Wild Roots is a hidden gem in a rough(ish) area. The newest cuisine in Milwaukee features Seed to Table dining by Chef Thi Cao and is located on Becher Street. Not an area typically first thought of when you are looking for handmade cuisine, but trust me, you’ll be coming back to this neck of the woods after one visit.
The restaurant partners with Big City Greens, which provides the restaurant with Wisconsin’s locally foraged and farmed produce. With fresh ingredients, they can make dishes for everyone, meat-eaters and vegetarians alike! If seafood is more your thing, then you’re also in reliable hands when visiting Wild Roots.
A big plus to the place’s location is parking, which is made up of an abundance of street parking. In addition, the roads are broad enough so you can feel comfortable parking on the street without opening your door and getting it taken off by oncoming traffic. Also, not all people are into convertible-style vehicles, so this is a big plus.
Once you step inside the door, you are instantly taken aback by the beauty of the place. The saying diamond in the rough applies here, and the outside area is the beast where Wild Roots is the beauty…okay, enough puns, you get it.
Earthy color tones make you feel the comfort of mother nature wrapped around you, which hits home once you notice the woodwork decor mounted around the entire space. It’s simplistic, natural, and the dark blue and green hues put a modern touch to the whole place. You feel relaxed but instantly know you’re in a posh area that will soon blow up in the trend meter and become a Wisconsin favorite.
Seating is offered in both a booth and table format, with seats also available at the bar. A whole line of windows lines the length of the restaurant, which is very reminiscent of restaurants in Chicago or New York. The entire space is just screaming for patrons to take pictures, and you can be sitting anywhere and get a solid Instagram-worthy picture!
The artwork on the wall matched the table centerpieces, which I thought was charming and made the whole dining experience feel put together. The plates are eye-catching. They remind me of the precious china my grandmother used to have, the white with the blue detail, except redone with modern colors and patterns. Can whoever design this place please renovate my kitchen? Thanks!
One of the big standouts to me when I first looked at the menu was the price of the drinks: super affordable, which means you don’t feel guilty buying two. Each cocktail was a classic with a twist, and I especially liked the use of NO SIMPLE SYRUP! Instead, they use aged maple syrup, which makes a standout of a difference. Restaurants everywhere need to take note and get on Wild Roots level because once people have fresh cocktails, they don’t want to go back to simple ones.
I got the living in G(S)in which consisted of City of London gin, freshly squeezed lemon juice, Cava sparkling wine, and cassis; it was delicious and, wait for it, only $7! They also offer beer that ranges in price from $3-$5, wine, juice, Brew City Soda, and Sun Drop Lemon Lime Soda, Shawano, WI.
Any place with a solid cocktail list is a sure-fire sign the food itself will be the bomb dot com.
I don’t quite know how even to categorize this style of food because it embodies so many different ones. It’s a bit of Asian fusion, meets Italian, meets comfort food. Plates here are paired out of their food genre realm and made into never-before tasted dishes. I can promise you containers here are unlike any you will find anywhere else, and that’s one of the standout reasons people will be coming back for more.
Typically, when I eat out, I love one standout quality of the meal and tend not to be impressed with the rest. Sometimes I will love the sauce, but not what the sauce is on, or I will love a single ingredient but don’t care for what it is paired with. Here, however, I had none of those feelings. Instead, I admired the food paired all together while still appreciating the individual components for what they were. The sauce, the noodles, the vegetables, and how they all came together in my mouth was a real treat to the tongue and my tummy. I’m a foodie, and meals are my hobby; what can I say? I can’t help but get romantic about it.
I appreciate the dish flavors because they are an accumulation of the entire dish having the ability to work and bounce off each other. As a result, each item comes together, creating one absolute masterpiece.
Wild Roots doesn’t hide the dish with just one standout feature; they know how to use all types of spices and herbs in complete unison. These dishes are so killer because the food itself is made of the highest quality ingredients. So each dish can stand out through and through and doesn’t hide behind a single shining component like a sauce or spice.
I started with the muscles, which came with fries on top. As stated above, I was happy the broth didn’t taste like one giant salt bomb. The muscles themselves were huge, and I was surprised at how significant the overall portion was. I almost asked for ketchup to dip my fries in but thought maybe that would be rude to the chief, so I dropped it in the broth, and that was the better way to go!
You could for sure get this as a meal and be more than full! No shame will be felt in telling you the following: I kept funneling the broth with the shells into my mouth and finally had to ask the waitress to take the bowl away because I was one second away from titling it up and just pouring the last of it down my throat like a god damn cavewomen. I pinched myself to be classy, reminded myself I was out in public, and moved on to my main course.
I got the Parisian Gnocchi; mushroom broth, arugula pesto, shiitake mushrooms, butternut squash, Ramp Pasta Carbonara; wild foraged ramps, egg yolk, bacon, pecorino, garlic confit, chili flakes, bacon. We also got a side of sourdough bread which was great to use as a vessel to get the sauce into our mouths.
Let’s start with the Gnocchi. For those who know what Gnocchi is but don’t’ know what it is, yeah, I’m looking at you, Linda; basically, it’s thick, small, and soft dough dumplings that may be made from semolina, ordinary wheat flour, egg, cheese, potato, breadcrumbs, cornmeal, or similar ingredients. I’ve had good Gnocchi, bad Gnocchi, and this dish showed me Gnocchi that was out of this world, hit the moon and the stars type of Gnocchi.
The broth that the Gnocchi came in was of medium density and was unparalleled to any broth I’ve ever previously tasted in my life. Think Italian pesto meets Asian pho, which leaves you with a flavor duo that can’t be put into words. Name a more iconic duo after trying this, and I’ll give you a million bucks. When paired with the mushrooms and the squash, it rounds out to be one whole and filling dish.
My significant other got the Pasta Carbonara which he, forcefully shared with me. It was distinct from any different carbonara I’ve tasted, which sounds cliche, of course, because you’re thinking “everyone says that,” but here, I mean it. It was lighter than other carbonaras that are typically made with an abundance of cream and sauce. Being a more delicate dish makes it easier to eat the entire meal without feeling overly bloated and sick. The bacon found atop the plate was thick cut bacon which means you could genuinely chew it, and not that thin crap places often try to pass as bacon that slides down your throat.
We are both typically Vegan, and when we randomly decide to eat meat or dairy, we tend to dissect it more than those who eat it every day. You appreciate the meat and dairy more and can detect the difference in all the components. For those who are Vegan but will cheat if the meal is worthy enough, you want to come here!
Dinner and brunch are served here, making it excellent for a date night or your Saturday brunch date with the girls!
Wild Roots Restaurant Info
6807 West Becher Street
West Allis, Wisconsin, 53219
Happy Hour Food & Drink:
Tue – Sat 4pm – 6pm
Sat & Sun 10am-2pm
While this review might seem over the top, I stand behind my words. Being a Gold Yelp Elite and traveling for a living, I have lived and been fortunate enough to try hundreds of restaurants in hundreds of cities. I would take Wild Roots and put it up against the top restaurants in any city! I hope more restaurants like this come to West Allis and help turn the city into a new hot spot! There is significant potential for it to grow and become a sought-after Wisconsin destination. Restaurants like this are what more communities need to be a spot people can come together for great food, excellent drinks, and an even better time!
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