Kil@wat - A Luxurious Brunch Experience

Mother's Day is always a special weekend for my family and I. Since I am the only one that lives in the great city of Milwaukee, my family tries to travel here to visit. We have a great time exploring the many things this city has to offer: museums, tours, restaurants, etc. Mostly, it's fun for me to plan things and surprise my mom with experiences she cannot have living in the Northwoods. This Mother's Day the fine folks at Kil@wat in the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown helped me show my mom how special she is to my family.

After Sunday mass at the Cathedral, my parents and I made our way to the Intercontinental Hotel. Parking in the structure underneath the Milwaukee Center, we walked into the hotel from the Center's shared atrium with the Pabst and Rep theaters. Instantly walking into the lobby of the hotel, we felt that we were being wrapped in a warm, luxurious embrace. The dark wood walled hallways with accents of orange and green in the stripped carpet led to a waiting area with large, plush leather chairs and suede-covered walls. We took the elevator to the second floor and walked into Kil@wat. I had made reservations in advance, so as we walked in, we were immediately lead to our table by the kind hostess.

We were seated at a large booth next to a window that looked out over the intersection of Kilbourn Avenue and Water Street. Our server, Andrew, approached the table and set down a small plate of assorted pastries. He explained to us that they were offering the normal brunch menu along with a special three-course Mother's Day Brunch special ($32). He then took our drink order. My mom was offered a bottomless glass of sparkling wine, mimosa or bloody mary, which was offered to all moms dining at Kil@wat that morning. She chose to have a glass of sparkling wine ($7). I had my usual coffee, water and mimosa ($7), while my dad just enjoyed his coffee. Andrew came back and delivered our drinks and gave us an amuse bouche (not pictured) of house smoked trout, poached potato, and pickled radish. This delectable treat was a wake up to our palettes, preparing us for the wealth of flavors to come.

We looked over the menu and my mom and I decided to go with the special menu, while my dad chose from the regular brunch menu. For our first course, my mom chose the sunflower salad. This fresh sea of green and red was a bed of sunflower sprouts sprinkled with sunflower seeds. Adding a nice creamy and pungent flavor were bits of fresh goat cheese. To balance the cheese large pieces of strawberries were mixed in to the salad. The strawberry balsamic dressing helped mix all the flavors together and was the perfect addition.

My dad ordered the roasted red pepper and fennel soup ($6). This brightly colored soup was a hit at our table. The creamy, yet light soup was heavenly. There was a slight warmth and spice to the soup, but only at the end of tasting it. Filled with some bits of cheese, my dad asked if Andrew could get the recipe from the chef, so that he could try to recreate it at home. I have to admit, I only finished half of my salad, just so I could switch with my dad and enjoy this soup as much as he did.

I had ordered the organic local green salad as my first course. The various greens were drizzled with a dijon-verjus vinaigrette. There were also halves of red and green cherry tomatoes and hearty croutons. It was light and a great start to the meal, but I was eying up my dad's soup to finish for him.

Once our first courses were finished, we had some time to sit, talk and watch the comings and goings of the traffic and people on the street corners. It was a beautiful day, and we talked about all the fun things we had done the day before. 

For her main course, my mom had ordered the crab cake from the special menu. This large crab cake was made with real crabmeat that flaked off with ever bite. Always a fan of seafood, my mom was ecstatic. The avocado-coriander puree that was painted on the base of the plate was just enough to give a creamy element to each bite. The sweet corn relish was a refreshing addition to the plate. We tried to pinpoint the extra spice in the relish and decided it had to be mint (or something from that family), because it was cool and invigorating. My mom was thoroughly pleased with her choice of the crab cake, and later asked when the next time we were going back to that restaurant for more.

I had ordered the grilled hanger steak prepared rare. Served with black truffle scrambled eggs and potato hash, the steak was smothered with bearnaise and topped with sprouts. Each bite was a luxurious combination of earthy steak, fresh sprouts and creamy bearnaise. I gave a couple bites to my parents, but secretly I wanted to keep it all to myself. I finished the steak before moving on to my moist and fluffy eggs and hash browns. The eggs were full of flavor with the black truffles and needed no other seasoning. The potatoes were also prepared perfectly without any need for salt or pepper.

My dad ordered the hot smoked salmon hash ($12). This entree came out with all the ingredients nicely stacked upon each other. The base of roasted Yukon gold potatoes had the salmon and asparagus mixed together next. Topped with a poached egg and finished off with a dill hollandaise sauce, my dad chose rye toast from his choice of sides. My mom reminded me that my dad does not really care for salmon, to which he commented, "I am trying something new." He must have liked it, because while I still had a couple pieces of steak left, he was using a slice of rye bread to wipe up any reminisce from his plate. He said the egg was cooked perfectly, and the asparagus was sliced in such a way that made it easy to pick up with the fish and potato for a richly flavored bite each time.

My mom and I had the choice of our dessert to conclude our meal. She chose the crème brulee, while I had the dessert simply titled, "chocolate." Each was a decedent finish to the meal. My mom loves crème brulee, and it was even a treat to have it garnished with seasonal berried. My chocolate dessert was simply heavenly. The chocolate mouse was topped with chocolate gelato and with an amazing chocolate sauce on the plate. Each were amazing in their own way, and a very nice way to wrap up our dining experience.

If you are looking for an amazing, luxurious brunch locale to take that special someone or simply make someone feel extraordinary, then you must make your reservations for Kil@wat in the Intercontinental Hotel. For around $25 per person for a two-course brunch, Kil@wat has the entrees and service that will have you planning your next trip before you leave the table. Located in the Milwaukee Center, parking is available for a fee, however you can receive a discount by dining in the restaurant (simply speak with someone at the host stand). Also, I want to thank the staff at the restaurant for making my mom feel so welcomed and special during out visit. It was a pleasure my dad and I to see her so happy enjoying the special day.

Until next time, hope you have a great week and look forward to seeing you next weekend morning!

Full Disclosure:  Although we received our meals free of charge (many thanks to Tim Smith, General Manager and Stephan Fitz, Director of Food and Beverage), I was not paid to advertise for Kil@wat or the Intercontinental Hotel.  All opinions expressed in this blog entry are our own and are reflective of our experience.

What have been your experiences at Kil@wat? What are some other good entrees? Respond below in the comments!

All the details you want to know: (on a five star rating)

Kil@wat (*****)
139 East Kilbourn Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 291-4793
Kil@Wat on Urbanspoon

Brunch hours:
Saturday and Sunday: 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Atmosphere: ***** (awesome)
Modern and luxurious, warm lighting with rich woods, colors, fabrics and decor.

Food: ***** (awesome)
Excellent combinations of flavors, spices and textures

Service: ***** (awesome)
Friendly, honest, attentive and knowledgeable of menu items

Drinks: ***** (awesome)
Mimosa - ***** (awesome)
Bloody Mary - n/a (didn't try)

Price: ***** (awesome)
Around $25 a person, but well worth the price.