Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Early Bloomer: Wild Flower Is off to a Promising Start

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Early Bloomer: Wild Flower Is off to a Promising Start

Article excerpt

I don't know how many eager, ambitious restaurateurs have tried to plant roots at the southeast corner of Euclid and Laclede Avenues, none with any permanent - or even semi-permanent - success. During my 40 years in the city, I recall very few times when the site didn't house a restaurant or bar, sometimes open, sometimes about to open, mostly dark, or as actors say, "between engagements."

Some have been good, some bad, most ordinary, but they have one thing in common - they don't stay long.

There's a new kid on the corner today, the Wild Flower, and while I prefer not to write about restaurants so soon after they have opened, I was pleased enough with lunch at the Wild Flower to make an exception to my own rule, and after all, what good is a rule without an exception?

Although the menu is sometimes slightly cutesy, there are some interesting dishes with a nice touch of spicing. Sandwiches arrive on some excellent bread (from Fazio's), and the hamburger buns (likewise) are dotted with sesame seeds and some roasted onions.

Speaking of hamburger buns, the burger between it (you wouldn't call a hamburger bun "them," would you?), was outstanding. The meat was fresh, nicely flavored and cooked to the perfect point. It came with a slice of December tomato that should have embarrassed the person in August who put it on the plate and the person who served it. The Wild Flower makes chips, too, and they're tasty, crisp on the outside, soft in the middle and nicely sprinkled with cheese.

The bun also is a winner for a portobello mushroom sandwich, the thick mushroom nicely grilled and tasting as rich as steak. A basil-mayonnaise dressing, with a piece of artichoke heart in it like the baby in a New Orleans Mardi Gras king cake, also was excellent.

Restaurateurs fight a constant battle to find something new for the menu. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. A Wild Flower failure is watermelon shrimp, sauteed with watermelon sauce. Cooked watermelon doesn't make it, and the fruit, so delicious when freshly cut and served, is warm and without flavor. With no flavor of its own, it has none to pass on to the shrimp, so it's all very bland. …

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