design is inspired by the murals in nearby Black Cat Alley. A soft opening was set for Nov. 21.
(1932 E. Kenilworth Place)