Comet Cafe - Slow, Local Food

One Sunday morning, I made plans to get out to brunch with some other foodies of Milwaukee. Lori and Paul of Burp! blog and I decided we wanted to check out a staple of Milwaukee's brunch culture, Comet Cafe.

Located on Farwell Avenue on Milwaukee's Eastside, Comet is a great neighborhood diner. When walking up to the door on the corner, you can see the hustle and bustle of the neighborhood. People are out walking, biking and driving around. When walking into the restaurant, the wrap-around counter and booths give the interior a warm and comfortable feeling—almost like you know the comfort food coming your way is going to be spectacular.

Andrew and I met Paul and Lori at Comet Cafe. We walked in and wrote our name on the waiting list (similar to Honeypie, since they are sister restaurants). Since waiting space is limited inside, we walked out and caught up while standing on the sidewalk. This seems to the be trend on nice weather days. We got to see other people coming and meeting friends there before walking in. It shows that Comet really is the hub of the neighborhood on Sunday mornings. After about 10 minutes, we were walked in and sat at a booth.

Looking over the menu, our server, Adam, came up and took our drink order. Paul, Lori and Andrew each ordered a bloody mary ($7), coffee ($2.25) and water. I also ordered water and coffee, but chose a Sconnie-mimosa ($7) instead. The bloody marys are made with vodka and a touch of Guiness. Served with a garnish of olive, mushroom and strip of bacon, this bloody was a hit at our table. The tiny Miller High Life as a chaser was good as well. My Sconnie-mosa is a take off of the traditional mimosa that I normally get. As a part of the orange juice and champagne, this drink also includes Door County cranberry wine. Served over ice in a pint glass, this drink is simply amazing. I made sure it lasted throughout the entire meal.

We ordered our food and waited some time for it to reach the table. As a disclaimer on the menu, the management reminds customers that the restaurant's mission "is to make good, basic food from scratch... Today we live our lives fast: we eat fast, and we're surronded by the same fast food—in every place, on ever highway, in every city. So [Comet] makes [it's] 'slow' good from the ground up!" They take a lot of care in making food for each customer by using fresh, seasonal ingredients characteristic of the Midwest. Even on their website, Comet Cafe wears the badge of "slow food" with pride. We all at the table agreed that the company and conversation kept the brunch moving along, but it does take some time for the food to come to the table.

Once we were served, our eyes were dazzled by all the food on the table. Lori ordered off the specials menu, the Vincent Price ($9). Seeing how the specials usually include the freshest, local ingredients, her plate looked delicious. It was an omelette filled with arugula, ham and gruyere cheese and topped off with a creamy beet sauce. Accompanying this masterpiece on the plate were a serving of hashbrowns and wheat toast. I was able to sneak one taste from Lori's plate, and it was so good. The earthiness of the beet sauce and arugula was complimented so nicely with the smokiness of the ham and creaminess of the cheese. I can see why it is a good thing to check out the specials menu before looking over the menu. This dish really took the restaurant's mission to heart!

Paul ordered the Comet benedict ($7.50) with a side of bacon ($2). This unique benedict takes a huge, fluffy biscuit and adds sausage and a poached egg, then smothers on gravy and sprinkles cheese. Although it was a unique combination of flavors, I am not sure why the dish is called a benedict. Since there is no Hollandaise sauce, what I would consider to the be signature ingredient of a benedict plate, this dish reminded more of a biscuits and gravy entree with a poached egg. Sadly, when the plate was delivered, Paul did not receive his side of bacon. Our server promptly went to the kitchen and came back to the table with a hot, fresh side of bacon. Once Paul did start eating his entree, he noticed that the plate was cold, like his plate was the first to be made for our table and had been sitting for some time. Other than that, it was a good option for him, he said. Next time he would go back to ordering off the specials menu.

Andrew did order the biscuits and gravy ($7.50). Warm and steaming, his plate looked delicious from where I was sitting. The giant chunks of sausage were noticeable in the gravy, which I like. The gravy was well-seasoned with a taste of pepper. The homemade biscuit sat on one side the plate, while the two over easy eggs were nestled up next to it. Adding hashbrowns (for an extra $1.50), this plate was a comfort food overload for Andrew.  He devoured the entire plate quickly, which told me how much he enjoyed the entree.

I decided to try the breakfast burrito ($8). This large burrito was stuffed full of goodness: scrambled eggs, cheese and salsa. Topped off with a ranchero sauce and sour cream this entree was filling. One thing to note about the ranchero sauce: it is not the same as salsa. Both are cooked sauces and both use similar ingredients, but they are not similar in taste. Salsa's feature a strong tomato taste, ranchero sauce has more onion flavor. Having this sauce on the plate stepped up the flavors offered and helped made the entree good. And even if you were still hungry after the mammoth burrito, it is served with a side of hashbrowns.

If you hunger for a brunch filled with comfort food, plan to spend a Sunday morning at Comet Cafe. For around $18.75 per person, this restaurant delivers slow, local food that will have you in a food coma at the end. And if you do check it out, you will be in good company: readers voted this place as having the "Best Brunch in Milwaukee 2010."  So, if you wake up on a Sunday morning and want some comfort food to fill you up for the reset of the day, get over to Comet Cafe!

Until next weekend, have a great week and happy brunching!

What have been your experiences at Comet Cafe? What are some other good entrees? Respond below in the comments!

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

Comet Cafe (***½)
1947 North Farwell Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53202

(414) 273-7677
Comet Cafe on Urbanspoon

Brunch hours:
Sunday: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Atmosphere: *** (pretty good)
Neighborhood diner where everyone comes to have brunch

Food: **** (very good)
The flavors were spot on. Big plus for having fresh, local ingrediens

Service: *** (pretty good)
Attentive, friendly and knowledgable, but of course, slow

Drinks: **** (very good)
Sconnie-mosa - **** (very good) Nice addition of the cranberry wine
Bloody Mary - **** (very good) Flavorful and nice amount of heat

Price: **** (very good)
For the amount of food, and almost slipping into a food coma, the price is worth it!