Some may find it hard to believe that inexpensive fine dining really exists. Wauwatosa’s Il Mito (“the myth” in English) works hard to erase this myth by providing affordable gourmet meals and upscale service.
My guest and I promptly ordered appetizers, though it was hard to narrow them down to just two. We ordered the risotto cakes ($9) with seasoned veggies and asked the waiter to choose a second. While waiting for the appetizers, we dipped table bread into the thick side sauce, which was packed with a fresh herb flavor. We were pleasantly surprised by our waiter’s appetizer choice of stuffed portobello mushrooms ($8) marinated in Il Mito’s house red sauce, which carried a bold, meaty flavor. The risotto cakes melted in my mouth with every bite, but I found them to be quite bland.
For the main course, we ordered one of the chef’s specials – African sea bass ($20) along with a mozzarella salad ($9). The salad had a sweet balsamic vinaigrette dressing that complemented the spicy bite of arugula perfectly.
The sea bass was served with a decadent roasted leek, dill and crab sauce with grilled asparagus and mashed potatoes. As my mother’s mashed potatoes are dearest to my heart, I could say that without a doubt Il Mito’s fell short. Their mashed potatoes, though at a perfect temperature, tasted stale. Instead of the usual fluffy texture, they were chewy and hard.
The mashed potatoes aside, the fish and salad impressed me enough that I decided to order crème brulée ($6.50) for dessert. The brulée was rich and smooth, and my guest could not help but immediately dive in while I captured a picture. With fresh strawberries sitting atop a perfect glaze of caramelized sugar, it was everything a classic crème brulee should be.
The service staff was very attentive and never left us in need of anything. However, the servers could have been more personable — a quality I definitely prefer when dining out. Nonetheless, I have no doubt I will revisit Il Mito time and time again.