It has been a beefy day but Hungry Hungry ain’t flinching. When peeps found out HHH was in Milwaukee, the suggestions began streaming in on where to eat during the short time I was in one of the Midwest’s best cities. More than one recommendation sent me to Comet Cafe (1947 N. Farwell Ave.), a “hipster” spot just outside of the city that features elevated comfort fare – it would fit in just fine in Logan Square.
We came here for two dishes that caught our eyes during our pre-visit research. Poutine and Meatloaf – two of Comet’s specialties according to just about every user and professional review. Let’s get ‘er done. Poutine is a sensitive topic in Canada. In fact, I have read articles criticizing America as a whole for bastardizing one of their nation’s most prized, popular and above all, respected, dishes.
While they aren’t completely incorrect – their opinion, we have taken the simplicity of fries, cheese curds and gravy for granted. Three ingredients, it’s that simple. Americans, too, have taken poutine and made it a side course. Up North it’s an entree, it IS your dinner – a rare occasion where no meat is necessary. A thousand or so calories of starch, cheese and gravy should do you good when it’s below zero a good portion of the year up in Canada, don’t ya know ay?
Duck confit. Duck breast and legs slowly cooked submerged in their own fat. Confit is one of the most successful ways, in my opinion, to prepare duck in general, let alone when it’s merely a topping. A confit leg of duck will fall apart with ease and be as tender and flavorful as one could imagine. After all, if you’d had a four hour long bath in…well…anything, you’d probably smell (and taste) that delicious as well. Let’s not find out though…
Perfectly fried spuds rest on the bottom of a large plate. Generous stringy lengths of cheese curd envelop the entire pile of crunchy potatoes. A rich gravy covers the plate. The gravy is poured on piping hot so that it melts the curds through and makes the crispy fries just soggy enough for an excellent version of authentic poutine – up to this point. Now, we pile on the duck, and it’s glorious. An excellent, maybe not so traditional poutine executed with skill any Canadian would be proud of. Between courses we checked out the space.
Meatloaf. The meatloaf of all meatloaves lives at Comet Cafe in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Who’da thunk?! They make their meatloaf using only the best Wisconsin grass fed beef they could source. They have a secret ratio of meat to fat that is another reason for such a successful and comforting dish. Comet Cafe is known for everything bacon, so naturally they completely encase their meatloaf in the extra thick cut Neuske variety.
This open faced “sandwich” starts with a thick slice of salted rye bread, on top of which goes a massive slab of the legendary meatloaf that measures at least two inches thick – no joke. Then comes the home made chive mashed potatoes, a couple slices of grilled tomato, onions and finally a rich beer gravy that takes a painstaking three full days to craft one of the best gravies of any kind. And you can taste those delicious seventy two hours of patience and care, every damn minute I tell ya. Oh, and as if wrapping the entire meatloaf in bacon wasn’t enough, Comet decided to add a few more slices to the sandwich as a topping – why not right? Go big or go home!
Comet is also known for their baked goods (pie), but uh, yeah…just so much food. So tall. Neither of us knew how to conquer this monster of a sandwich. We just dug in. Every flavor played well with one another. Smoky bacon, awesome juicy and flavorful meatloaf. The gravy. Holy moly the gravy was just out of this world. Allowing something to reduce that much over the course of a number of days will inherently result in a fantastically rich and complex product. Unfortunately, no room for that dessert on this quick rainy day trip. The pies and cupcakes looked to die for but I wanted to walk, not roll out. As I often say – maybe next time.
I’m hungry. Let’s eat!