BY SARAH C. LANGE | PHOTO BY DAVID SZYMANSKI
“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.
“Everybody can find something to eat here. I wanted a place that was affordable, so you could come here once a week, and a place that has the gamut,” Jason says.
Foodies will swoon over the aromatic and tender braised pork belly resting atop root veggie hash made with carrot, parsnip, turnip, celery root and onion. Cider vinegar, brown sugar and herbs are reduced to a sweet-sour cider gastrique, which cuts through the fat, Jason notes. Seasonal vegetables, such as the pattypan squash, carrots and haricot verts shown here, add more color to the plate. For a finishing touch, candied bacon slices cooked with Sugar in the Raw are torched just before serving.
“That dish is sweet and salty all over the place,” Jason says. In fact, like the restaurant itself, the entree delights the senses without fussiness.
331 Riverfront Plaza, Waukesha, (262) 408-5633, toftestable.com