Cozy, inviting and reminiscent of a modern wine cellar, Brassiere V continues to bring inspired Belgian and French cuisine and an impressive wine collection and tap list to the Monroe neighborhood.
Since opening in August 2007, Brasserie V proceeds to recreate Belgian frites arguably like no other restaurant in town. On their own, an order of the regular frites is served with a simple aioli that expertly compliments the crunch and flavor of the freshly cut and fried potato.
For an even more indulgent frites experience, Brasserie V serves truffle frites that are enhanced with truffle oil and parmesan in addition to aioli.
Rest assured, either option will be promptly devoured either alongside an entrée as an appetizer, or enjoyed as one sits along the front counter of the restaurant while waiting on a table — and almost certainty on busy weekends.
A seemingly lighter choice, yet incredibly satisfying is the Belgian salad. The dish is a combination of frisée, grilled endive, crumbled egg, apple, almond, warm bacon and an apple cider vinaigrette.
The frisée and grilled endive sound bizarre for a simple salad, but there’s a reason these greens are used. The fluffy texture of the endive is ideal for soaking up the warmed grease of the bacon and the tang of the vinaigrette. These elegant greens are also extremely popular in France, which echoes the European brasserie-inspired menu. Flavor abounds in spite of its ‘salad’ label.
The steak frites entrée is another winning pick given its incorporation of what Brasserie V does best — frites. The plate of frites shares the spotlight with a 12 oz. flat iron steak, soaked in a cabernet pan sauce atop a parsnip puree and braised onion. The dish is indulgent, but very much worth it.
A more Wisconsin-traditional option is the V burger that strays from conventional in its use of Madison Sourdough bread in place of a bun.
The Highland Spring Farm Scottish highland beef is topped with beer battered onion straws, spinach, tomato, classic aioli and muenster cheese. This list of ingredients shines alongside the beef thanks to the lightness of the bread component, proving a wise opt in favor of local sourcing as well.
Also unique is the smoked salmon BLT, which adds a touch of more substance to the typically only bacon filled original. Brasserie V’s rendition uses spinach as the lettuce and packs in avocado and chipotle-lime aioli as well to prove that aioli has a place on the menu that’s not limited to frites-dipping.
Another star on the menu and a French classic is the croque monsieur, which is served as a browned and buttered bread sandwich stuffed with Nueske’s smoked ham and lots of cheese.
Brasserie V fills theirs with gruyere and a rich béchamel sauce for a sandwich that’s creamy, yet “crunchified” from the griddling of the bread.
To pair with their sandwich board, Brasserie V offers either a spring onion soup or a rotating soup du jour. The soups are a welcome option to pair with the half sandwich option offered at lunch, as they’ll effectively lighten up a full portion of, say, the croque monsieur without compromising flavor.
The meals at Brasserie V can prove rich, yet portions are just sizable enough to echo the European sentiment that quality beats quantity.
Oh, and don’t forget the frites.