Wildfire's Exotic Menu Makes it Worthwhile

Written by Lori Higgenbotham
Megaphone Opinion Writer

An Elk - Courtesy of Google Images

There are a couple of huge advantages to eating at Wildfire, the restaurant that is considered to be Georgetown’s premier fine dining experience, or to me anyway.

First of all, it’s close. Really close. As much as I love driving 45 minutes, navigating the strangely laid-out roads in downtown Austin and searching for the least-shady parking lot or garage, the five-minute drive from campus was really enjoyable.

If I hadn’t been wearing my favorite black stilettos, I would have walked. Well, if I hadn’t also been wearing a skirt. And it was warm out. And not threatening to rain. In theory, I could have walked.

Second, being Georgetown’s premier fine dining experience, Wildfire doesn’t have a huge amount of competition, so the prices are pretty reasonable as compared to places of the same caliber in Austin and Dallas.

The streets in Austin and Dallas are lined with fancy restaurants, and the prices tend to be a little outrageous. Supply and demand and all that.

There are always two parts that I use to judge my fine dining experiences. The experience itself and the food.

Since I’m not a food writer and I don’t read many food reviews, all you foodies out there are going to be extremely disappointed with my actual food review.

I do, however, have a lot of opinions and am quite judgmental at times, so I can probably judge the experience rather well.

When the powers that be built Wildfire, it seems like they were going for somewhat of a homey feel. The main dining room is just that one huge dining room with lots of tables and booths. You don”t have to do much navigating on the way back from the bathroom through dozens of tiny little rooms, which is always nice.

The restaurant itself is strangely laid out, however. When you enter, you enter into this long hall. To the right is a door leading to the bar.

To the left is the main dining hall. I have no idea what is further down the hall, but it does continue. Restaurants don’t seem to have many halls generally.

The layout really wasn’t a problem at all. However, they have those booth-tables, which sort of killed the atmosphere for me.

I love booths, and I have no problem sitting at a table, but when half the table is a booth, and the other half is a table, it’s awkward.

I sat in the booth, and my date sat on the other side of the table in a chair. How completely not romantic is that? You can’t scoot the chairs around so you’re sitting next to one another, and you can’t lean over all intimately like you can in a booth.

And since I was going for romance here, it was a little disappointing. I sort of felt like I was having my fine dining experience at IHOP. Although the food was better than IHOP. There, my food review. The food was better than IHOP.

Actually, the food was very good. We started with calamari, which tasted like calamari. How many different ways can calamari taste? I then had the French onion soup, which tasted very good. Not as good as it tasted in Paris, but very good. My date had a salad, which I assume tasted like salad.

The main course was quite delicious. One of Wildfire’s perks is their strange and exotic-for-Georgetown menu. They have ostrich, elk, bison, lots of seafood and a large selection of steaks.

I had the salmon, which was some of the best salmon I’ve ever had (and I really, really like salmon, so I’ve had it at a lot of places). It came with an onion-and-rice pilaf, which was mostly just…onions.
My date had the elk, which he described as good, but not the best thing on the plate. (The tomato chutney was the best thing on the plate. I asked.)

As far as beverages go, we both had water, although the wine list was extensive, including both Texas wines as well as imported wines.

Everyone around us had wine, and no one seemed to be gagging, so I suppose Wildfire has good wine.

I believe you’re supposed to sample all the courses when you’re writing a restaurant review, but I was way too full to have dessert.

They looked extremely appetizing though, meaning, for me, there were many things made out of chocolate. I’d like to go back just to have dessert.

In conclusion, the atmosphere was just okay, the calamari was good enough, the salmon was incredibly delicious, and I wish I’d had dessert. I’d say to go and try it, if only to experience the exotic menu.

Plus, as half the student population at SU works at Wildfire, you get to watch your classmates wait on you.

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