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
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.
Potawatomi Bingo & Casino
1721 W. Canal St., Milwaukee