For a restaurant named after Oscar Wilde, the decor didn’t seem witty nor elegant. I think it is inspired by Irish pub design – lots of dark oak wood paneling. Very dark. Very cozy. Very loud. The interior seems very out of place compared to the restaurants in the neighborhood which have a more minimalist design – but that might be a good thing.
We put our name on the wait list and made our way to the back bar where we sipped Coke and talked about our day. An empty table sat nearby all the way in the back – a booth – I assumed it was probably reserved. We looked through the menu and they have a nice collection of entrees, some inspired by Irish pub food (bangers/mash). Ron decided to have the New York Strip and I was probably going to have one of the chicken dishes.
I think Wilde is an indicator of the encroachment of straight couples fleeing the higher rents/mortgages in Lincoln Park. I often call this the tyranny of the double-wide stroller (the SUV of the sidewalks). For being named after one of the pre-eminent men of letters of the English language and one of the most witty and flamboyant and first out/proud gay men of Western culture, Wilde is a very straight restaurant. Is that good? Bad? I dunno – just a bit surprising. Then again if I want fagged up eateries Ping Pong is just a few blocks up.
30 minutes into our supposed 20 minute wait, a couple comes in to wait next to us at the bar. A tubby waiter asks them if they are waiting for a table and they reply yes. He escorts them to the empty table next to us that I’d assumed was reserved. They sit down and are enjoying glasses of wine in due time. Ron and I grab our coats and leave, explaining to the hostess on the way out that there must be some miscommunication between the waitstaff and them.
Now we know that I can turn into a total twunt when I am 1) hungry and 2) cold. Ron was as well – plus he’d been having New York strip fantasies for half and hour now. We walked up to Jack’s on Halsted and walked right in, were seated immediately and quickly chomping on bread, butter and some yummy crab cakes. I had the filet. Ron had the NY strip. We left satisfied.
Sorry, Wilde. You didn’t get us this time around. Probably some edges to iron out – but you were packed last night so it looks like you won’t be hurting for our business. Wilde will be a great restaurant for folks wanting a Irish-pub atmosphere in a cozy setting – just get a reservation or go on a weekday. If the wait is too long and you must have steak, walk up to Jack’s on Halsted (and Belmont) and waltz right in.