Moct - Why Wait for a Plate?

Unfortunately since May 29, The Moct is no longer serving brunch. This saddens me, because I really think that had one of the best locations and atmospheres in the city. Not to mention the price for an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet. I will keep my eyes peeled if they resume this Sunday morning meal.

On a crisp, Sunday morning, I was looking over the Facebook Fan page for Milwaukee Brunch Reviews, and a video had been posted to the wall. I watched it, and it was the chef at Moct talking a little about the brunch that was being offered with the catchy tagline, "Why wait for a plate?" I had not known that this popular Walkers Point club offered food, so I was on a mission to check out this new brunch.

Located on East Pittsburgh street on the opposite side of the Milwaukee River from MIAD, Moct (pronounced Most) is Serbian for bridge. And this club takes the trendiness of the Third Ward and brings it to this old warehouse. The bar that separates the space between public and private dining is a huge wall of light. The steel bars that accent the wall are reminiscent of the Hoan bridge just down the river. The four large garage doors open up and let in an amazing amount of light and fresh air into the space. Nicely decorated, this bar/club/restaurant has a nice rotation of area DJs for Friday and Saturday night excitement, but I wanted to know how they would wrap up the weekend with their Sunday brunch.

Out with me this morning were Andrew and our friend, Tony. Before we left, I showed them the video on YouTube I had seen earlier in the day. We then headed down to check it out for ourselves.

We walked into Moct through on the open garage doors and found out way to the host area where we waited for a table. Katie, our server, walked us over to a table under a huge skylight in the front of the space. She handed us menus and let us know about the brunch buffet that was set up. For all-you-can-eat, this $12 buffet had a nice spread along with a made-to-order omlette and waffle station.

We ordered our drinks and left the table to check out the buffet. We all ordered coffee ($2) and water to start off with. Andrew ordered a bloody mary ($5). The drink came with a small chaser of tap beer and was garnished with two olives and two cheese curds. I said it looked like the bloody was looking back at me like the stack of cash from a Gieco commercial. Andrew said the drink was good, but had a strong taste of pickle to it. Overall though, it was good for the price. Tony and I ordered a mimosa ($7). The drink was ok. I thought it was a little sour and could have used some triple sec or something else to make it a bit sweeter. Tony thought the same, and we agreed it was just ok.

Heading over to the buffet, we began to survey what was in store. My first plate I decided to try a variety of items. First up were some mini crab cakes and a deviled egg. These bite-sized items were great to start with. They crab cakes were done nicely where they were still warm and cripsy. They even had a couple of stripes of the sauce on top of them, so I was guaranteed to have a nice combination of flavors with each bite. The deviled egg was also a little different for brunch, but was very good. For the entree, I had a serving of Santa Fe eggs, cheesy hash browns and bacon. The Santa Fe eggs were awesome. The scrambled eggs had so much flavor by themselves, but adding in the cheese, salsa and ground beef, the flavors were impeccable. Also, since they were served in a large quantity, the seasoning and texture of the food stayed in tact. Always a hard thing to do for a buffet. The cheesy hash browns were something out of my childhood. These thin strips of potatoes were coated in cheese and then topped with crumpled potato chips. The richness of the cheese and the crunchiness of the chips made these hash browns outstanding. Also to note was the bacon. Rather than sitting in a pool of grease in the tray, it sat on a small rack, elevated to stay cripsy longer. Nice work.

Andrew and Tony both had similar dishes the first time around. Also, when I had Andrew try the cheesy hash browns from me, he helped himself to a generous helping of them with his next trip.

For my second plate, I wanted to check out their made-to-order omelette station. Walking up to this area, I was greeted by the chef from the video, Chef Jeremy Hoch. He greeted me and asked me what I wanted in my omelette. Seeing the spread in front of me, I asked for ham, mushrooms and cheddar cheese. I then stood back and waited. Chef Jeremy told me that I did not need to wait. I could sit down back at my table and someone would bring my omelette to me. How awesome is that?! In walking back to the table, I grabbed a small plate of watermelon, melon and pineapple to snack upon. Soon thereafer, Chef Jeremy delivered my omelette to the table. The fluffy eggs were just as good as those in the Santa Fe eggs. The omelette was good. The ingredients were nicely chopped so that every bite, I had just enough of each flavor.

While I got an omelette, Tony decided to get a waffle. While I enjoyed my egg entree, I was secretly watching Tony enjoy his waffle. So for my third round up at the buffet, I had to get one. The chef once again took my order and delivered my creation to me at the table. My chocolate chip, strawberry waffle with chocolate sauce was a great way to end my brunch experience at Moct. I do not think it lasted more than two minutes on the plate. The fluffy, sweet waffle was nicely cooked and loaded with strawberries and sauce. With some help from Andrew, the waffle was history.

If you are looking for a brunch buffet done right, you need to check out Moct in Walker's Point. The atmosphere is modern and urban that fits nicely with the historic building. The food is great for a buffet: easy to serve and kept fresh. My only thought is for their to be name plates on each of the trays, so people know what is under the lid. I highly recommend getting over to Moct to check out their amazing Sunday brunch buffet, just note that street parking is the only option. Plus, for $12 per person, "why wait for a plate?"

What have been your experiences at Moct? Have you been there for any of their other meals? Respond below in the comments!

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

Moct (****½)
240 East Pittsburgh Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53204

(414) 273-MOCT
Moct/Novo on Urbanspoon

Brunch hours:
Sunday: 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Atmosphere: ***** (awesome)
Amazing mix of modern and historic. The open space and garage doors let in so much light and fresh air.

Food: ***** (awesome)
Awesome flavors and entrees for a buffet. Loved the made-to-order station and having it delivered out to the table. A very nice touch. Only wish there were name tags on what was at the buffet.

Service: ***** (awesome)
Attentive, friendly and knowledgable

Drinks: ***½ (pretty good)
Mimosa - *** (pretty good) I only wish it was sweeter.
Bloody Mary - **** (very good) The pickle taste was a bit different.

Price: ***** (awesome)
I mean for $12 a plate, how could you go wrong?

How Much to Tip on a Buffet?

Good Friday Morning, and Congratulations! We have all made it through another work week, and the weekend is upon us. Autumn is definitely in the air now in Southern Wisconsin, and the leaves are starting to fall. These are the weekends that I love to get outside, pick some apples, rake the leaves and decorate for the upcoming Holidays.

Speaking of holidays, my holiday budget is going to be full swing too! Travel, gifts, parties and regular expenses all seem to hit me at once around this time of year. And Stephen from Your Milwaukee Dining had a good suggestion for a Friday Question this week.

On to this Friday's Question: How much do you tip on a buffet brunch? Still 15-20% even though there is no dedicated server for your table?

This has always been a struggle of mine, and I usually just default to my typical 20%. While a server doesn't bring the dishes out to the table, they usually have more tables to serve, refresh drinks and clear away plates.

So let us know how much you would normally tip in the comments below.  Until Monday, enjoying the weekend and happy brunching!
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Blackthorn Pub - A Sunday Funday

I look forward to Sunday mornings each week. In my opinion it's the best day of the week, because I am able to go out, enjoy myself, and then come back home to relax for the rest of the day. Brunch is constantly on my mind from Friday afternoon until I wake up on Sunday morning. Lately, since I have been to so many different places around the city, I find myself looking for new places to visit to do reviews. This is what happened one recent Sunday morning.

Having so many new places to check out around the city, I made up a short list of restaurants that I thought would be a good spot for me and some friends to check out for brunch. Blackthorn Pub was top of the list, since I really love Irish Pubs. Since opening in May of this year, I have not heard much about the pub, but they approached me on Twitter and asked me to come and visit them one Sunday morning. I thought this would be fun to check out another completely new place.

Arriving downtown, I pulled up to the corners of Mason and Jefferson and found an open parking spot. Blackthorn Pub sits on the corner opposite of George Watt's Tea Shop and the Pfister Hotel. The entire corner of the building is windows that look into the dark, rich wood interior. There are TVs on almost every wall surrounding the large bar, and on my visit, the Packers game was on them. Looking around, there weren't that many people in the restaurant, but then again, they did just start offering brunch.

Out with me for brunch on this occasion was Andrew and my friends Tony and Nicole. We were quickly seated once we arrived and took a moment to look around. There was something that just didn't seem right. Showing on the TV was the Packers game, but the sound coming out of the speakers was a shark show on a different channel. This apparently took some time to fix, although it was funny to hear seagulls and waves crashing while we were watching the teams go head-to-head at Lambeau.

Our server came to our table and took our drink order. Andrew and Nicole ordered the bloody mary ($5), while Tony and I chose the mimosas. We ordered coffees and water for the whole table as well. Our server came back after a couple of minutes to tell Tony and I the bar did not have champagne to make the mimosas. We decided to order screwdrivers (orange juice and vodka) with a splash of Sprite ($6) instead. Within a couple minutes, our server came back to the table and served Andrew and Nicole their bloody marys. Andrew thought they were good, but a little spicy for his tastes. Nicole thought they were good and spicy enough for her. The drinks were served with a nugget of cheese, beef stick, olive, pickle and lemon wedge. The drinks did look good and were served in branded "Blackthorn" glasses. Tony and my screwdrivers came to the table a couple of minutes later with our waters as well. No waters for Andrew and Nicole. They had to ask for them again.

Normally, I try to take the photos with all the drinks in them. However, this time, the coffee was not coming out to the table in enough time. So I took the photo above without the coffee. Actually there was coffee that was served (two at a time), but the glasses were covered in drips and were obviously not washed before being filled and brought to the table. We kindly asked for new coffee cups. Once coffee did come back out to the table, we had been at the table for almost 30 minutes and had already ordered our food. Once coffee was brought to the table, Tony asked for some cream and sugar, Splenda preferably. Our server brought out what appeared to be a soup cup filled with milk and some sugar and Equal. Tony wondered, was he supposed to pour the milk into his cup? Instead, we all just spooned milk into our coffee. At this point, our brunch became comical: wrong sound for the football game, drinks being delivered two at a time with long pauses in the middle, dirty coffee cups and now milk in a soup cup.

But that was only the beginning. Our food started to come to the table after about a 45 minute wait. I had ordered the Blackthorn Plate ($9). The dish is described to be an egg, hash browns, corned beef hash, toast with a choice of sausage or bacon. I decided to try the sausage. What was presented to me was a mish-mash of different items thrown on the plate. The corned beef was burnt and over cooked, and it was sitting next to cold hash browns. The egg was cooked over hard, as I had asked, but it was broken up in pieces and falling off the plate. There was no sausage on the plate. That item must had been completely forgotten. I had a couple of bites of it, however at this point of the dining experience, I was not pleased.

Andrew had ordered the Classic Benny ($7).  He had the choice of the corned beef hash, bacon or sausage for a side and chose the hash. His plating was even more ridiculous. Rather than cramming all the items on one plate as the kitchen had done with my food, Andrew's food was divided onto two separate dishes. Once he tried the Benedict it was cold, and the has was over cooked and burnt for him as well.

Since Andrew and I had been served first, we waited for Tony and Nicole's food to come to the table. This wait took almost five minutes. We could also see our server standing at the other side of the bar standing with the other staff chatting while we waited.

By the time Tony and Nicole's food came to the table, I did not have a chance to take a photo. They dove into their food—which was served 50 minutes after we had walked in the door.

Nicole had ordered the "Omlette Built by You" ($8). She chose to have sausage, mushroom and cheddar omlette with a side of hash browns and toast. However, once she started to eat, she noticed that there was no sausage in her omlette and the mushrooms were not cooked. Rather than wait longer for a new one, she said something to our server and just ate what was in front of her. She also had to ask for her toast to be delivered to the table.

Tony chose the Thorn Cakes ($6) with a side of bacon. Once his food arrived, there was no maple syrup, butter—just a plate with three plain pancakes on it (the menu said four) and a side of cold bacon. Tony asked for the bacon to go back, heated up and asked for syrup and butter. What finally showed up to the table was a small plastic cup of maple syrup and chunks of cold butter. That bacon never did make it back to the table.

In the meantime, none of our drinks had been refilled or refreshed. We were all low on one drink or another, and so we flagged down the hostess as she was walking around. We explained about our dining experience and asked for more drinks. Our server came back to the table and re-took our drink order. Andrew asked for another bloody mary along as did Nicole, however Andrew wanted his not so spicy. We all wanted warm-ups on our coffee.

Our server came back to the table with two bloody marys—both of which had no spice. Nicole was not happy at this point, since her bloody was one of the redeeming point of the morning for her.

The owner came over to our table as we neared the end of our meal and told us that the food and coffee was on him. We only were asked to pay for our drinks. He did present us with a gift certificate and asked us to come back. The gift certificate was for $15—half the dollar amount of what we ordered. We kindly asked for the check and waited for our server.

She handed us our bill and we were shocked. The ticket had Tony's pancakes on it and $8 bloody marys, not $5. The total was $56. We flagged down our server to come and check on the prices and items on the bill. Once she returned, our total bill was $35. We settled up the bill and headed home.

I understand that every restaurant has off days, and sometimes minor errors can be overlooked. However, this dining experience was a "perfect storm" of problems. From cold food to dirty cups—inconsistent service to missing food items, this was probably one of the worst brunches I have ever had. The one glimmer of hope: we only had to pay for what we enjoyed, the bloodys and screwdrivers. Without them, the whole experience would have been lost.

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

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

Blackthorn Pub (*)
750 North Jefferson Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 837-5511
Blackthorn Pub on Urbanspoon

Brunch hours:
Sunday: 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Atmosphere: * (poor)
So bright with all the windows to have such a dark wooded interior. Also, the TVs were too loud with the wrong audio from what was on the screen.

Food: * (poor)
Cold, missing items, burnt, inconsistent

Service: * (poor)
Slow to serve food and drinks, did not pay attention to drinks or presentation of food

Drinks: * (poor)
Mimosa - no champagne (*)
Bloody Mary - good, but not made consistently (*)

Price: n/a
Did not pay for a brunch, just a Sunday Funday of booze and with some sort of food.

Coffee - How much is too much to pay?

Happy Friday morning! We have all made it through another work week, and the weekend will be here before we know it. Personally, I am really looking forward to weekends in October. They are always filled with fun times like apple picking at the Elegant Farmer, picking pumpkins from a roadside stand, Halloween parties and haunted houses. The best part is that you can really start to smell fall in the air. This month goes by quick (for me at least) so make sure you get out there and enjoy it before the snow falls.

On to the topic at hand: coffee. If God did not make coffee for us to enjoy, I would never be able to wake up. On Twitter this week, I saw one person put it best calling coffee, "day booze." It got me thinking about how much we pay for coffee.

Now I am not talking about specialty coffee drinks from Starbucks, Caribou, Stone Creek or Alterra (although the last one is my favorite). I am talking about the normal cup of joe that I usually have next to my mimosa and water on Sunday morning. Looking back over these past eight months, coffee prices vary from restaurant to restaurant.

On to this Friday's question: How much is too much to pay for a cup of coffee?

You can go to George Webb and get it for 99¢ or you can pay upwards of $2.99 for the same size cup. So, how much do you spend on a cup? Or does price even matter?

Let us know what your price point is in the comments below.

Have a great day and have an even better brunch this weekend!
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