As a self-confessed foodie, I must admit I usually plan my restaurant attack meticulously. That being said there are times when I allow myself to fly by the seat of my pants (or be pushed by my partner). Sunday night was probably the best result of such an effort as I discovered Liliana’s in Fitchburg. Stuck next to a local chain, restaurant Liliana’s exterior doesn’t stand out but upon entering, you’re immediately drawn in to the décor. The smells of the Creole menu jump out at you right away while the walls adorned with images of jazz and the city, individually illuminated with accent lighting. The drink menu is a bit crazy but I was very pleased with my Tidal Wave Hurricane made with blue curaco, vodka, and lemon/lime.
I tend to love my New Orleans cuisine spicy hot which is certainly one way to go. Liliana’s on the other hand opts for a spice that hits quickly and then fades to a blend of flavors.
Up first was a pair of starters. An order of hushpuppies was near perfect. The corn meal was speckled with bits of cranberry and jalapeno and fried perfectly. Better yet was the cheddar cheese at the center of the hushpuppies although every nugget varied greatly in how melted it was. I would have preferred to see the inside match the consistency of the perfectly fried outer shell. Our second dish was the soup of the day, a butternut squash with pumpkin accents. My partner found the soup to be completely satisfying yet I thought the pumpkin oil and roasted seeds overpowered the sweetness of the squash.
The two entrees we picked grabbed out attention immediately and we were not let down. My shrimp and crawfish etoufee had a great kick as it hit my tongue but that faded to a bouquet of flavors. The shrimp and crawfish were as fresh as could be. My partner had the pasta Liliana that was composed of blackened shrimp, chicken and andouille sausage in a red pepper cream sauce. The pappardelle that this was all laid over was some of the finest fresh pasta I’ve had in months. Again, the spice had a nice initial burst and then mellowed to a nice complex flavor.
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the evening came as we got the bill and discovered that this somewhat extravagant meal was less then $30 a person. Liliana’s is quite the suburban gem and a much-needed addition to the chain filled Fitchburg.
Liliana’s, 2951 Triverton Pike, Fitchburg, WI (608) 442-4444