Alongside Ashley, stylist and owner of Midwestern Bride, I had the privilege to take photos of a few menu items for Chef Jason Tofte’s newest restaurant located in downtown Waukesha.
Here is a beautiful breakdown of what we accomplished that morning; guest post by Ashley:
There is nothing better than expanding your food scene in a constantly changing food culture like the Midwest. Some people have their old stand by but I would challenge you to continue to explore and experience all that area has to offer because it is growing leaps and bounds each year. We are far from the meat and potato standard that too many anticipate from us and we are excited to share some of our own experiences here as we continue on our own journey from across the table… or bar… it might be a bar… those are my people.
More than seven years ago I had just moved to the Milwaukee area from Madison and I was eager to learn a new restaurant scene. Coming from Madison’s most prominent restaurant group in the city I was interested to try something new and work with a sole proprietor restaurant. Eddie Martini’s was as old school as they came. White coats service and steak house classics, but some these dishes though typical of a steak house menu were jaw droppingly delicious. Never much of a red meat eater these steaks would make even a vegetarian reconsider. The thickest, crispy crust on the outside, dripping with melted seasoned butter, or Hook bleu cheese butter if you go gaga for Hooks cheeses as I do, and the perfectly rested and pink soft smooth centers. Classic dishes done spectacularly well which had been bringing people back through their doors day after day.
My favorite part about working there was their regulars, some of which had been coming for more than 15 years and would come in each and every day. They had their spot at the bar, their signature dishes which were far from on the menu really but known by every server and sometimes even programmed into the computers, and they knew to the minute when these guests would arrive. It was the most faithful following I had ever seen. A blast from the past and old timey warmness throughout the entire restaurant brought them back time and time again. But they came for another reason as well.
The executive Chef at that time was Jason Tofte and he had been there for nearly a decade already. My time at Eddie’s passed as did Jason’s and he came to Waukesha with a entirely new goal. His first restaurant in the city was The Steaming Cup; a casual coffee spot with sandwiches and live music in the corner. Breaking from the old fine dining style and two person team service it was basic counter service and barista with a warm “come a read a paper” ambiance. Cozy stuffed furniture, a few tables there and in between, and a mini stage for local young talents such as his musician daughter. You felt the family vibe as soon as you walked in, nothing pretentious or stuffy about it just tasty sandwiches and soup as you sidewalk shopped the downtown. A far departure from his time at Eddie’s it seemed as though he too got the itch to experiment and play in the kitchen once more hence Tofte’s Table.
Waukesha was in need of an update in their food scene and they got it. A mix of sizeable shareable plates as well as entree portions for those guests who cannot get on board with the shared plates scene he blended his menu perfectly to appeal to every kind of guests. His cheese and charcuterie plate are the perfect way to start any meal by teasing the taste buds with sweet, savory, and salty cured meat. His time in the industry insures that each dish is procured with the best vendors in mind and each piece builds on the profile. New takes on comfort food like fried chicken took it to another level. As he brought out the perfectly golden drumsticks drizzled with coarse mustard and maple honey our mouths salivated. Chicken is always that item I am hesitant to order but rarely regretting when the dinner has ended and this was no different.
Personally, I tend to gravitate to the fish/seafood dishes and even from his many years in the heavier steak world he knocked them out of the park. The peppercrusted ahi tuna was as much as treat for the eyes as the tastebuds. Everyone knows if you put tuna on the menu it will sell but I would venture to guess that this one would also keep guests coming back.
Tofte’s table steps up the food game in Waukesha taking their old-fashioned downtown into more of a modern age. From the large windows overlooking the river that flood of natural light to the weathered wood top tables to the dark walls and family style long tables encouraging communal dining. One thing is for sure we will be back to continue to watch Jason build upon his culinary talents with new dishes and concepts.” – Ashley Kuehnel // Owner of Midwestern Bride
Tofte’s Table: 331 Riverfront Plaza | Waukesha, WI | 262 408-5633
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