Friday, March 23, 2007

Paul's Omega Family Restaurant

3473 S. 27th Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Open 24 hours, every day. Milwaukee's contribution to the culinary world is the FAMILY RESTAURANT, and Paul's Omega on S. 27th is the king of them all. It is always crowded (especially on Sundays and holidays) but the place is huge, and the service remarkably fast, so there is very little waiting. This is the place to overeat, if you're so inclined-- the dinners come with a salad that's large enough to be a meal, or soup, and potatoes, of course, and dessert, the options which include a passable rice pudding. The diners also include your choice of a draught beer or crappy wine, if you're so inclined. I'm not, but I always appreciate seeing the luminous glasses of sweet, pink rose’ wine on most tables, simply for their beauty. The entire place has a certain beauty in its extremes and excesses-- from the chairs on round wheels, to the tacky etched glass, the cruise ship lighting fixtures, to the casino carpets, it's like a good nightmare, visually, a memory of the lost Las Vegas you never experienced, and never will. Indeed, it's all an illusion, created by the incredible level of high energy infusing the entire establishment. The cooks, coffee fillers, bussers, waitresses, and hosts work together like a flawless counterfeit Rolex, and a routine trip to the restroom is like a journey through mythical restaurant-land, waitresses yelling "corner" as they round blind corners with enormous trays, creating magic for the incredible cross section of humanity who come to overeat, routinely taking for granted what very well may be their last meal.


*** (three stars)

--Ray Speen

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