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The dish - what's new in city dining
Wild Earth


December 2008

The recent $240 million expansion of Potawatomi Bingo & Casino is good news for two kinds of people: those who like to play the odds and those who prefer not to, particularly when it comes to dining.

Potawatomi’s new upscale casual restaurant, Wild Earth, definitely falls in that second category.

During my past few dining experiences prior to visiting Wild Earth, I’ve found myself in a position that most people find themselves in on occasion: After perusing the menu, nothing made my mouth instantly water in anticipation.

Just the opposite happened during two recent visits to Wild Earth.

Fortunately, my lunch companion and I decided to share, and we collaboratively decided on a flatbread featuring rock shrimp accented by pancetta, baby spinach and provolone cheese and a pistachio-crusted chicken sandwich. We both started with cups of Wild Earth’s signature soup: Menomonee Valley Wild Rice Chowder.

While all three items were hits, the chowder was the standout with its smoked ham and roasted sweet corn. Its presentation — in a flat-profile bowl rather than a lunchtime cup ­— was a subtle reminder that we’d gone a bit upscale.

There is little difference between the lunch and dinner menu at Wild Earth, so on a later visit, my dining companion tried more substantial choices, starting with Wild King Salmon Satay and following up with the Strauss Veal and Wild Mushroom Meatloaf and a fire-roasted New York Strip Steak with Béarnaise Butter.

"Our menu reflects the different seasons of the year and the fresh, seasonal produce that is available to us," says chef Audrey Vanenburgh. "We’ve put a positive emphasis on the true flavors of regional food; you won’t see a lot of sauces here."

That approach also reflects in the design of the restaurant, which feels intimate in the Potawatomi complex. It’s very earthy and organic, with rich hues and natural elements. The service is equally as warm.

Its location is also ideal — it’s a short walk to the parking complex in one direction and a great place to stop if your plans include a show at the Northern Lights Theater … or a date with Lady Luck later in the evening. As part of the Potawatomi Bingo & Casino complex, Wild Earth is also a child-free restaurant, as all guests must be 18 to enter.

»Wild Earth
Potawatomi Bingo & Casino
1721 W. Canal St., Milwaukee
(800) PAYS-BIG


This story ran in the December 2008 issue of: