Rare Steakhouse goes to Washington

By Michel Muckian, Contributing writer

Title this one “Mr. and Mrs. Sosnowski go to Washington,” as this summer the nation’s capital will host the newest Rare Steakhouse.

Jack and Julie Sosnowski were deep into the Madison restaurant scene in 2014, when they opened their first Rare Steakhouse on Capitol Square at 14 W. Mifflin St. The elegant interior and outstanding steaks and seafood set a new standard for Madison fine dining.

The pair already owned the Ivory Room Piano Bar, the Capital Tap Haus and the Buck & Badger Northwoods Lodge, all operating under the Noble Chef Hospitality Group. Their latest Madison restaurant, the Freiburg Gastropub, opened in 2015 on Monroe Street near Camp Randall Stadium, a move that took them out of the two-block Capitol Square radius.

But Noble Chef had its sights set on bigger things, including the Rare Steakhouse that opened last year at 833 E. Michigan St., Milwaukee. According to reports, the Sosnowskis went east to take part in the renaissance underway in downtown Cream City.

Apparently, the pair liked the trajectory.

The latest Rare Steakhouse is scheduled to open at 1595 I St., Washington, D.C. “We’re excited to be part of that iconic neighborhood and just blocks away from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.,” the restaurant’s website says.

The little brewpub that could … and did

This year’s Madison Craft Beer Week — set for April 28–May 7 — holds special meaning for brewer Jim Goronson, owner of the Parched Eagle Brew Pub in the town of Westport on Lake Mendota’s north shore.

In early May, he is moving his enterprise to one of Madison’s fastest-developing commercial areas. The brewer is opening the Parched Eagle Taproom at 1444 E. Washington Ave., a half block from the Yahara River.

The new location is designed to give Goronson greater visibility in the city’s craft beer community.

In addition to being very small, the existing location is in a strip mall on Highway M that is hard to spot and even more difficult to reach. The new facility will expand Parched Eagle’s footprint and introduce more city residents to Goronson’s creative beers.

Goronson’s more popular beers will continue to be produced by House of Brews, a contract brewer on Madison’s far east side. The brewer’s one-barrel brewhouse at the Westport location will continue to produce experimental brews and beer will still be poured there.

Parched Eagle offers five regular brands, including Hop-Bearer American IPA, a robust porter called Janethan, and Verily, a Belgian Trappist dubbel.

Meatless meatballs? That’s just nuts!

Any enterprise that incorporates “Wow” into its name creates immediate suspicion. In the case of Wow Meatless Meatballs, however, the moniker may be warranted.

Produced in Milwaukee by Peggy Hallett and family friend Zak Ulsberger, the balls are composed of oats, walnuts, eggs, cheese and assorted other good things. The pair advertises their balls as soy- and gluten-free with reduced sodium content.

“My sister’s family are vegetarian and they loved the balls,” Hallet says. “It’s her ‘vegetarian approval’ on the package.”

Hallett and Ulsberger produce the balls in the commercial kitchen of Milwaukee’s The Simple Soyman. The pair hand-roll 1,800 balls per batch and package them 15 per bag — or whatever amount adds up to 9 ounces.

I tasted the product at a health and fitness fair at Metcalfe’s Market near West Towne Mall on Madison’s west side. The balls, smaller than Ping-Pong balls and in this case dressed in barbecue sauce, were firm and nutty tasting, with a mouthfeel similar to that of other well-packed meatballs. For my money, they could serve as a good meatball substitute for our vegetarian friends.

Currently, the only places to buy Wow Meatless Meatballs are the Metcalfe locations at West Towne and Hilldale malls in Madison and the Metcalfe’s store in Wauwatosa at 6700 W. State St. Hallet says she’d like to expand the enterprise, but needs to keep costs down while in startup mode.