First impressions are hard to shake. Last Friday, my partners and I drove by, saw that it had reopened under its new name, and stopped in. No sooner had we walked in, we were told the Friday buffet was no longer going on. Moreover, as I was met by two bubbly white women, I looked around and saw several hipsters and heard modern alternative music playing. It was like that summer vacation where your preppy friend becomes the emo-goth princess...but insists that it's legit and not just a phase.
I turned around and walked out...then fumed as I thought about a "plan B" buffet for the night.
I'm a fat man. I'm an emotional man. I love food. I own these parts of my person with no shame. So I may have gotten a bit emotional that Friday night...or it may have been my negative-number blood sugar and need for a virtual troth to correct it. Either way, I thought today that I'd make another attempt at Wild Cook's, to see if they at least had a lunch buffet.
|New seating style in the back|
|The rear dining room|
|The new buffet area|
The TV was still on the old column that it had been mounted to before the change in owners. They were playing Indian music videos. My recent "thing" has been to sneak out and catch the Bollywood films at the local Regal Crossroads 20, so I thought that it gave the atmosphere a nice, modern touch. I don't dislike traditional Indian music, but if Wild Cook's is looking to break away from India Mahal's old image, they're better served by hipper, more modern music. It still creates atmosphere, but not the cliche.
|Oh, lamb saag, I thought I almost lost you...|
Sadly, though, he said that the evening buffets were discontinued. As long as lunch was an option, I can live with that. He also mentioned that he wanted to give his staff a break once a week, so he was closing Sundays. Again, I can live with that.
It's not that I wanted to dislike Wild Cook's when I went back today (lamb saag addiction knows no enemies, and any potential pusher is just that), I just didn't have that same sense of excitement that I had the Friday before...the one quickly dashed when it seemed that a favorite eatery had been turned into Raleigh's next-big-hipster-fad-diner. Bluntly stated, they had to work to win me over, and they did just that. The quality of the food is still there, and getting better. The dining room has been vastly improved, and a new, enthusiastic chef has brought energy to the joint. Though the location alone means that Wild Cook's will have to live in India Mahal's shadow for a few years--Wild Cook's Indian Grill took the best of its predecessor's qualities and polished the rough edges. For veterans of Raleigh's Indian restaurant scene, it's worth a revisit. For newbies, it's a good place to jump on--especially with the lunch buffet.
4/5 on Yelp