One Saturday in early summer 2018, four of us decided to try out the Wild Garlic Grill Restaurant, at its new digs, for lunch. Wild Garlic took a giant leap last year, moving from a converted A&W Restaurant on 1st Ave. to the tony district south of La Encantada. (It's in the back, closer to Campbell than Skyline).
Rumor has it that the Wild Garlic Grill is always packed for dinner. So, in anticipation of a lunch crowd on a Saturday, we arrived early for lunch as is our habit; to avoid crowds, enjoy excellent service and the added benefit of being able to hear a conversation.
The trend these days is to build and furnish restaurants that have no sound dampening. I wonder, is this intentional or just cheaper? A noisy restaurant is a successful restaurant? Wild Garlic is no different in that regard. This is precisely why we usually opt to be seated outside whenever possible.
Ms. Sue and her son, Fhar, who was visiting from Vermont, joined us. Upon entering, we were greeted by the hostess, we presume Maudi, wife of Chef Steven. She gave us the choice of sitting indoors or on the patio. As it was early and lunchtime, we chose a table indoors.
Chef Steven was trained in Paris in Classic French Cuisine. He brings his own love of Garlic and California veggies to the table, in copious quantities.
Our server, Tiana, I believe, greeted us, and proceeded to rattle off a dozen or more "Specials" of the day. Seriously. After hearing the mind boggling array of specials, none of which we remembered, Tiana took our order for drinks. Ms. Karen & I ordered a Gosseaume, Touraine Sauvignon Blanc (2016) from France. Fhar had a Clamato & a side of beer. He referred to it as a Michelada. Sue had a soft drink. Our wine was exceptionally dry. Very pleasant.
Orders were then taken for appetizers and entrees. Ms. Karen had checked out the website in advance. The lunch menu had looked affordable. Today, there was only one menu and the plethora of specials.
Karen ordered a Caesar Salad. Fhar ordered their Gilroy garlic Swiss fondue with fresh baked sourdough bread (11.50). Sue decided on a Caprese salad, a favorite of hers, with vine ripened tomatoes, mozzarella, basil pine nut pesto, balsamic reduction (14.00).
All were pronounced good. The Caprese was a nice presentation. Fhar did not choose to share the Fondue bowl. (Must have been good). Karen mentioned that her Caesar did not taste like a Caesar. Perhaps she was thrown off by the fact that it looked more like a house salad. ie: cucumbers and tomatoes. “It was definitely unconventional.”
Lunch arrived. Fhar had the grilled Northwest salmon filet with roasted pepper artichoke, tapenade, risotto and basil beurre blanc. (28.00). Karen had the Grilled Garlic Shrimp appetizer with a melted brie sauce, grilled vegetables, and roasted corn salsa in a beurre blanc sauce (15.00).
Sue added to her Caprese with a humungous bowl of Gilroy Garlic Seasoned French fries with extra virgin olive oil (12.00) which we all shared. I ordered a special, the rack of lamb rarely round in this town. (37.00).
Fhar said his grilled salmon was excellent, remarking that he only orders Salmon when it hails from the Northwest.
Karen pronounced that her Garlic Shrimp was very tasty, indicating that the shrimp was merely a catalyst for the nice sauce.
My rack of lamb was excellent and more than an ample serving for lunch. It came piled with several choice vegetables. I finished my lamb, not the veggies. The fresh Rosemary added a nice touch. Perhaps there was some garlic under all those veggies. All portions were extraordinarily large.
All in all, it was a very pleasant lunch. Good food and good company in pleasant surroundings. Prices are a bit high for lunch, but we went to experience the flavors of the Wild Garlic Grill. Lots of garlic, lots of flavor. Bring your high limit credit card.
Wild Garlic: highly recommended.
Wild Garlic Grill Restaurant
2870 E. Skyline Dr.