By Robin Garr
One cloudy, stormy looking March afternoon last year, when lockdown had just begun and we all were starting to reckon with the scary reality that the pandemic was here to stay for a while, I got out and walked through a completely deserted Westport Village.
I walked up to the big windows at Wild Eggs and saw an eerie scene, chairs perched upside down on tables in the empty room, and a vacant expanse of empty parking lot reflected in the big plate glass windows.
In that moment I decided to come back for a meal, or maybe a few, when things returned to normal.
So recently, with vaccinations widespread and Governor Andy Beshear’s restrictions going away, it was time to return, and so I did. Twice.
I’m delighted to report that things are very much back to normal, with food and service up to Wild Eggs’ high standard.
It doesn’t seem as if it’s been 14 years since the first Wild Eggs opened on Dutchmans Lane in 2007. I speculated at the time, based on its attractive egg-centric imaging and pretty pastel colors, that the owners had expansion plans. Indeed, Wild Eggs has grown into a regional mini-chain of more than a dozen properties, including a half-dozen around Louisville and expansion units spreading as far as Lexington and Bowling Green, Ky., Cincinnati and Indianapolis.
The menu selections appear to be consistent across the properties, although local pricing may vary. Nearly two dozen egg dishes are mostly priced between $11.49 and $16.99, most built with two or three eggs and your choice of home fries, grits, or a blueberry or everything muffin on the side. You can dine economically on Zax I Am eggs ($8.69), a diner style plate with home fries and an everything muffin, or a build-your-own omelet or scramble ($9.49 plus upcharges for cheeses and other fillings).
Don’t care for eggs? Wild Eggs, despite its name, has you covered with a half-dozen egg-free breakfast entrees like buffalo chicken topped with cheeses ($11.99) and kitchen-sink nachos ($13.99), or traditional breakfast basics such as oatmeal with toppings or biscuits and gravy (each $8.49).
A half-dozen pancake and waffle meals range in price from $8.99 (for a Belgian waffle or big stack of buttermilk pancakes) to $12.99 (for chicken and waffle with bacon). Seven burgers and sandwiches, served with choice of french fries or home fries, are $10.49 (for a breakfast sandwich with scrambled eggs and cheddar) to $12.99 (for Laredo steak and cheese on grilled sourdough).
A limited bar selection offers a bloody mary, mimosa, tequila sunrise, and liquor-spiked coffee drinks, all under $10. Fresh coffee is $2.99, and iced tea is $2.99.
We enjoyed several dishes during two visits.
The veggie bennie florentine ($11.49) is one of a trio of “bennie” dishes made in homage to classic eggs benedict. This version is decidedly greener and possibly slightly more healthy than the original. It starts with a split english muffin as base and tops each half with a pile of Wild Eggs’ garlicky, lightly sauteed fresh spinach leaves and a spoonful of perfectly chopped fresh-tomato brunoise, then drops a perfect, runny poached egg on each half. Rich, sunrise-gold hollandaise is spooned over each, then sprinkled with spicy paprika. On the side came a bowl of the grits of the day, a rich and delicious mix of cheddar, cream, and coarse-grained grits.
The Wild Patty Melt ($11.99) is like a burger with a college education, placing a half-pound patty and, pepperjack cheese between grilled sourdough slices with bourbon-glazed sauteed onions and horseradish aioli. The fresh Angus beef patty came well-done – no option was offered – and the combination of pepper jack and horseradish imparted a distinct kick. Fries on the side were first-rate, long, golden and firm, crisp exterior cloaking tender, steaming potato within.
The ACE of a BLT ($11.99), pictured at the top of the page, gets its obscure name from extra ingredients that add mass and flavor to the traditional bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Say hello to avocado, cheddar, and a fried egg on top: A.C.E. With chopped, crisp lettuce and a thick slice of juicy, bright-red tomato, it was built on thick-sliced sourdough toast.
An everything muffin on the side was so good that we got another a la carte ($2.49). “Everything” may be a bit of a misnomer – it lacks some of the goodies that you’ll find on a traditional everything bagel. But you know what? I don’t care. It’s delicious in its own right, an alluring if unexpected combination of sweet and savory. It’s loaded with poppy seeds and onion powder, crunchy on top and tender within.
Call it breakfast or call it dessert: Thick, crisp, and fresh from the griddle, with maple syrup and butter, Wild Eggs’ Belgian waffle ($8.99) is a delight. Almost as big as the plate it comes on, it’s a meal in itself, especially with a thick-cut slice of salty, savory ham ($4.49) on the side.
Our first visit rang up a $39.15 tab for three, plus a 20 percent tip. Back a few days later, the toll was $28.06 for two, plus a $5.61 tip.