Saturday, August 14, 2010


I don't know when this tradition started, but my friend Josh and I always take each other out to eat for our birthdays. We've gone out to some awesome places over the past many years, and this year we had a day planned out but not a place. We wanted somewhere casual and not too far away. We decided on a restaurant in Lakeview which is one of Lauren Wolf's favorites that she said I absolutely have to go to. With their bar sandwiches and mac n cheese, this place seemed like the perfect casual dinner we were hoping for. So Josh, my roommates, and I all went to the corner of Broadway and Belmont with high hopes.

Wilde is a gigantic bar that's basically separated into different seating areas by small dividers. There was plenty of seating inside when we got there, but it was a nice night out and we were hoping for some patio seating. They said it would be a 25 minute wait for outdoor seating so we grabbed a few beers at the bar. After 25 minutes none of the tables were close to finished on the patio so we just told the host to give us an inside table. Thankfully, the server was much better than the host and we had a very efficient and friendly meal.

I couldn't really wrap my head around the theme to this place. It was named after Oscar Wilde, but besides a few quotes on the wall there was no other relation. Also, they seem to be pitching themselves as an Irish Pub, but all of the highlighted menu items are American food.

The prices were a little too high for my taste. The sandwiches were all between $12 and $16, and if you wanted a cheaper option, the best you could do was a plain burger for $10. They're known pretty well for their Mac N Cheese, but a bowl of it was $13. Some of the more specialty items were closer to $20. Either way, with a drink, appetizer, and entree it came out to about $25 a person which wasn't really all that bad. On the other hand there are lots of cheaper bar food joints around.

The Food
We had to try the famous Mac N Cheese, so we got the appetizer portion to split among the four of us. The noodles were more like cavatappi than macaroni, but besides that it was an amazing dish. It was really creamy and cheesy inside with a nice exterior bread crumb crust. There were sauteed onions and tomatoes that were a nice textural addition. A nice level of garlic resonated throughout the whole dish as well adding a whole new level of flavor. I can see why people keep coming back for this dish.

 The Macaroni N Cheese

For our entrees Josh and Schneider got the Bison Burger, Steve got the Petite Filet, and I got the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich. Both of the guys liked their Bison Burgers a lot, and it came on a pretzel bun with smoked bacon, mozzarella, and an herb aioli. Steve thought the Filet was average and didn't live up to his expectations considering it was the special. The mashed potatoes it came with were way too heavy on the garlic, and the corn was poorly done and uneven after coming off the grill. I thought my Buffalo Chicken Sandwich was pretty tasty. The pretzel bun was a nice touch, but certain parts of the sandwich were tougher than others and I had some interesting bites as a result. The fries and sweet potato fries were pretty good but nothing too special.

 The Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

The Bison Burger

The Petite Filet

The Macaroni N Cheese was really great and possibly some of the best I've had in the city. The service turned out to be good once we got past the host, but the cost was just too high for what it was. The dishes were hit or miss, but the hits were good and the misses were average. That's why I'm giving Wilde 3 out of 5 Pearls.

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