210923FIRE2FORK

Beth Webb, a member of The Gazette’s restaurant review team The Four Dishes, enjoyed her orders of crab cakes and wedge salad during a recent visit to Fire2Fork in Delavan. The farm-to-table restaurant, housed in the former Millie’s Restaurant and Shopping Village, features locally sourced foods.

DELAVAN

When we set out to visit Fire2Fork, we had no idea where we were going. We ended up taking a pleasant half-hour drive that wound its way through Darien, eventually landing at a place that seemed familiar.

Upon our approach, Jennifer shouted, “This is where Millie’s used to be,” referring to Millie’s Restaurant and Shopping Village, which closed back in 2013. The restaurant has since been reborn as Fire2Fork, a farm-to-table restaurant featuring locally sourced foods.

I had often wondered what happened to Millie’s. As a kid I never knew how to get there. Now the building that housed the longtime business is again being put to good use, having been nicely updated and apparently receiving good support from patrons.

Having been open for about two years, Fork2Fire features a large central dining room with several smaller rooms. It was a nice night with seasonal temperatures when we visited, so we elected to dine outside. Still, we got a good view of the building’s interior as we walked through it to reach the patio.

The interior has a rustic, industrial vibe and an open-kitchen concept. Beautiful wood beams and posts decorate the bar. Tucked neatly beneath the bar is a boat-load of freshly chopped wood, ready to feed the ovens and grills.

A mammoth stone fireplace is housed in the center of the main dining room, and it enhances the rustic, cozy ambiance. The enormous patio boasts more than a dozen tables, some equipped with umbrellas, to give visitors the option of enjoying Wisconsin’s late summer weather while they dine.

On our walk through the restaurant, I spotted a large table of beautiful breads. Fire2Fork makes its own loaves in a wood-fired oven. Tasting them went top on my list.

One of the small plates we ordered included three types of bread—sourdough, ciabatta and baguette—served with whiskey butter, charred onion marmalade and a whole roasted head of garlic ($8). I ordered that immediately and ate way too much of it.

Helene asked if the bread was sold by the loaf and was happy to discover she could go home with some sourdough ($3).

We also ordered the pistachio-crusted goat cheese ($13), which was a great choice. It was served with a lovely peach chutney and chili garlic honeycomb, and the cheese was fantastic with both toppings. The waxy honeycomb was distinctive—not spicy, but balanced between sweet and sharp.

Already stuffed, I ordered the wedge salad ($14). It was huge with crunchy lettuce, plenty of Parmesan cheese, smoked bacon and a fresh Caesar dressing. It went perfectly with my crab cakes ($18), which were soft, lightly sauteed and elevated by a whole-grain mustard aioli. It was potent but perfect since I love mustard.

With salmon on the menu, Helene couldn’t pass it up. Andy crispy Faroe Isle salmon ($29) was an apt description of what she was served.

A decent-sized piece of fish, slightly blackened on the top, had a very satisfying crunch to each bite. Inside it was pink, juicy and fork-tender. The fish was set in a broth of nuoc cham (pronounced “nook chum,” which is Vietnamese for “dipping sauce”) that was warm and had a salty flavor.

The sauce harmonized well with the salmon as well as the bed of shredded marinated cabbage that lay under the fish. Paper-thin slices of toasted garlic sat atop the plate. Helene said this piece of salmon was among the best she has ever eaten.

Nikki ordered the wood-grilled wild shrimp on the half-shell ($26). Served on a white rectangular platter, five large butterflied shrimp were arranged on mixed greens with chorizo crumbled on top with a garlic sherry vinaigrette. The shrimp were a little messy to eat, but she said the grilled taste was wonderful.

Jennifer was particularly hungry and decided on the wood-grilled blue burger ($16) for her entree. It should be noted all burgers at Fork2Fire are made from fresh ground chuck and brisket.

Served on a homemade brioche bun, the burger was thick and juicy with a perfect pink center, drizzled with Buffalo hot sauce and served with blue cheese, pickled celery and carrots, farm greens, sliced tomato and onion straws. It also came with a side of duck-fat fries, which were extra crispy on the outside and rich and velvety inside.

Fire2Fork has a strong dessert selection, with many offerings either house-made or provided by a private pastry chef. We had our favorite, creme brulee ($9), and it was the largest serving I’ve ever seen.

We also split a mini key lime pie ($12), which featured a crumb crust with a layer of tart lime filling, a cloud of satiny whipped topping and lime slice garnish.

Perfection.

The Four Dishes—Nikki Bolka, Helene Ramsdell, Jennifer Spangler and Beth Webb—review regional restaurants for The Gazette.

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