RESTAURANT REVIEW: Cafe Hollander
Worth your while
By Ashley Brandt
7677 W State Street
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin 53213
Hours Sunday- Thursday 8am-Midnight
Friday and Saturday 8am-1am (Kitchen closes at Midnight)
Service: 4 Bicyclettes
Setting: 4 Bicyclettes
Food: 3.5 Bicyclettes
Value: 4 Bicyclettes
Overall: 4 Bicyclettes
Cuisine Type: Belgian/American Pub Food
Price per entrée: $10.95-$16.95
Payment: Cash and Credit Cards Accepted
Walking through Café Hollander’s large outdoor seating area to the beautifully stained wooden entrance door, I can instantly see the resemblance to its sister restaurants of the same name on Downer Ave and Café Centraal on KK. With multiple TV’s in the bar area showing matches from the world cup and clips of the Tour de France, this is clearly the sophisticated sports fans haven.
Café Hollander of Wauwatosa, celebrating it’s one year anniversary later this month, is the most recent venture for the Diablos Rojos restaurant group which also owns Hollander on Downer Ave, Centraal on KK, and Trocadero gastrobar on Water Street. With it’s extensive beer list and Belgian inspired pub-fare, it is a great value for both lunch and dinner.
Paired up against Le Reve’s French cuisine and Ristorante Bartolotta’s Italian cuisine, Café Hollander is a nice contrast for someone looking for familiar food and a great beer. I found myself there for lunch on a Monday. Even thought Monday’s are not the busiest days for the restaurant industry, Café Hollanders patio and downstairs dining area were practically full.
Choosing to eat inside, we were walked past the vast line of unique tappers at the bar and were seated at a quaint table by the large windows that light the restaurant. Our server greeted us quickly and kindly and went on to describe the day’s specials. After giving us a few moments, he came back for a drink order.
Due their vast beer selection, Café Hollander offers beer palettes ($12) with four four-ounce beers of your choice from the tap. Taking full advantage of the situation, I immediately ordered my four: Cuvee des Trolls, De Koninck, Kwak all from Belgium, and Matilda from Illinois. To go along with all the beer, I also ordered the White Cheddar Cheese Curd appetizer ($6.95)
Before I knew it, the curds and beer were on the table. The Matilda was toasty and smooth and brought almost a warm feeling while drinking it. The Kwak had a lingering bitterness with a more caramel flavor. The Cuvee des Troll was light and crisp with a fruity finish. And the De Koninck was mild, malty, and earthy red ale. They all went well with the curds that were lightly breaded and served with a tangy marinara. Although there were a little too greasy for my taste, it was nothing a cold beer couldn’t wash down.
For the entrée course, I ordered the Benelux Salad ($7.95) and the Vegetarian Chili ($3.95 for a cup). The Benelux salad was an enormous portion full of large crumbles of blue cheese, candied walnuts, and fresh cherry tomatoes. The greens were crisp not limp and all tossed with a tangy but sweet balsamic vinaigrette. The chili, almost meat free, was surprisingly hearty and well-spiced with large chunks of tomato and black beans. The spice was toned down a bit by the cilantro sour cream and white cheddar on top.Overall, the atmosphere was welcoming and pleasant. The cycling themed art on the walls definitely fit the upscale sports bar vibe. The server, while there when we needed him, was pleasantly aloof, not hovering around us constantly. I left full and wondering what