Houdini’s Escape Gastropub [Southwestern Crab Salad]
As you may recall, Food in the Fox’s first visit to the new Houdini’s Escape Gastropub was less than stellar. In fact, it was downright not good. We even sent an appetizer back to the kitchen on that trip. As fate would have it, THRIVE Lunch drew us back to the former Recovery Room location near the hospital to give it another go and I’m pleased to say the experience did improve.
Things Get Better at Houdini’s
We’ll start with little compare and contrast. The first time at Houdini’s we were ignored for a good 10+ minutes before the wait staff bothered to come around. Okay, it was busy, but still. Had we not been on a mission specifically to eat at Houdini’s we would have been long gone. This time Houdini’s was expecting our group so we had two servers assigned to our section and water and menus waiting for us, so service was immediate and spot on. A big +1 there.
As far as food, on our previous visit we ordered the Wisconsin Farm Fresh Bruschetta (grease, an easy over egg, bacon/ham, pesto, and cheese on toast) and after a bite or two that particular lard and salt infused bomb it was sent back to the kitchen (the first and so far last time Food in the Fox ever sent anything back). Today, I ordered a southwestern crab side salad that came in at $9.00. A couple of my neighbors ordered the full lunch version of the salad, which was $13.00 and about twice the size of the side salad I ordered. The southwestern crab salad was a decently sized chunk of deep fried crab over a bed of arugula, corn, black beans, spicy southwestern chipotle sauce, and another sauce that tasted like a combo of salsa and cocktail sauce. There was a lot of nice flavor combinations to be found in the small dish. You got a little savory seafood flavor from the crab, some coolness from the arugula and vegetables, and a lot of spicy goodness from the sauces. All in all not a bad mix.
So the real question is, “Will I be back?” Eh. It’s hard to say. It’s a bit pricey and so far has scored one strong miss and one decent hit. Maybe a third trip is in store that will serve as a tiebreaker. Or maybe I’ll go and try a random beer from the impressive bottle display behind the bar. We’ll see.
Houdini’s Escape Gastropub
1216 S. Oneida Street
Appleton, WI 54915