Midwest Living Review
Operating out of its Cathedral Square location for 20-some years, Elsa's is known to the downtown crowd. The restaurant gets its name from Elsa Kopp, original proprietor of Kopp's Custard in Milwaukee, which may explain why the first page of the menu is a listing of desserts! Burgers are big, grilled ground sirloin served on Italian rolls, ranging in price from $9 to $13.50. They're on the gourmet side, with toppings such as peppercorns and burgundy sauce, white wine and feta cheese, etc. Other menu items are gourmet sandwiches: pork chop calabrese for $11.50 and Truck Garden for $7.25, for example. Elsa's decor is sleek and artsy: white and black mostly, with high ceilings, Greek pillars and rotating art exhibits on the otherwise bare walls. There's a business crowd at lunch and right after work, with a more casual but fashionable crowd later in the evening. Unfortunately, the burgers, while promising on the menu, are not a good value for the price. Ours were just slightly above room temperature and not juicy at all. One was served sans the requested toppings, and the sides, which are nonnegotiable, were rather below average (limp waffle fries and tired-looking fruits and veggies). On the plus side, the toppings are excellent, especially the Nueske's bacon, and the buns are high quality -- light, crispy Italian rolls. It's a nice place for drinks and atmosphere, but we'll take a pass on the burgers.