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The cooks brand Wild Mushroom’s “Cowboy-Cut” bone-in rib-eye. Lee Chastain
The cooks brand Wild Mushroom’s “Cowboy-Cut” bone-in rib-eye. Lee Chastain

Over the last five years, Jerrett Joslin’s Wild Mushroom Steak House & Lounge developed a rep for serving great steak and seafood in Weatherford. The success occurred despite some nasty road construction, which occasionally blocked the restaurant’s parking lot. Via e-mail, Joslin said that he’d learned that a lot of his customers were regularly making the 30-mile trek from Fort Worth. So when the space that formerly housed Ray’s Prime Steakhouse and Seafood on Camp Bowie Boulevard opened up last year, Joslin said he felt compelled to try his hand in the Fort –– again. For years, Joslin owned and operated Randall’s Gourmet Cheesecake Company and the swanky nightclub Bar 9, both downtown.

The good news: Access to the Fort Worth version of Wild Mushroom isn’t much of a problem, especially after 6 p.m., when most of the businesses nearby normally close up shop. Access to your table might be a different story. Despite having a reservation, and with two-thirds of our dining trio present 10 minutes before our scheduled arrival, the house manager declined to seat us until our party was complete –– even though the dining room was empty. At the manager’s invitation, my friend and I sat at the marble-topped bar that dominates the front third of the space and enjoyed some very pricey martinis until our triumvirate was complete.

Once we were seated, the really tasty starters wiped away our mild irritation. The crab cake, a generous serving of mostly jumbo lump blue crab with very little breading, was absolutely spectacular. The luscious chunks of shellfish were held together by a light, lemon-tinged cream. One crab appetizer could easily serve two or be stretched to share with three if, for example, you want to save room for your melted brie and roasted garlic appetizer.

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Roasted until the insides oozed out of the skin, elephant garlic cloves were plated with dainty slices of runny brie, crackers, and a warm tomato compote. A schmear of the smoky garlic with some cheese and the slightly sweet, chunky compote was a slice of spicy, creamy heaven.

The only mediocre starter was the wedge salad. The house-made dressing tasted fine, with generous chunks of blue cheese, but the “bacon” looked like bacon bits. The end result was iceberg lettuce with a nice blue cheese topping and not much else flavor-wise.

For a steakhouse, Wild Mushroom has an impressive selection of surf to complement the turf. The Chilean sea bass was outstanding. The delicate white fish accompanied by truffle butter arrived on a bed of scrumptious, savory mushroom risotto. It’s a go-out-of-your-way-for dish.

The scallops and shrimp tails in a vin santo wine reduction were a mixed bag. The three giant scallops were tender, delicious, and perfectly cooked. The three jumbo shrimp were a little rubbery. Unusually, the shellfish came with a lovely, fluffy mashed potato purée, which was great for sopping up the sweet-tart wine sauce.

The only entrée that didn’t sizzle was the New York strip steak. The grill seasoning was fine, and the beef was rich and marbled, but it simply wasn’t as good as our seafood. Ordered a la carte, the hunk of meat looked a little lonely on the plate. Good thing we also ordered a side of creamed spinach, which ended up making for a delightful pairing. The fresh greens had been cooked a little past al dente and were smothered in creamy, delicately spicy cheese sauce.

Desserts included several house-made goodies. The double chocolate cheesecake’s subtle layers of sweet and bittersweet chocolate were delightful. The dessert was so ridiculously rich that only a few bites sufficed –– but the plate was cleaned because nobody wants to waste good chocolate. The lemon cheesecake was surprisingly light and refreshing. Again, one dessert was plenty for two people.

Does Fort Worth really need another white tablecloth steak house? Perhaps. The service at Wild Mushroom was impressive and competent, and the bar remained full throughout a 90-minute dinner service. At some point, a pianist set up in the corner, and the music (mostly Broadway and jazz standards with some ’70s tunes for variety) was pleasant. At the time of this writing, the restaurant hadn’t started lunch service, but that’s in the works. Maybe Joslin is betting that folks on the West Side will value the convenience of the Camp Bowie location, the free parking, and the awesome Chilean sea bass.

 

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Wild Mushroom Steak House & Lounge

3206 Winthrop Av, FW. 817-570-0340. Restaurant 5-10pm Mon-Sat, bar 4pm-2am.

All major credit cards accepted.

Gray Goose vodka martini……………………………. $14

Crab cake………………………………………………….. $15

Roasted elephant garlic w/brie……………………… $9

Chilean sea bass………………………………………… $31

New York strip steak…………………………………… $41

Cheesecake……………………………………………….. $6

 

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