In my research on Chicago gluten-free options there was one place that got me very excited- Wildfire (well one of many, but I was particularly excited about Wildfire). A blog post or Yelp review had mentioned its extensive gluten-free menu and I found one on their website. I was kind of confused for a second though, because on the menu I wasn’t finding any GF symbols or something to designate what was gluten-free. It just looked like the regular menu. Then I went back and clicked on what was labeled as the regular menu and realized that Wildfire’s gluten-free menu is just so large it looks like a regular menu!
I knew I was going to run into some trouble of wanting to try too many different things… They had French onion soup, baked goat cheese, spinach and artichoke fondue, pizza, pasta, steaks, ribs, multiple sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, plus several desserts… I was definitely in trouble.
I was making plans with my friend for Saturday night and Sunday (Thursday through Saturday afternoon was family time) and she was open to trying Wildfire. She had actually been wanting to try it out for a while. We made a reservation for Saturday night, which time wise fit perfectly before going out with friends in River North.
Wildfire’s vibe is an upscale American restaurant. It reminded me of steakhouses I’d been to in downtown Chicago with my grandfather. I couldn’t admire the decor too much though because I had some decisions to make! I couldn’t depend on leftovers since we were going straight out afterwards. However my friend seemed open to helping me tackle a number of things. My decision was made a bit more difficult when they brought gluten-free bread to the table… While you gotta love complimentary gluten-free bread, it left less room in my stomach for all the dishes I wanted to try…
I knew I needed to try the French onion soup. I sometimes like onions, sometime don’t, but I’d never had French onion soup (regular or gluten-free) nor had I seen gluten-free versions elsewhere. I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity. I also really wanted to try the baked goat cheese. There is a baked brie at an Italian restaurant here in Miami- Perricone’s- and it always looked pretty incredible. Since I had gotten a burger the night before at Wilde’s, I decided to go for a steak sandwich this time. I always need to get the mac and cheese when it’s gluten-free and on the menu, so I got that on the side (although not sure if it could live up to Wilde’s). Quite the undertaking, but I knew I could do it!
The gluten-free bread they brought out in itself was very delicious. It was like a burger bun, but still really good. It was toasted and crispy with a creamy butter on the side. It definitely didn’t seem to be gluten-free bread/bun from a bag in a grocery store.
Next the baked goat cheese came out. It was different than I was expecting, which was a slight let down. The baked brie at the Italian restaurant in Miami is like a dough pastry stuffed with brie. This was brie in a tomato sauce with flatbread on the side. That would have been obvious if I had read the menu more carefully. Still was delicious and the cheese was very creamy. I liked the combination of the tomato sauce and cheese on top of the flatbread.
The French onion soup came out next and it was easily my favorite. The breadcrumbs soaked in a delicious broth and the cheese melted on top. I realize why people like this so much. The combination of delicious flavors and textures. Writing this is making my mouth water a bit thinking about that soup. I don’t have experiences with regular French onion soup, but I would guess Wildfire’s gluten-free is a very excellent version.
The meal wrapped up with the gluten-free steak sandwich and the mac and cheese. I was doing pretty well and felt I could power through, despite the bread, the baked goat cheese (shared with my friend), and the French onion soup. The steak sandwich came out on the same bun as the “bread” at the beginning. The menu said this was their housemade bun. It was again delicious and the steak made for a filling sandwich. I think any burger or sandwich on this bun would be worth a try.
The mac and cheese was pretty solid for gluten-free macaroni and cheese. The night before I had the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had, so it was kind of hard for Wildfire’s to follow it up. The noodles were pretty good and it came in both a cheese cream sauce and sprinkled cheese on top. I wish the sprinkled cheese had been more melted and the cream sauce was a little watery, but it still tasted good. A worthy mac and cheese for gluten-frees who are fans and are eating at Wildfire.
I was very excited to visit Wildfire and the meal did not disappoint. There is just so much to choose from. The gluten-free menu is huge! My favorites were the French onion soup and the delicious gluten-free bun (eaten as either bread or on top of the steak sandwich). The baked goat cheese and mac and cheese were also very solid. It’s crazy to think there was so much more I didn’t try! Wildfire was a bit pricey, but well worth it for the experience and the quality of the restaurant. Wildfire is a great fancy meal or date/anniversary site for all eaters. Gluten-frees in Chicago will really enjoy all the gluten-free options (and delicious ones at that). Keep Wildfire at the top of your list for gluten-free adventures in Chicago!
Wildfire- 159 W. Erie, Chicago, IL (other locations across Chicagoland, plus Minnesota and Virginia)