Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Red Ox

My husband and I were going to see a show at the PAC and asked a co-worker for a restaurant recommendation, as we wanted to try a new place. Knowing my husband, I specifically asked for a steak joint. Immediately, my co-worker recommended The Red Ox—besides their steaks, they were known for their hand-crafted cocktails. Online reviews and FourSquare comments endorsed this. Lots of the comments raved about the old fashioneds at The Red Ox. I was getting excited! I made my dinner reservation and we arrived 30 minutes early, so I could make sure I had the time to review this highly recommended drink.

Upon entering The Red Ox, I was overwhelmed by the typical Wisconsin supper club feel. This is a bonus, as good supper clubs tend to be found in the boonies, not in the middle of a city. The long, wavy bar was manned by three older, wiser gentlemen. My husband and I checked into our reservations, then bellied up to the bar. I ordered the brandy old fashioned sour and was asked what garnish I wanted. My choices were olives, cherries or mushrooms. I chose olives and the kind bartender began to make the drink right in front of me. He grabbed a high ball and added 2 dashes of loose sugar, three dashes of bitter, a slice of lemon and a squirt of soda. He then muddled the components. He then added ice and a long pour of Kesslers. He finished the drink off with soda and the olives.

My first sips were wonderful. The aroma of the bitters/lemon mixture consumed me. It was heaven. The cocktail was light and well crafted. It was smooth and was quickly imbibed. Even the olives were high quality. As I looked around, I noticed that a large portion of the bar, maybe 75%, was drinking old fashioneds! I overheard all types being ordered—brandy, whiskey, southern comfort, sour and sweet. The drink was a testimony to that reason. I was impressed that the bar didn’t even offer a lower quality brandy, Kesslers was their “rail”. I believe I spotted Korbel behind the bar, but I cannot confirm that. The bloodies looked delicious as well, as they came with hot sticks! The drink was so good (and our wait wasn’t even long), I had to order another one. This one was even better than the first! This bartender was heavy-handed on the bitters and the brandy—my two favorite components! Each drink was $4.50 and very much worth the price for the quality of ingredients, quantity of liquor and the muddled delivery.

For reference, I very much enjoyed our meal as well. The prices were fair, but not great. My husband’s steak was not cooked to his liking (under-done) and so was another tables. With that, dine with caution, but have no fear consuming the old fashioneds!

Rating (out of 5)

The Red Ox 
2318 S Oneida St 

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