Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub
222 E. Erie St., (414) 727-9300. www.hinterlandbeer.com .Seats: 100.Cuisine: American.Specialties: andouille-encrusted Hawaiian opah with garlic-chive whipped potatoes and chive aïoli; wood-fire-grilled lamb loin with black beluga lentils, herb salad, butternut squash purée and tart cherry reduction; tempura Maine lobster-unagi sushi roll with pickled Jerusalem artichoke.Main courses: $26-$38.Chef: Kelly Qualley.Owner: Bill Tressler.
Maxie’s Southern Comfort
6732 W. Fairview Ave., (414) 292-3969. www.maxies.com/milwaukee .Seats: 175.Cuisine: Low Country Southern.Specialties: pan-roasted Carolina grouper with charred tomato-corn relish, maple-braised collard greens, hush puppies and red-wine sauce; chicken-fried chicken with tasso gravy; pulled pork plate, eastern North Carolina-style.Main courses: $12.95-$22.95.Chef: Joseph Muench.Owners: Dan Sidner and Chick Evans.
5921 W. Vliet St., (414) 479-0620. www.milwaukeefood.com/meritage .Seats: 65.Cuisine: contemporary American.Specialties: trout with shrimp and cornbread stuffing and roasted potato salad in sherry caper vinaigrette; duck two ways—pan-seared breast and Anaheim chile with braised duck and goat cheese with sweet-and-spicy mole sauce; portobello mushroom stuffed with tofu, spinach and vegan sausage wrapped in puff pastry on warm lentil salad.Main courses: $14-$20.Chef-owner: Jan Kelly.
249 N.Water St., (414) 431-1133. www.waterbuffalomilwaukee.com .Seats: 130.Cuisine: American comfort.Specialties: braised short ribs in burgundy demi-glace with roasted shallots; baked salmon stuffed with spinach and pancetta; sautéed sea scallops with snap peas over fettuccine with butter sauce.Main courses: $12-$25.Chef: Frank Ortlieb.Owners: Joe and Angie Sorge.