Water Buffalo

  • 4.33333 star rating
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4.3 rating over 3 reviews

414-431-1133

249 N Water St ( )

Milwaukee, WI 53202

Neighborhoods: Historic Third Ward

 
Description: Water Buffalo is a American, Casual dining, and Contemporary American restaurant where most Menuism users came for fun with friends, paid between $10 and $25, and tipped more than 18%.
Tags: American, OpenTable, Reservations, Casual dining, Contemporary American, Delivery, Takeout, and Good for groups
Stats:
  • 2 dishes entered by diners at Water Buffalo
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From OpenTable: 

Milwaukee's newest riverfront bar and restaurant in the heart of the historic third ward. Fantastic outdoor riverfront seating as well as a dynamic, highly designed space with a varied casual menu. Plenty of parking via daily valet service, very unusual for the 3rd Ward. This may be the most unique Riverfront restaurant and bar in Milwaukee. Great late night too.

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Reviews for Water Buffalo

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Gayot
Rating:
13 / 20
Price:
$$$$$

Editorial Review by Gayot »

Water Buffalo

3.0
  • 3.0 star rating
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1 Votes
 

I like this place well enough. Good location....

I like this place well enough. Good location. Nice patio on the river. Good food. Good service for the most part.

But I only seem to find myself here once per year, during Downtown Dining. That deal makes this place attractive. Otherwise it’s a bit overpriced and you may or may not get good service.

We started at the bar while waiting for a table. A bartender greeted us and asked for our order without providing drink menus. Considering how many specialty drinks and wines they have it was a bit of a surprise. So after we asked he returned with the list and left us to decide. At the bottom of the menu there was a line that noted All Day Sunday Happy Hour. Now that’s kinda cool. Not many places have a Sunday Happy Hour, much less run it all day. We found it odd that the bartender did not mention this and were disappointed when we asked what was included and he stumble through random offerings like white wine or red wine. Perhaps someone would like to share with him that just saying white wine does not suffice and further explanation is needed. But we managed to cajole enough out of him to order a $4 glass of sauvignon blanc and a $5 sangria. Both of which tasted well enough.

Thankfully we were seated right after that and our waitress was much more knowledgeable and capable.

Each year they tend to roll out the same menu for DD, so I was happy to see new offerings. My dining companion was cool with sharing so we order opposite meals and were able to sample the whole DD menu (minus the Quinoa burger, which failed at her previous visit).

Our appetizers were Louisiana Crab Cakes and Chicken Rolls of puff pastry. The rolls were packed with spicy chicken, chopped onions, poblano peppers blended with a cilantro dotted queso blanco. They were served on a plate with a dollop of avocado sour cream in the center. Considering the rolls contained queso they should have been served hot, not room temperature, which cause the cheese to congeal a bit. But overall the taste was good and the fresh avocado cream was bright and added good flavor as the rolls weren’t very well seasoned.

The crab cakes were thankfully more crab than filler and seasoned very well. They were served with what was listed as spicy remoulade. The menu should have said super duper spicy remoulade. A plentiful serving of seasoned julienne vegetables on the side, which was a nice touch.

On to the salad course which was comprised of a simple Greens Salad and a Kale Salad. The Greens Salad was a basic spring mix topped with grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, cucumber wedges, crumbled bacon and house made croutons, and it was served with a red wine vinaigrette. Basic, fine, simple, a middle of the road salad.

The Kale Caesar was just that. Vibrant green smallish pieces of kale coated with a classic caesar. The dressing was pretty heavy and I could be easily swayed to believe this came from a bottle. I only had a few bites and they were fine. Nearly unmemorable, but fine.

The entrees were a bit better than the salads. The Shrimp Tacos was two flour tortillas with red cabbage, radish, cilantro and lime, topped with cajun remoulade and 4 medium shrimp on each. There was absolutely no seasoning on the cabbage or radish except the cilantro (and lime if you choose to squeeze) and the shrimp were stark naked. I don’t know that I’ve ever had shrimp quite this bland before. Even slathering the remoulade on them could not mask the fact that they were not seasoned before cooking.

The Smoked Turkey Brie sandwich was runner up to the crab cakes for best dish. An imported (but the menu didn’t say from where) Brie, baby spinach, well caramelized onions and raspberry preserves (which didn’t taste bright enough to be home made) were served on a poppy seed focaccia. The menu did say the bread was house made and that’s impressive because this was a good one. It’s very easy to over bake this type of bread and there’s was still moist and fluffy. The preserves had a good depth with hints of citrus to their flavor. And the caramelized onions were done perfectly and not too greasy, which sadly happens in a lot of restaurants.

So the visit was a bit of a roller coaster ride, with some long straightaways in the salad course. But overall at $12.50 per three course pairing it was a good value. But I don’t know that it had enough flavor to bring me back there before next year’s DD.

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Water Buffalo

4.0
  • 4.0 star rating
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Good food with great outdoor seating

Water Buffalo has good food at reasonable prices. Even better is their outdoor seating on the river. It’s great for a nice evening on a sunny day or hanging out on a sunday afternoon. The atmosphere is very trendy both inside and out. It’s a great place for a casual dining experience or a romatic dinner date.

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Water Buffalo

4.0
  • 4.0 star rating
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Stylish & casual, decent food

Food: The menu is contemporary American, with with a sufficient selection of meat, seafood, vegetarian, and even gluten free. The open-faced lobster ravioli ($18) was very tasty, and the mascarpone tomato cream sauce was well balanced and flavorful without stealing the show from the lobster. On another occasion, I tried the salmon burger ($9.50) which was less impressive. While the portions were generous, the burger was bland and neither the mango & cucumber chutney nor the chili verde came through. Even having a different sauce on the side couldn’t revive the salmon burger.

Setting: Water Buffalo is located on the river front. The outside patio seating overlooking the river is fantastic during the warmer months. Some inside seats also have a nice view as well, others not so much. The interior is stylish yet casual, and would be suitable for a night out with friends or for casual date.

Service: Reservations are highly recommended for evening dining. Otherwise, expect to wait for seating. Seating for lunch was not a problem, although the table we got was not choice seating. When I told my waitress that my food was bland, she was very helpful and tried to remedy the situation by bringing me different sauces to try with my food. Unfortunately it didn’t make the food much better, but I appreciated the service.

Dishes I tried:

Salmon Burger

  • 3.0 star rating
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It wasn’t bad per se, but I found it to be really bland and boring. The menu suggested bold flavors from the chili verde and chutney, but none of it, not even the salmon, really came through.

Open-faced lobster ravioli

  • 4.0 star rating
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I really enjoyed this dish. My only critique is that I wished for more flavor variation on the plate.

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