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Restaurant Reviews - Dec 2003

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Looking to break away on a recent night from our old standbys of dining, we poked around in the restaurant sections of the local cyber rags and decided to head up to the Northwest side of Tucson to stop in at Wildflower on North Oracle. We hadn't heard any word of mouth on the place but whatever we read must have sounded good enough to prompt a visit. What we found was a sophisticated eatery with a pleasant atmosphere, quality food and efficient service. The experience, in fact, seemed to come off in such a flawless and natural way, that it almost made us forget how often we've selected a new place in a similar manner and ended up spending about the same coin for some combination of subpar egregious slop and atrocious mind numbing service. Sometimes we've paid more for heaping helpings of both. The only problem with a night like the one we spent at Wildflower, which we realized as we sat down to pound out this report, is that it doesn't really leave all that much to write about. "Everything went smoothly and was very good" seems to about sum it up and it doesn't necessitate more explanation other than to remind folks how rare this actually is. We suppose it is worth noting out of fairness that the place was not very crowded which often has a lot to do with any unpleasant experiences in the out to eat realm. But if that is worth a mention than we should also point out that, even though we had a fairly late seating, we never felt like they were closing up shop and trying to herd us out the door which also shouldn't be as uncommon as we've found it to be in these parts.

We'd be remiss I suppose if we didn't start the review proper by saying that the booth where we were seated was very ample and comfortable. Since the hostess offered us our choice of booth or table, we would have had no one to blame but ourselves since we had noticed while we waited for them to clear a few place settings that the chairs looked quite nice and spacious in their own right. If the above seems like a ridiculous sentence then you haven't been following along in our adventures to simply find a comfortable surface on which to sit and take a meal in this town. The booths at Wildflower feel like they are made of fine Corinthian leather and are firm and well proportioned, not to mention placed slightly above floor level so one gets the feeling they have been seated in a position of privilege, looking out over the scene as if picnicking on a foothill with a view of the regular folk below. There is a well stocked bar off to the left of the main room which is separated by a large curved glass so the sounds don't interrupt but one is still able to glance at a game on the TV during lulls in the conversation or amuse themselves people watching. Also visible from the floor is the kitchen which opens out to the room from the back and one can watch the top half of the sous chef's and sauciers as they go about sousing and saucing. Again this is not interruptive but does tend to attract the eye and make the place seem alive and fun without any accompanying din. As we were drinking in the pleasant surroundings, a server appeared and a real drink order was taken. When informed of the beers on tap we were pleasantly surprised to have the chance to request a Stone Pale Ale, (a San Diego outfit that brews some of our favorites) instead of some faux microbrew swill like Sam Adams or Fat Tire which are featured in most places that want to appear as if they are offering unique microbrews but are actually just stocking whatever's the cheapest from their distributors. One of us also tried some iced tea which was proclaimed to be "very good" which, in this context, means that it had some fruity quality and didn't taste like it had been sitting in a plastic pitcher all day with a lingering tea bag.

One of the reviews we read had said that the service was excellent at Wildflower and we were not disappointed on that front even though we seem to often be at odds with the supposed intelligencia as to what exactly excellent service entails. What we will say is that our waiter managed to explain the specials without sounding like a complete ass, which was a pleasant surprise, and carried himself throughout the night as a normal guy doing a good job which is about as big a compliment as we can pay to any server. We ordered a spinach salad and a bowl of lentil soup to start. The salad, which had carmelized pecans and tangy apples was proclaimed to be the best spinach salad in town (and that particular staffer has sampled quite a few) and the lentil soup was good as well although not all that imaginative but, since it hadn't claimed to be anything other than what it was, it's hard to find fault in that. When our main courses came, the scallops were perfectly done and the bow-tie pasta dish with chicken and pine nuts hearty and tasty and exactly what it claimed to be as well. Everything was very good, as we've said. Actually, the dessert which was a chocolate torte covered with coffee ice cream and decorated with fresh raspberries and a banjo shaped wafer was above and beyond very good and the cognac generously poured which made for a nice cap to a fine evening. We never felt rushed and we never had to wait, there was never too much or too little of anything, nothing annoying occurred whether under the restaurant's control or not (no women with big asses banging into your elbows or bloviating buffoons at the next table or coeds showing their pubic bones or cologne drenched lotharios sashaying by). There really isn't all that much more to say except we should probably return to make sure our experience wasn't some sort of fluke. If we find out it was we'll let you know but until then Wildflower gets our resounding recommendation. 

7037 N. Oracle Road 
Tucson AZ 
520-219-4230                                                                             Wildflower Revisited Dec 2005

Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved.