Wednesday, March 26, 2014

We Asked a Number…

of Georgetown residents where they liked to dine and almost to a person the response was Wildfire. Would the locals steer us wrong?
Wildfire, left of the Palace Theater

“Claiming top honors for the Best Restaurant in Georgetown, Wildfire is a place to ignite your palette and warm your senses.
"Both the restaurant’s name and unique flavors are derived from the large oak log burning grill and smoking applications with apple, hickory and mesquite wood. Both the power of the flame and the smoke there from are used to cook a wide variety of steaks, poultry, seafood, and game meats to perfection. If you are looking for a big city meal with small town style, Wildfire is the place to savor” (
Wildfire is located one block from Georgetown’s historic town square in a building constructed in the 1920s. Since that time it has housed a clothing store, a Piggly Wiggly Grocery, a meat market, an air conditioning and electrical supplies store, a Sears and Roebuck Catalog store, a business office, and a ladies apparel and gift shop. It was purchased by Bill Cox and converted to a restaurant in 2012.

The building still retains much of its original splendor—especially the pressed tin ceiling accented by period-style lighting.
“Wildfire is named for the chef’s preferred method of cooking over oak logs, which allows the smoke from the wood to flavor the dishes. ‘Wildfire is Wildfire because we cook most of our dishes over a wildfire, or the grill, and if it’s not cooked over oak logs, then [the food’s flavor] has something to do with the smoke from the fire,’ Cox said.
“The menu also features Cox’s favorite flavors influenced by Texas history. Cox said he draws inspiration from various cultures throughout the state. ‘A lot of people ask me what I would recommend, and I say, ‘Listen, if I didn’t like it, it wouldn’t be on the menu,’” he said. Cox said the menu is updated annually, but some entrees will never be changed, including the chicken and dumplings, which has become popular among diners” (Beth Wade at
The lunch menu is extensive and lists ten hamburgers and ten sandwiches. A section titled “Down the Rio Grand” features gourmet versions of Mexican classics: Grilled Portobello, Pernod Spinach, and Feta Enchiladas; Port Isabel Hickory Smoked Baby Shrimp Enchiladas; Sweet Pepper Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas; and Carne Guisada Beef Enchiladas. Under the “Hearth n' Home” heading are Chuck Wagon Chicken Dumplings, The High Noon Western Omlelet, Chorizo Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, Flashed Fired Country Chicken, Hickory Smoked Pork Roast, and Smokehouse Roast Beef. The entire menu went on in the same creative and delicious vein.

Chuck started with a cup of Fire Roasted Hickory Corn and Shrimp Chowder containing, in addition to the corn and shrimp, cheese, and small pieces of potato all lightly flavored with bay.
It would have been perfect if it had been served hotter—an affliction that seems to be epidemic at restaurants. All I can conclude is that the owners don’t believe that a gentle admonition from the server to “be careful, the soup is very hot” is not sufficient to prevent lawsuits.

And with the soup came a basket of warm yeasty rolls.
I don’t know if these are made in-house or whether they come in “half baked” as is done in many restaurants.

His entrée was the Blue Com Encrusted Catfish with chipotle cream, fried red bliss mashers, and jicama cole slaw.
He declared that the catfish was cooked as perfectly as any he has eaten in Louisiana—high praise indeed. The slaw was a mix of red and green cabbages along with jicama and lightly tossed with a seasoned dressing. We’ll get to the mashed potatoes later.

It’s usually Chuck who has trouble making a menu decision, but on this day it was my turn. After many stops and starts I finally settled on the Smokehouse Roast Beef. If smoking is the restaurant’s specialty, don’t I have to order something smoked?
The plate contained a large stack of thinly sliced well done smoked beef under what the menu described as red-eye gravy. The meat was fall apart tender with a pronounced smoke taste, but I was confused by the gravy. It was certainly rich and delicious, but did not match my concept of red-eye gravy, which is made with the drippings of a ham slice (preferably country ham) combined with coffee. This was not true red-eye gravy.

But let’s talk potatoes. Regular readers of this blog know that I am not a big fan of mashed potatoes. But these were something else. I’m not sure how they were prepared, but should I try to recreate them, I would: mash the potatoes, spead the mashed on a sheet pan, partially freeze, cut into squares, dip in batter, fry. They were like chicken fried mashed potatoes.

We finished by sharing a Texas-sized slice of Mascarpone White Chocolate Carrot Cake described on the menu as layers upon layers of sweet, moist, rich carrot cake with cream cheese and mascarpone butter cream.
I would love to give Wildfire the full 5.0 Addies but there were three missteps (soup not hot enough, the gravy, and the starchy corn) and that lowers the score to 4.0 Addies.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

Our walk back to the Big White Truck took us past two sculptures located on the town square.
Watering the Work Mules
Sculptor: Bob Coffee

The Shaman
Sculptor: Pokey Park

And then it was time to head to Galveston, TX.

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