Bleu

I’m going to Milwaukee for work next week, so I decided to have a splendid weekend before I leave. Who knows what next week will bring? On Friday night, we went out for drinks with two of our newer friends, Shelby and Cory, at The Standard, then met up with the rest of my usual gang at Archie’s Pub to continue the celebration of my sisters’ birthday. It was a delightful evening.

Shelby and Cory are avid readers like me (yay!), and Shelby recommended the book Divergent, which I spent nearly all of Saturday reading after purchasing it for my Kindle.

The book is set in a dystopian Chicago and felt like a wonderful cross between The Hunger Games and the Harry Potter series; it was so intriguing that I couldn’t put it down. Then last night, Dave and I had dinner at a new restaurant we’ve been dying to try. Remember the awesome experience we had at Chives? Well, the owner opened up another restaurant closer to us called Bleu.

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The restaurant is located in a restored granary in a nook of Green Bay called Olde School Square. Funnily enough, the granary comes from Reedsville, which is the same village where I went for all of grade school. I was unable to get a reservation two weeks ago, but I got one for 7:30 last night.

When Dave and I arrived, the hostess asked us to take a seat in the lounge. After we had been waiting about ten minutes, we decided to order a drink. The bar counter wrapped around the entire kitchen, and every chairs was occupied by diners so it was a bit hard to find a place to scoot in and order.

Photo from greenbaynightlife.com

After the amazing Dirty Goose Martini I had at Chives with the bleu cheese stuffed olives, I was compelled to order its sister drink here.

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Bleu’s Dirty Tito: featuring Tito’s handmade vodka, olive juice, and house-stuffed bleu cheese olives. Dave requested the same, but with Tanqueray instead.

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We paid for our drinks right away which came to a whopping $9 each! The norm around Green Bay is $6 or $7 for a good martini. Needless to say, we sipped slowly. The martini itself wasn’t my favorite–I’m a gin girl when it comes to cocktails–but the bleu cheese stuffed olives were melt in your mouth divine.

While we continued to wait, we noted the specials chalkboard in the lounge. The artisanal cheese and meat platters looked fabulous, including the intriguing ‘Drunken Goat.’ I’m not a fan of goat cheese, but it sounded really interesting and I’ll try anything once.

002 After about forty minutes, we were finally seated. I truly didn’t mind waiting because I wasn’t horribly famished, but Dave pointed out that it was a bit ridiculous that they even took reservations if you weren’t seated until 40 minutes after your arrival, and I’d have to agree.

We were directed to the end of a long table of which a party of four had already been seated, which I wasn’t expecting at all. We were separated by several chairs, but the seating arrangement at Bleu was not my cup of tea at all. The rest of the smaller tables looked to be so close to each other that even if you had your own table, you were liable to be brushing elbows and taking part in the conversation of the table next to you. Not very cozy at all.

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All the menus at Bleu were like wedding programs: tall, one-sided, simple. Everything looked so mouth-watering that Dave and I opted to order four of the smaller plates instead of two entrees.

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Ordering four smaller plates was a fantastic idea, because we got to sample more food for the same price of the larger plates. We chose Raw Oysters, Crab Cake, Mushroom Flatbread, and Aaron’s Charcuterie (by definition, the products sold in a delicatessen specializing in dressed meats).

After we placed our dinner order, we got two more drinks. Dave ordered the Green Monk, made with Tanqueray, house-made honey-lime syrup, lemon juice, and fresh basil. I ordered the Blackberry Gin Cocktail, made with Broker’s gin, fresh basil, blackberries, and house-made sweet and sour.

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Dave said his drink tasted like grass “but in a good way,” and it really did. Mine was like summer in a glass; light, fruity, and very refreshing. I loved the fresh basil in the drink. At last, our food arrived.

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The raw oysters were served with cocktail sauce and a teeny-tiny bottle of Tabasco sauce. They were smooth, cool, and very fresh. Eating raw oysters is a very interesting experience—almost like trying to french kiss the ocean. I’d never had them with cocktail sauce before, only lemon juice, and I found the addition to be quite satisfying.

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The crab cake. Oh, the crab cake. The thick chunks of juicy, flavorful crab paired with the sharpness of arugula and citrus aioli was amazing. Dave and I ate our first bite in silence, looked at each other, and nodded simultaneously. So good.

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The Mushroom Flatbread came with truffle, arugula, and ricotta cheese. Although I very rarely use ricotta, it was the perfect choice for the savory mushrooms and slightly peppery arugula. The flatbread itself was buttery and crisp, with the perfect amount of chew. Another win.

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The charcuterie came with hot Italian coppa (which we are still not convinced wasn’t smoked salmon), grilled pancetta, pork pate, and garlic sausage. It was served with fig jam, whole grain mustard, olives, and mini toasts. I was in love with the grilled pancetta and Dave with the pate. It was not my favorite part of the meal, but the different combinations of meat with jam or mustard were really interesting; I especially loved the thick, seedy, fig jam.

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A dinner fit for kings. It was the perfect amount of food for us; I was perfectly content, but not stuffed. Thus, dessert was in order. The waitress rattled off a list of about five desserts and one was the clear winner: chocolate eclair stuffed with Bailey’s Irish Cream. It has been years since I’ve had an eclair: my sister and I had a bad experience with spoiled eclairs more than ten years ago, and my stomach has always churned at the thought. But it’s hard for me to pass up anything made with Bailey’s.

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The eclair came frozen, thus the dough was a little too chewy for me, but I loved the Bailey’s filling, and the addition of caramel was amazing. My faith in chocolate eclairs has been restored!

I definitely prefer the atmosphere of Chives to that of Bleu, especially for a date night or smaller group of people. However, the food was equally delicious and the service good (well, after we had finally been seated). If I was the type of person to have a fancy lunch out, I think I might prefer Bleu’s lunch over the busier dinner. I would definitely go back to try more on the menu, but I jokingly told Dave that we should ask if we can get take-out and bring it home. If anything, I’d go back just for a crab cake.

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