Dish of the Month: Comfort Zone
Milwaukee’s Lifestyle Magazine
“The place is designed to feel like you came to our house for dinner,” says Jason Tofte, co-owner with his wife, Cristina, of Tofte’s Table in downtown Waukesha. A mix of Mason jars, crystal wine glasses and antique serving utensils plus the pair’s regular table visits to chat with guests lend a relaxed atmosphere to the elegant space painted deep purple.
Before opening their own restaurant, Jason worked as a chef for almost 20 years at Eddie Martini’s, and Cristina managed Sanford and Coquette Café. Theirs too is a fine-dining establishment, and refined comfort food staples like fried chicken drumsticks and meatloaf with Yukon mash share the menu with octopus and braised pork belly for more adventurous diners.
2017 Top 10 Rated Restaurants in Waukesha
WAUKESHA, WI — Ever wonder where to go for a good bite to eat? Who has the best American fare? What about the best Mexican food?
Websites like Yelp! have empowered the everyday diner to become their local neighborhood’s food critic, offering helpful insight to others.
Ever wondered if a restaurant is good or bad? Yelp! can be a good indicator of whether that restaurant is worth your time or money.
Tofte’s Table provides unique dining experience in downtown Waukesha
When restaurant veterans hone skills through various experiences to the point that they can be inventive on their own, patrons are treated to a unique experience.
That’s the case at Tofte’s Table, established in August 2016 in the former site of Waukesha’s Key Westconsin, 331 Riverfront Plaza. Owners Jason and Cristina Tofte, also proprietors of nearby The Steaming Cup, have created a place where comfort food and inventive dishes intersect in a setting that combines a cool, sleek environment with an emphasis on communal dining.
A long-time steakhouse chef trades in fine dining for laid-back, something-for-everyone shareable plates.
When Jason Tofte helmed the kitchen of Eddie Martini’s, he suited up in a white chef’s coat, cooked on the line and rarely ventured out to chat with patrons. That changed when the 18-year Tosa steakhouse vet left to run Waukesha’s The Steaming Cup with his wife, Cristina. The Cup came with a sizable built-in clientele, and serving up lattes with hummus wraps required interaction with customers.
The trepidation of being visible evaporated over time, so that when Jason and Cristina looked at a vacant restaurant storefront near the Cup (thinking it might benefit their small cafe to have more space), they started considering another venture – one with the informality of a cafe but a more elevated tone, where both owners work the front of the house. A venue where plates are shareable, service is casual and convivial. That’s the premise of Tofte’s Table.
Milwaukee’s Best New Restaurants of 2016
It was a banner year for new restaurants.
Restaurants that let a diner eat like a world traveler, restaurants that put a personal stamp on their dishes, restaurants that showed just how good a steak or a pizza could be — they’re on the 2016 list of best new restaurants.
Since 2008, this annual list has included anywhere from six to 10 restaurants; in 2016, a dozen places have made the list, and I could have gone on.
Setting a place at Tofte’s Table
Sharable, Down-home Plates at Tofte’s Table
Here I was at Tofte’s Table, a new restaurant in downtown Waukesha by a chef who had made his name at a popular steakhouse, and one of the plates I was most charmed by was meatless.
I’d seen too many plates of pedestrian steamed vegetables to have huge expectations for the menu’s grilled vegetables ($10). But here came a heaped, vivid plate of vegetables that weren’t the usual suspects, made even more interesting by their time on the grill and a bit of char for extra flavor. Still life with deliciousness.
3 dishes: Cristina and Jason Tofte of Tofte’s Table
What’s in a restaurant?
In this series, we ask chefs around the city to describe their restaurants in their own words and recommend three dishes that embody the best of what they offer. In this edition, we talk with Cristina and Jason Tofte of Tofte’s Table in Waukesha.
“We’ve been together for almost 20 years, and married for 17,” notes Cristina Tofte. “Since we’ve been together, when we go out to dinner, Jason always orders the food. It keeps coming and we’re sharing all of the dishes. It provokes conversation and interaction. We’re laughing. We’re trying each others plates, and it’s just a more full experience.”
Chef Jason Tofte to open second restaurant in downtown Waukesha
Chef Jason Tofte and his wife, Cristina Tofte, who took over the Steaming Cup coffeehouse in downtown Waukesha last year, are preparing to open their second restaurant nearby in August.
Called Tofte’s Table, it will serve shareable plates at 331 Riverfront Plaza. That’s the former site of Key Westconsin, the Key West-themed restaurant that closed early this year.
The new restaurant will edge closer to the couple’s fine-dining roots; Jason Tofte was the longtime chef at Eddie Martini’s steakhouse in Wauwatosa, where the couple met.