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Restaurants & Bars 7

Wild Hare in Highland Park - lengthy review

Will Owen | Mar 5, 200612:43 AM

Sometime before the Hall Monitors threw my query off this board for gross irrelevancy, a couple of Hounds mentioned Wild Hare as a good place for a drinks gathering, mentioning among other things that their appetizers were really good. Right on all counts!

First thing that happened was that the bartender, who was certainly young enough to be my granddaughter, assured me that she knew what a Real Martini was and proceeded to prove it. She did equally well with such diverse refreshments as a Manhattan and a couple of Cosmopolitans. Then we settled into a big cushy booth at the back and started eyeballing the menu. The first two pages are devoted to food, the rest to beverages. We thought the sausage plate, the sirloin rolls, the fried ravioli and the Belgian fries looked promising, and ordered a large portion of each. The sausage plate was a nice assortment from Schreiner's up in Montrose, a pile of sliced bratwurst, weisswurst and Polish sausage with mustard, dressed greens and cornichons; the fries came with both a chipotle catsup and a garlic aioli, very yummy; the ravioli, which I wanted to love, were adequate with a nice fresh marinara, and the sirloin rolls were just curled-up pieces of steak. Eh.
But fronting all this was a very nice long-oval bucket of bread and real live butter, sliced down to the bottom crust and creating languishing murmurs from all the bread freaks in the crowd.

We moved on, I to a Pasadena-made Craftsman India Pale Ale, which was quite nice enough if a little cloying on the finish, and asked for the cheese plate and some more of those fries, please. By the time this was served, we got our third bucket of bread, for which we had not really had to ask - chalk another ten points for service. The cheese was all good, being a blue, a Pont l'Eveque, a P'tit Basque and a Brie, but it was also served damn near ice-cold - a shame, because it was really good stuff and deserved better. But then our attendant, Ana, showed up with a kind of Wheel Of Fortune apparatus and announced that we were going to spin for shots. One of us volunteered and spun the wheel, which landed on Apple Pie, and subsequently Ana brought to the table a batch of shot glasses bearing a clear fluid which, when tossed back, provided the sensation of being dragged at light speed through a Christmas-themed crafts booth, one with the big mess of boiling potpourri going in the back, with one's mouth open. Only more alcoholic.

We were told that the booths are comfy, and they are, and that the appetizers are really swell, and they definitely are. In addition, the jukebox is stuffed with all our faves, the clientele and personnel are more than pleasant, and while it ain't dirt cheap it's reasonable: we got out for exactly $20 a head plus tip - it was $140 for a table of seven. Looks to me like we all have a new favorite watering hole.

They are about to add quite a few things to the menu in the way of sandwiches and pub grub. I guess I should consider it my duty to keep an eye on this...

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