Wild Wild Western
Weatherford’s culinary advances over the past few years now include several white- tablecloth establishments, including the upscale-casual Wild Mushroom Steakhouse and Lounge. The three-year-old restaurant is located off the catastrophically bad construction zone on Highway 171/South Main Street, but it’s worth the extra time and navigational trouble. What lies inside is interesting and innovative.
On a recent Friday night, the special was prime rib, a generous 22-ounce cut served au jus, with garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus, and a creamy horseradish sauce. Our server spent a good five minutes discussing how we wanted the meat cooked. We chose medium-plus, described as pink but not too pink. Unfortunately, the kitchen was having translation issues, and what came out was purple in the middle. The second round was still not right, but by the third time, the prime rib was perfect –– and brought to us by the chef. Remember the scene in No Reservations when chef Catherine Zeta-Jones stalks out bearing a raw steak impaled on a cutting knife and then drives the whole thing into a picky diner’s table? Yeah, that didn’t happen. Chef Jerrett Joslin, formerly of Fort Worth’s wonderful Randall’s Gourmet Cheesecake Company, apologized with grace and a grin for the miscommunication. The meat was lushly tasty and moist, and the house-made horseradish cream also paired well with the garlic mash. The lettuce wedge salad with blue cheese was a disappointment. Though the dressing was house-made and full of wonderful blue cheese, the salad overall wasn’t worth the $6 price tag.
That Friday also happened to be the beginning of Restaurant Week. One of the ways a restaurant is judged during the week of charitable dining is whether the place offers anything other than chicken for the $35 dining experience. Wild Mushroom gets extra credit for offering three choices: a tandoori beef skirt steak, a chicken kebab, and a salmon entrée. The herb-crusted salmon was large, cooked perfectly, and served with beautiful, slightly warm heirloom tomatoes and possibly the best-tasting green beans I’ve ever had. They weren’t spiced unusually, just cooked well. Since the Restaurant Week theme was Indian-Asian, the optional second course was coconut-curry-infused littleneck clams. The red pepper-infused green curry sauce was spicy without rating five stars on the Thai scale. The coolest part of the dish was the bed of what I thought was broken rice infused with coconut. It turned out the clams were lying on a bed of shredded coconut, which was absolutely delightful: slightly crunchy and sweet enough to take some of the heat out of the sauce.
The fried calamari appetizer included a sriracha-spiked aioli that provided a hefty kick to the deliciously crunchy squid. The jalapeño soup ordered as a second appetizer was actually quite mild –– mostly a hint of jalapeño in a dense cream base.
Dessert starred the lemon coconut cake: a four-layer masterpiece of cream, soft cake, and coconut frosting. Picture the softest, dreamiest wedding cake you’ve ever had and then add rich coconut frosting. And the chocolate cheesecake was just the perfect balance of creamy and dense. Not too sweet, the stuff was absolutely plate-licking good, even after a hefty dinner.
In addition to creating unusual takes on Western cuisine, chef Joslin and owner/business partner John Shepherd also use the restaurant to return some love to the community. Wild Mushroom frequently supports local events like the Cuisine for Healing benefit, and Joslin uses the kitchen, which isn’t open for lunch every day, to make healthy, from-scratch lunches for several private schools nearby.
The Wild Mushroom Steakhouse and Lounge
1917 Martin Dr, Weatherford. 817-599-4935.
Closed Sun, 5-10pm Mon-Sat, 11am-2pm Thu-Fri.
All major credit cards accepted.
Fried calamari ……………………… $11
Jalapeño soup …………………….. $ 8
Lettuce wedge ……………………. $ 6
Prime rib ……………………………… $32
Restaurant Week salmon ………. $35
Lemon citrus coconut cake …… $ 6