BY JEN KENT | PHOTO BY DAVID SZYMANSKI
The availability of fresh produce surges in the summer, making healthier options less difficult to come by when dining out, but there are certain dishes worth indulging in, like Braise’s steamed pork buns. “They’re a staple,” says Matt Plummer, Braise’s chef de cuisine. “A go-to item for any newcomers, and all of our regulars like them too.”
Every item on the plate is made in-house, says Plummer, from the soft, white-flour buns to the crispy pork belly. “We cure (the pork belly) — an overnight cure with five spice flavors to it, and then we cook it, low and slow, and roast it,” he explains. “It gets diced up, and then it gets picked up in our brick oven. It gets really nice and crispy there, and has that crispy exterior and chewy interior.” Scallion or garlic chive vinaigrette — Plummer says the kitchen flip-flops between the two based on seasonality — is drizzled over the pork belly, adding a layer of freshness to the otherwise hearty dish. Crushed, spicy peanuts garnish each bun, and local watercress sourced from nearby Mushroom Mike is plated below, complementing the vinaigrette’s vibrant green hue.
And while Braise is known for its ever-changing menu, Plummer promises the pork buns are here to stay. New dishes to watch for will likely feature goat and lamb, he adds, noting that the restaurant has been working closely with Terry Groth, owner of Farm 45 in Jackson, for the last year. 1101 S. Second St., (414) 212-8843, braiselocalfood.com