The over-the-top Victorian look of Oscar Wilde on 27th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues is a marvel to behold. There are marble fireplaces, the longest bar in New York (at an incredible 118 feet), elaborate Victorian ceiling lamps, randomly placed oddball vintage furniture and portraits of the man himself, Oscar Wilde. I swear that I even stumbled upon a repurposed Holy Water font in the middle of the room! There is enough bric-a-brac here to spend a lifetime looking at it; Oscar Wilde is as much an accidental museum of Victoriana as it is a restaurant.
The food is solid American/gastropub with some unexpected British and Irish bar fare. A lot of regulars come here for the Shepherd’s Pie and Irish Bangers & Meatballs. I would wager that this is the only place in town where you can get a Grilled Irish Skellig which is a sandwich made with both Brie and Irish Cheddar and served on country white bread.
My dining partner Gail and I started out by sharing an appetizer called Broccomole which is guacamole made with both broccoli and avocado that has been spiced up with red pepper flakes–then served with Thai Chili and large taro chips. This was a unique taste sensation and definitely a healthier menu option. There are many salad choices for the health-conscious as well.
Also on the healthy side, we shared the wonderful beet tartare salad which was chunks of fresh beets vinaigrette style with capers and topped with creme fraiche. This is a total winner that you cannot go wrong with.
Next up was the fried mozzarella with lemon jelly. The mozzarella was fried to a light golden color and nice and stretchy when you bit into it. The homemade lemon jelly was an odd choice for a condiment but it worked. It was like having sweet, chewy and fruity taste sensations all together and the portion size was incredibly filling as well.
We then got the wonderful roast Brussels Sprouts which had chunks of bacon and were cooked on the firm side. They were crunchy and tasted freshly picked from a local farm.
We both had the wonderful culotte steak which comes with your choice of potato. Both the French fries and mashed potatoes were made fresh and pretty darn “classic” tasting (I had the fried and they were so perfectly golden and delicious). The culotte steak was so tender and juicy that we thought it had been pounded and marinated but our server told us that was not the case.
For dessert, my dining partner Gail and I shared the pear tart and the Oreo Cookie Pie. The pear tart was actually a lovely pear compote with the texture of pie filling underneath disks of flaky pie crust. It was really tasty and was not overly sweet like some pear desserts can be. There was homemade sea salt caramel ice cream on the plate to top things off right for use diehard a la mode fans!
The Oreo Cookie Pie really just used the cookie part of the Oreo. So it was essentially chocolate cookie crumbs packed on top of a large quantity of whipped cream and strawberries. The strawberry slices were lined around the outer edges and made the dessert look very arty and pretty. The Oreo Cookie Pie was light and refreshing even though heavy cream was used–the talented pastry chef somehow got the filling to be very light and fluffy.
The official website of this fascinating vintage look eatery is www.oscarwildenyc.com. It is a fun place for large gatherings like birthday parties and workers looking to hang around at a large table and have drinks for a couple of hours. Oscar Wilde is kid-friendly and there are plenty of items for wee one’s palates including a highly heralded cheeseburger. Oscar Wilde is as unforgettable as the witty author it is named for and is situated in a space that once was New York’s prohibition headquarters during the 1920s—so it is ironic that the city’s longest bar is here. Oscar Wilde has an incredible array of unique house drinks and an extensive wine list. Their brunch is considered one of the NoMad/Flat Iron District’s great deals but their $15 lunch keeps the place packed every weekday from noon to about 2:30.