When I think burgers, I think fire. The kind of flame that leaps through steel, charcoal-encrusted grates with its heated embers. Fitting, then, is the name of this 1940s-themed steakhouse, Wildfire.
And by themed, I don’t mean there’s music from the era playing overhead, but everything else is Applebee’s. I mean the chandeliers, the décor, the menus, even the booths; it all emanates that 1940s glow.
Nonetheless, how do I even know what the 1940s looked like? If you told me to describe to you anything about the dress, mannerisms and culture from the time period, I simply couldn’t do it. But when I stepped inside this restaurant, I knew I was part of a different age. Whoever designed its interior did such a convincing job that they could draw upon whatever impressions I had ever come across of that time 70 years ago, and convince me that I was there.
Of course, I did find one minor discrepancy before I sat down for my meal. But let’s just say it didn’t quite ruin the entire experience. Wildfire, it turns out, is gluten-free.
Just ask your hostess for a gluten-free menu, or crack open the fourth edition of our Restaurant Guide, and you’ll find a generous listing of items, from steaks, sandwiches, salads, even hamburgers, served on Kinnikinnick buns. The wait staff was very knowledgeable about the concerns of people with celiac disease. I ordered a gluten-free burger and requested fries, but my waiter stopped me. “Our fries actually aren’t gluten-free,” he said. “We don’t have a dedicated fryer.”
Oh. A burger without fries. Elevation Burger, a classic-style fast-food chain I reviewed a few weeks ago, maintained a gluten-free fryer. So I certainly expected this moderately-priced steakhouse might. In spite of this one setback, however, I was glad this restaurant’s allergen and gluten-sensitivity training for waiters matched its atmospheric detailing. Safety is more important than French fries, I decided.
The Kinnikinnick bun was a bit too small and tough against the teeth, but it still performed exceptionally as I wolfed down my delicious burger, whose thick edges jutted two inches outside the circular, undersized bun. The meat was juicy and tender; it left me, a self-described burger aficionado, well satisfied.
Next, I ordered a gluten-free chocolate cake, which was also excellent. Its texture reminded me more of a brownie, as most gluten-free cakes do – sweet, thick, and exceptionally moist. The ice cream on the top was a nice touch and blended well with the cake, still warm and freshly-baked from the oven.
Kay ordered a salad off the gluten-free menu, which she highly recommended. These salads also appear on the regular menu, except the gluten-free versions remove croutons and narrow your selection of salad dressings to only those that do not contain gluten.
All in all, Wildfire makes for a fantastic gluten-free meal, and certainly shines as one of the highlights of our Restaurant Guide.
And be sure to check out other photos from our trip to Wildfire in our all-new Flikr stream.