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“Outstanding AND a very good value!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sanford Restaurant

Sanford Restaurant
1547 N Jackson St, Milwaukee, WI 53202-2001 (Lower East Side)
414-276-9608
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Ranked #1 of 1,410 Restaurants in Milwaukee
Price range: $31 - $40
Cuisines: American, Eclectic, International
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Doing business, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Neighborhood: Lower East Side
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
36 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
“Outstanding AND a very good value!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2014

My wife and I returned to Sanford after a several year sabbatical. We had been once or twice yearly customers of the restaurant since it opened in the late ‘80’s but with all of the new fine dining options that have popped up in the Milwaukee area over the last several decades, it sort of fell by the wayside for a few years. But we were pleased to see nothing has really changed, which is a good thing. The interior of the restaurant is still charming, subdued and intimate. Since it seats only about 50 people, the tables are close but not too close to interfere with the dining experience. Service, as in the past, was impeccable, starting with the valet to the maitre ‘D and finally the servers and serving assistants. The servers and their assistants are not obtrusive but appear just when needed to take your order, refill water glasses, replace bread sticks or to clear dishes.

We started the evening with a straight up Martini which was served in a properly refrigerator/freezer “chilled” glass, which I consider an absolute must for a straight up martini, especially in a fine dining restaurant. We both requested stuffed bleu cheese olives, which Sanford does not store so our server prepared them himself. What a nice touch. I would just suggest they eliminate the long pick for the olives since a smaller pick would not interfere with drinking it.

We both started with the priciest appetizer on the menu, which was the “Molasses Glazed Quail and Cold Cured Foie Gras*with Black Olive Jam and Grilled Ramps, Burnt Orange Vinaigrette” which we both thought was fabulous. We are huge foie gras fans and this preparation was really complimented by the baby quail and the black olive jam.

My wife selected the “Fennel Dusted Beef Tenderloin* with Yukon Puree, Escarole and Parmesan, Truffle Vinaigrette”. It was served perfectly medium-rare as ordered and the presentation would look great on the cover of any food magazine.

Since I love Elk and Sanford is one of the few places you can consistently find it on the menu, I ordered the “Chargrilled Loin and Sausage of Elk with Maple Polenta, Grilled Romaine and Roasted Mushroom, Cherry reduction”. It was also served at the requested medium-rare and was a great entrée. We were served with a hot dinner roll with out entrees which as also excellent and we resisted the temptation to ask for a second.

For dessert, we elected to split the “Bittersweet “Intentional” Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate Tart with Coffee Ice Cream” which was a delicious dessert and put the cap on an excellent meal.

I consider the prices at Sanford to be quite reasonable. Like any restaurant, you can load up your tab by going nuts with high end wines, ect. but you can have a great dining experience at a reasonable price by concentrating on the food. A lot of people consider most top end “fine dining” restaurants “splurge” meals where they are willing to over-pay for the occasional experience of a great chef preparing great food and served by great servers. In my view, Sanford is the exception. It’s rare to dine at a top fine dining and for many “special occasion” restaurants where you can walk out the door, look back and consider it a very good value. Sanford is not cheap but it’s also not overpriced for what you get. We will be back in the very near future during the week to try the “surprise tasking menu”.

  • Visited May 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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171 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    148
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Copenhagen
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Outstanding dining experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2014

We went for a business dinner at the Sanford restaurant in MKE. Excellent service, atmosphere and overall dining experience. Cosy little boutique restaurant. We enjoyed the 8 course surprise menu, overall very enjoyable with some positive surprises. I will wholeheartedly recommend this little pearl of a restaurant.

  • Visited May 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milwaukee
Top Contributor
230 reviews 230 reviews
160 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 82 cities Reviews in 82 cities
152 helpful votes 152 helpful votes
“One year later, still superlative!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2014

After last year's outstanding meal, we decided to go back for our anniversary. We had another spectacular meal.
We arrived on time and our table was waiting. Our waiter was the same fine gentleman we had last year. We started with some cava, and enjoyed a small smoked trout amuse-bouche. We ordered the basil flan with mushrooms and duck tongue, as well as the roasted squash soup. For the main course, my wife had the grilled wild Alaska halibut with black olive dumplings, and I had the rabbit loin. We shared a bottle of Alsace, recommended by our waiter, which was moderately priced and quite delicious. The wines by the glass are somewhat limited, so you may prefer to share a bottle instead. There are nice choices available in a wide range of prices (unlike many high-end restaurants).
The new owner/chef, Justin Aprahamian, is gradually making the menu over to reflect his approach and tastes. He's keeping the best of the prior menu, and adding things (like rabbit) that would never have been served by Sandy d'Amato.
We finished up with a gratin of fruits and cappuccino, completely satisfied by an evening filled with food, drink, and conversation. We may have to come back for another round next year!

  • Visited April 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
“Outstanding”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2014

Amazing dining experience. From the hostess to the wait staff all spot on. Dinner of 5 was very good. The Elk,veal,halibut and tenderloin were all cooked to perfection. Desserts were great too. Expensive yes but well worth it. Great for a special occasion.

  • Visited April 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
49 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
“Easily Worth a Michelin Star -- Possibly Two”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2014

If you think Milwaukee is nothing but beer and brats, then you have to try this restaurant. Food is fresh and imaginative without being over the top. Service is impeccable. Wine list is extensive and well organized. Figure $100/person when all is said and done. But it is one of the best meals I have had in ages. Nothing I could have made myself.

  • Visited April 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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