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“Great choice for family dinner” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Houdini's Escape Gastropub

Houdini's Escape Gastropub
1216 S Oneida St, Appleton, WI 54915
920-574-2616
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Ranked #17 of 294 Restaurants in Appleton
Cuisines: American, Gastropub
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night
Appleton, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
107 reviews 107 reviews
60 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
“Great choice for family dinner”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2013

The four of us enjoyed a birthday dinner here on a Friday recently. We were served by a knowledgeable and friendly host. The gastropub is quite large with an extensive bar at the front, a dining area with perhaps a dozen tables in the middle and a small, fenced in patio for good weather days. There is ample parking with the newly expanded lot. Two of us had the Friday perch (panko breaded gave it an extra crunch). The stuffed pork tenderloin was also excellent, if a touch salty. We really enjoyed the oxtail and goat cheese empanadas as an appetizer (the pastry is light and crisp and the meat is flavorful). The tomato basil bisque was served very hot and with a delicious dipping mini cheese sandwich. These are the types of food I expect to find at as gastropub. I like the fact there are also a choice of starches (potatoes, chips, Mac and cheese and veggies). They also serve, in draft, local microbrews from Stone Cellar. Paninis are around $10, Friday fish is $15 and appetizers are $5 to $10.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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57 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    26
    22
    5
    4
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Appleton, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
92 reviews 92 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
81 helpful votes 81 helpful votes
“Great potential turned to your average pub”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2013

We finally tried Houdini's thinking it was a venture by Chef Fortino Solano based on an article in the Post Crescent. I thought the atmosphere was great, nice decor, great beer selection and display, and I loved the small, open kitchen. The five tvs behind the bar are a bit tacky but you could stay in the back of the restaurant to avoid this.
The menu definitely screamed Solano and having dined at several of his restaurants, I was excited.
Our food came and was disappointing. The truffle mac was inedible. Our sandwiches were okay but just your average bar food. The homemade chips and sauce were yummy. Service was good. There was way too much food given which didn't take away from the items just thrown together.
I asked the bartender as we were paying if Fortino ever came in. She said the article in the paper was a misprint and Fortino was never associated with the restaurant. I laughed and said that clearly he was connected somehow because the menu is all based on his former restaurant Fortino's Bistro. She said she thinks the chef or owner used to work there.
Clearly this is a weak attempt at imitation that misses the mark and lands at your average bar food for about twice the cost.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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Combined Locks, Wisconsin
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“great experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2013

We tried this restaurant on the suggestion of a friend. The bar area feels intimate. The restaurant seems rather small, but they also have outdoor seating which I'd like to try when we go back. All the staff, from the bar tenders to the host, and our waitress were very friendly and outgoing, and very welcoming. The menu was eclectic. I liked how they grouped meals as small, medium, and large plates and sides were called starches. The little mini basket of beet and sweet potato chips was fun and delicious. I had a seasonal crab sandwich with slaw. The clam chowder was different but the best I ever had. I like the fact that the menu had different menu items not found elsewhere. Menu prices varied but not unreasonable. I will definitely go back.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Menasha, Wisconsin
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Nice place, Great staff, Excellent food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2013

I've been in the hospitality biz for over 10 years and this place is top notch. I had a 1/2 lb gastro burger it was cooked perfectly and had excellent flavor ,pub fries also excellent, and a cup of Wisconsin beer brat soup also excellent. My wife had the special perch sandwich with a great aoli, truffle mac n cheese, French onion soup, which I finished off for her because it was so big. But all of it was just fabulous. The bartender's were really busy, but so friendly and attentive, they have a huge bottle beer selection, and answered all our questions with a smile and made nice small talk. We will be back!

  • Visited September 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sherwood, Wisconsin
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Fish tacos to die for!! Oh, and more!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2013

We have been to Houdini's Escape for lunch and dinner and have been extremely happy with the service and food. The fish tacos are excellent and would highly recommend them. They have big chunks of avocado included which is a nice addition. The Caesar Salad is excellent and is romaine lettuce cut in half and grilled with a nice mellow sauce. You can also add grilled chicken which is also very flavorful. The southwestern Crab salad is very good and spicy and has a full soft shell crab on top.Today we had lunch with a friend and I had the roasted Veggie Panini and it was extremely flavorful and good for a veggie sandwich. For my side I kept with the veggie theme and had the roasted veggies they were grilled perfectly. Our friend had the Wisconsin Panini and said it was very good and the side of truffle mac and cheese was excellent also. I think I like the food here so much because I like the grill taste. I'm not sure what people are saying about the service. We were there the week they grand opened and numerous times since, and the staff is usually bending over backward to serve us. My husband thought he walked into heaven when he saw the beer cooler. I don't know how many beers they have but the presentation in the cooler is priceless! And the beer is COLD!

  • Visited August 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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