Re:Milwaukee's Historic Turner Restaurant is Closing
Sun, 08/29/10 10:31 AM
Traffic....none...1 hour 15 minutes, door to door.
Weather...glorious...78, light breeze, full sun!
Parking - FREE! (At several places) Hearing this Mayor Daley....doubtful!
After the customary filling of the cooler (about 20 lbs worth) at Usingers (Mayor Al - in your honor sir), various cheese joints, City Market, etc...we arrived at Historic Turner Hall right at 6pm.
I'm guessing at capacity, but I'm thinking over 200 easy. We were part of 25 (total customers) on a Saturday night at Prime Time. Our waitress later shared that she has been the sole waitperson on Saturday nights for some time. While Bradley Center Saturday nights bring 2 hours worth of business in, she indicated it had been getting slower and slower. Most of the competing downtown dining establishments were packed...Mader's had a line for their parking lot!
Inside, just what you'd expect of a historic, yet venerable building. While showing her age, there is still a lot of charm. Tables are comfortably spread, lighting subdued, bathrooms clean yet non air-conditioned, food service quick yet food tepid, art work is fascinating, high ceilings and heavy use of woods give an almost Bavarian feel.
We enjoyed...in order of my liking...
Sausage Platter - the warm, German potato salad was excellent as was the smoked link kielbasa served with a nice side of mustard. The Usinger smoked beef sausage was over cooked and dried out as if it had sat at the ready on a flattop. The sour, red cabbage was red, but not sour and pretty bland. This was the only meal of the four that came out warm.
Kassler Rippchen - while not stated, this has to also be Usinger's smoked pork chop because we had just stuffed 6 into our cooler. Slightly over grilled, it was still tender, flavorful with a great smokey and ham taste. The potato pancakes with both apple sauce and sour cream (my choice) we room temp, over cooked, but still enjoyable. It's a hard item to really mess up. Another load of sour, red cabbage...still no puckering on this side.
Turner's Famous Fish Fry - This one comes looking the best...and while not greasy at all, it was a little bland for my liking. So many good fish fries in Wisconsin, this was just average. The french fries were standard issue, the cole slaw poor. Marble rye and butter, long a staple at WI fish fries and simply great at Serb Hall was hard as a rock! I kiddingly knocked on the table with one slice which sent employees heading away from confrontation. Even the tarter sauce had an odd color to it.
Chicken Schnitzel - 2 pieces, one pounded just right, one really thick...to thick in my opinion. A nice breading, no sauce...so in addition to thick and tepid, it was also a little dry. While I love spaetzle, these were only fair...over cooked and room temp. The fresh veggie mix was pretty good and not over cooked.
Inquiring about dessert, our waitress said there were really no standouts and that she would choose Koop's just like we were going to do!
This looks like a clear case of poor management in the kitchen resulting in a deteriorating food product out front. The downfall of most restaurants.
It will be interesting to see how much lipstick the new food providers apply and if they really re-open later this fall...if they re-open.
As Historic Turner Hall also boasts a gymnastics room, I toyed with the idea of a few hours on the Pommel Horse and/or Uneven Bars but Mrs. CTD had forgotten my talc powder and knee socks.
Now on to the best part, as quijote has already indicated, Strawberry de Leche was FANTASTIC! Perhaps the best custard I have ever had...caramel custard with ribbons of caramel, strawberry and bits of pound cake! WOW! Mrs CTD had the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, also pretty good...just picked the wrong night to go up against the Yankees! Counter orders were averaging 6 SdL, 2 CCCD and 2 other flavors out of 10 orders. Sitting out by the waterfall, there was somewhat of an orgasmic undertone to the entire outdoor crowd presumably induced by the SdL!!! We enjoyed a moonlit basking in the afterglow before the uneventful and faster ride home!