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Draper Brothers Chophouse is gorgeous remake

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Renovations for Draper Brothers Chophouse, in a historic building on the Capitol Square, took about a year, and the results are gorgeous.

The former Blue Marlin, most famously in that spot, and other restaurants there in more recent years, didn’t make use of the upstairs that’s key to Draper and makes it twice as large.

Draper upstairs

The upper level of Draper Brothers Chophouse serves as the main dining area.

Samara Kalk Derby | Wisconsin State Journal

A friend who visited before me astutely likened it to the old L’Etoile when it was in its original second-floor location.

But what marred an otherwise elegant experience for me and a friend one Friday night was an off-putting soundtrack of music that included U2, Bon Jovi, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen.

We talked about it every time a jarring new song came on, which disrupted our meal and conversation, but we couldn’t help ourselves. Still, we didn’t go so far as to complain to anyone on staff.

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Draper occhi

The occhi, or homemade ravioli, were filled with butternut squash, and covered in a lemon cream sauce.

Samara Kalk Derby | Wisconsin State Journal

The food also elicited mixed emotions. We were tempted to order the shrimp cocktail since it looked so appealing at a nearby table, but the occhi ($25) appetizer seemed the more interesting choice. The tasteful round, homemade ravioli were filled with butternut squash and covered in a lemon cream sauce, described as “lemoncello” to make it sound more enticing. The occhi, “eyes” in Italian, were served, strangely, on a heavy slate board and garnished with candied sage and pistachio, two irresistible flavors we wished had come through more strongly. It was also too sweet for a pasta dish, with my friend using salt to make it more savory.

We were glad to get brioche buns with house-made garlic compound butter to start, but they weren’t worth filling up on.

The beet and burrata ($17), listed under salads, wasn’t a salad at all and could have easily benefited from some greens instead of a few small tomatoes. A balsamic glaze and Marcona almonds didn’t do much to enhance it.

The best part of our meal was the beef bourguignon stew ($14) with tender, flavorful tenderloin, potatoes and carrot in a stock the menu said was made with short ribs, red wine and mirepoix, diced vegetables cooked in butter. Not only was it delicious, but it was a good-sized serving for the price.

Draper scallops

The scallops in a citrus beurre blanc.

Samara Kalk Derby | Wisconsin State Journal

The scallops ($48) were on the other end of the spectrum with a citrus…

Read More: Draper Brothers Chophouse is gorgeous remake

2024-04-18 11:50:00

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