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Bleu Restaurant & Lounge highlights new American cuisine

By Bruce Kong
Contributing Writer

There is a growing trend among new and existing restaurants as they invest their time and money into defining the term “American cuisine.”

But what is American cuisine?

The U.S. has a long history of serving as a space where many cultures come together, resulting in a broad variety of cuisines and influences to choose from.

One consideration that is often overlooked, however, is the influence of European cuisine on American cuisine.

The outcome of such an influence is a beautiful mix of cuisines coming together — each bringing something unique to the table — and that’s where Bleu Restaurant & Lounge comes into the picture.

Bleu is located on 2200 Dickinson Rd. in De Pere, tucked in Heritage Square.

At first glance, the exterior of Bleu’s doesn’t reflect your standard restaurant.

When I stepped inside, the candle-lit chandeliers — which set the mood for the perfect dining experience — were the first thing to capture my attention.

Two rows of extended tables neighboring each other allow for parties large and small to gather and enjoy handcrafted drinks from the bar that’s just an arm’s reach away.

Bleu Restaurant & Lounge provides the classic dining experience with some extra spice added through the décor and ambiance of the establishment.

The Food: French origins meet American

Lobster bisque is hard to make, however (like most soups) the overall taste comes from the base of the soup, and in this case, I’m under the impression that Bleu makes their lobster bisque from fish stock.

This delicacy was creamy and succulent, with small pieces of lobster throughout to add texture.

If I were to add one small critique, it was a bit salty.

But Bleu more than makes up for that with its roasted beet salad.

If most modern American restaurants know how to execute one thing correctly, it’s salads.

Diners, myself included, often overlook salads.

They are usually regarded as little more than a healthy portion of greens which do not add any real flavor or value to a meal.

Bleu’s roasted beet salad, however, is elevated by a layer of earthy, mild goat cheese and vibrantly-colored roasted beets.

Anything braised on the menu should be ordered immediately.

These days, it’s rare for restaurants to include this cooking method — and it may be primarily because of how time consuming it is.

Bleu’s Executive Chef Brian Neuens, along with Head Chef Aaron Havlovitz, tackle the challenge of braising pork shank.

A cut of meat this tough requires adequate time to be set aside as it cooks down for a proper fall-off-the-bone texture — undercooking it will leave diners chewing for days.

The only downfall of this dish was that it was a bit dry — but, as it is with most braised meats, it’s easy to leave a dish like this in the oven for too long.

The herb crust adds a nice crunch and the rich espagnole resting underneath the pork shank was the perfect sauce to compliment the dish.

Bleu Restaurant & Lounge has a firm grasp of the concept behind the new American cuisine.

Mixing two different cuisines is no easy task, but Bleu Restaurant & Lounge has made the result easy for their diners to enjoy.

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