Wild Rock Grill: “The Artist Formerly Known as Locos”

18 Sep

You might call Wild Rock Grill a Prince of a Grill. You might call it a great place to have a meal.

Then again, you might be drugged frequently, forced to watch Gong Show reruns and look forward to your hunting date with Dick Cheney.

But lest I hold back … My experience at Wild Rock Grill was like the music of Prince (in case you were unaware, he’s changed his name back to a name). No, sadly, it’s not the inspired funky, rock, soulful grooves of Purple Rain or Sign of the Times. No, it’s probably from a period you don’t know much about, unless you are especially fond his purple majesty … Wikipedia politely calls it a time of increased out put; let’s call it what it is: a creative enema.

Around the year 2000, Prince got in a snit with his publisher – Warner Bros. Not that this is unusual or unusual with him. Instead of contacting
lawyers and working it out the American way, Prince (the symbol at the time) decided that the best way to be let out of his contract was to flood the universe with crappy music, producing albums quickly to hit quotas. It was a puzzling mess of uninspired schlock – album titles that no one can remember and songs as forgettable as junk mail.

Which brings me to Wild Rock Grill (in case you’re wondering, it’s the restaurant that replaced Locos on Lakeshore Pkwy) … Some places get by on reputation. Some get by on great food. Some atmosphere. If Wild Rock Grill is getting by in the burger department, it’s only through the support of people who are connoisseurs of uninspired schlock (or they could be the same people who purchased albums during Prince’s “Slave” period).

I went on a Wednesday evening. Very few people there. For a place that purports to be a sport bar and a bunch of other stuff, it was empty. To make the experience worse, “Wendy, Lisa and Sheila E.” were sitting in a booth next to us, discussing the intricacies of bladder surgery, oozy discharges and enough unsavory things that I was kind of hoping that there’d be more people to drown out there “disgust-ion.”

The service was fine, and the waitress was pleasant and attentive. It’s not her fault that when I asked about the fries, she said – without flinching –
“They are those frozen steak fries.” So, in a first for this blog, I ordered … the steamed veggies (fear not, I tried some of my kids …).

Ordering the burger was like going to a buffet, and about as inspiring. The signature burger comes with whatever you choose out of the list of stuff
you’d normally expect. Cheese is extra. Exotics, like mushrooms, are extra extra. You could dress this burger up with a $100 bill, and it would still be not be able to pay you for a hamburger today. What you’re getting is an uninspired attempt to fill out a menu at a place that has better foods there.

When it arrived at the table, I looked at the burger. It was a pre-made patty and had that “solution” taste that’s somewhere between meat, preservative, saline, melba toast and black licorice (maybe great in a wine, not so great in meat). So, I asked the waitress to tell me where they got their meat. She demurred …

At the end of the meal, which I didn’t finish (except for the veggies), I asked again, when she had yet to supply the answer. She came back, having consulted someone for talking points or whatever, “It’s doesn’t really come from anywhere; it comes on a truck. We get it from a service.”

In the end, I’d wished I’d ordered a veggie plate, or corned beef, or an additional copy of 1999. But in the end, I’m reaching for my mallet and whacking the gong on this act.

Points …

Meat – 5.5 …I don’t know, when I ask where the meat comes from, it’s not likely to make it more savory to say that it comes from a truck.

Bun and fixins’ — 6.5 … Let’s see, I could pick whatever I want on the burger from lettuce, pickles, tomato, onion, ketchup, mustard and mayo. I could … wait for it … have one of two kinds of cheese. It’s not that the quality was awful here, but the lack of creativity and curiosity.

Sides – 6.0 … I wish you could get votes on this for steamed veggies, but it kind of cuts against the burger grain. But after having done this for a
while, some days, you reach a frozen fry limit. I found mine that night. Did try them … [sigh].

Service & Presentation – 7.5 … I don’t fault the wait staff for not having sufficient answers to simple questions. They only answer what they know to
say. The service itself was good, and I kind of like the simple presentation at a pub.

Ambiance – (-1) … This place receives the first negative score in the history of the beautimousburger blog. It might not be “their fault” that the conversations taking place around me were way more graphic than for polite company (had little kids with me). But that was my experience. Don’tmake the news; just report it.

Bonus X – … No points, but some of the other dishes looked more inspired and more authentic. I won’t be returning, but if you do, there might be
something there to appreciate.

Rating — BBB-

Wild Rock Grill on Urbanspoon

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