Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wild Abandon

2411 SE Belmont
Happy Hour: Weekdays, 4:30 - 6:30 PM (Closed Tuesdays)

We walked into Wild Abandon expecting a crowd after being forced to back out of the completely packed parking lot. Apparently it's a shared lot, because the place was close to empty. But by the time we left, almost every table had been taken (including three that were forced together for a large party) and there was a crowd waiting in the doorway. It seems that this place is more known for its dinner menu that the happy hour fare. I was impressed, though. And, many of the items on the happy hour menu are a direct duplicate, with a lesser price.

The building is almost hidden by a green sea of plants on the outside. Even the sign is hard to get a clear view of unless you are a ways back on the street. Inside, however, it takes on a completely different feel. And, to me, it felt like someone's grandma's house. There are funky mismatched lamps hanging above each table and in the corners of the room. And, the wall decor (which was labeled and priced, making me think it rotates over time) was a random collection of oil paintings.

The waiter brought over a stack of menus. There was the dinner menu (which looked pretty fantastic), a drink menu (which included a wine bottle special - just $20), and the happy hour menu (which ranged in price from $1 to $8 for food items and somewhere around $5 - $6 for most drinks).

We decided to get a few things that could easily be shared by (almost) everyone at the table. Altogether we ordered two oyster shooters (they are just a dollar each), a hamburger, the most amazingly dressed salad, and the goat cheese torte. As I wasn't about to bite into the hamburger (which was presented nicely and well-liked by those who ate it) I did consume the majority of the salad.

The salad was perfect for me as it was covered in cheese crumbles, currants, candied pecans, and grilled apples. The apples weren't that impressive and there were only a couple...but, the pecans were what made this salad so right for me. I'm not sure what makes pecans and walnuts so different when they look and taste so much the same..but, I do know that I have some sort of walnut intolerance (it's a family thing...we all suffer from it) that causes serious damage to the roof of my mouth. I've always loved this type of salad (and I think I've said before just how common this salad is) and I hate that I have to leave a pile of deliciously candied walnuts on the edge of my plate.

The goat cheese torte (which was a little pricey at $8 but discounted from the dinner menu where it's listed at $13) was a combination of flavors and textures presented beautifully but not really in the typical fashion of a torte. (Perhaps I need to experience more tortes to really understand.) The goat cheese and roasted garlic were covered with olive oil and a drizzle of a balsamic reduction and served with grilled bread.

To accompany the food choices, I selected a black currant lemon drop. It had the usual sugared rim but was definitely more than the usual lemon drop. I know I've had berry lemon drops before but I'm convinced that this was my first of the black currant variety. It's a fresh change and one that I'm sure I'll try again.

According to their website, this place has been around since the 90s and has been winning awards since the beginning. They've been listed in the Willamette Week's 100 Best multiple times and have been noted as being the best place for a date and the best place to kiss (must be the dim lighting). I know I'll be back sometime in the future but I do plan to make it for dinner next time. Dinner and a twenty-dollar bottle of wine (to share, of course). Before walking out I saw quite a few dinner selections being delivered to the tables around us and I am sure that I will enjoy one or more of the tastey options listed on the dinner menu.

Food: Exceeds
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Nearly Meets (I know it's their thing...but, it's a little too reminiscent of a grandma's house)
Value: Meets


Wild Abandon

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