We are habitual sharers. At restaurants, we insist on coordinating all the dishes that everyone’s ordering so that they can be passed around without fear of alienation or overlap. One reason we do this is to maximize the variety of dishes we sample, and the other reason it to make check-splitting easier. If everyone shares everything, then everyone pays the same amount, and the least pleasant aspect of restaurant dining is reduced to a mere proffering of plastic, with no calculators in sight.
One easy way to facilitate this eating philosophy is with small plates. People are much more apt to share when you can order five or six dishes, because it gives the illusion of bounty, among other factors. We bring this up because of the recent opening of Between Cafe & Lounge in Bucktown. Co-owner Carl Anderson (formerly of Usagiya) brought in Chef Radhika Desai (Vermilion) to create an eclectic (the press release says exotic, but nothing’s exotic anymore. No, really, think about it) menu of small plate dishes (they call them “boutique” dishes, which is precious) on a stretch of Milwaukee that could use a little TLC.
Should you sgo, what might you find? How about…all sorts of crazy combinations of ingredients with globetrotting spice profiles. Why not start with the most expensive item on the menu, the Lobster Trifecta ($18). “Trifecta” is a much cooler word than “trio,” even if it’s a more vague term: you get a maki roll with lobster, mango rice, chive, turmeric cream cheese; curried lobster bisque; and lobster, wild mushroom, and risotto cakes with black pepper truffle aioli. If these three dishes create a harmonic convergence that illuminate the very essence of lobster, then it can be accurately termed a trifecta. One can only hope!
The word play continues with Rad’s Chicken & Waffles, which is, in actuality, crispy cumin dusted chicken on a chorizo waffle with vanilla saffron cream ($13). Sounds delicious, but honestly, what the hell is a chorizo waffle? Oh, that’s right - it’s the single best phrase we’ve heard all week. Throw in an Avocado Chocolate Napolean with creamy avocado mousse, chocolate ganache, and cashew ($6) for dessert, and you’ve pretty much covered all your bases.
Wait! There’s one more base, come to think of it, and it’s alcohol. On this front, Between has something you’ve never had before (unless you’re sublimely awesome): rum bubble teas. Now that’s innovation.