John Martin’s is a smart restaurant. The fine-dining spot in Door County, one of Wisconsin’s leading tourist destinations, could easily offer steak and seafood, and maybe some pasta, and do very well. Instead, it serves up an eclectic menu loaded with local flavor.
The appetizers include crab cakes and fried cheese curds from Renard’s, a famous local cheesemaker. One of the grilled flatbreads is prosciutto fig, rather daring for a small-town eatery. The signature salad is a mango fig, which comes with arugula, goat cheese, cherry tomatoes and toasted pecans. The entrees ($10-$26) include thyme-encrusted whitefish that’s caught locally and a Door County cherry BBQ meat loaf. There’s also some steak, chicken, pork, lamb and salmon. The restaurant features a full bar with a well-rounded, if small, beer and wine selection, which includes local favorites.
Even with great food, restaurants can fail if the service is lousy or ambience is lacking. John Martin’s scores on both counts. The service here is prompt and Midwestern-friendly, while the decor is sleek and handsome. The wood flooring and pressed-tin ceiling warm chic tan and black tones, making it a great spot for a date. Or a family night out. Unfortunately, the acoustics are so good it gets a bit noisy inside. But don’t let that stop you from heading over. You’ll be concentrating on your food anyway.