Full disclosure here: We visited Syrah with representatives from Wisconsin's state tourism office, and the chef opened the restaurant specifically for our group because we were in town on a Monday night and the dinner-only restaurant is typically closed on Mondays. That said, we have to believe that the quality of the dishes we tried that night at the ptich-perfect service likely is typical of what you'll find there year-round.
Syrah aims to showcase Wisconsin's farmers and meat producers, and does so beautifully from its small-plate appetizers to its inventive desserts. We tried quite a lot of food that night—a mushroom and blue cheese flatbread pizza ($13), a Thai flatbread pizza ($13), mixed-green salads studded with grape tomatoes, fresh sourdough rolls topped with butter we made at the table by shaking Mason jars. Entrees included an amazing a savory take on baklava made with eggplant ($23) and braised lamb osso bucco served with grilled zucchini ($28) and applewood bacon-smoked scallops ($26). For dessert, we tried a deconstructed banana bread topped with bias-sliced caramelized bananas and two kinds of creme brulee—one spiced with jalepeno. Everything, without exception, was excellent, the flavors creative but balanced and properly cooked.
You'll find about two-dozen bottles on the wine list from around the world; prices range from $25 to $68 a bottle. About a dozen of those are available by the glass, and patrons can try wine flights for $13 and Midwestern microbrews. In all, these feels like special-occasion dining in a relaxed atmosphere. It's one of the best meals we've had all year.