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In the Spirit of Spontaneity: Dining at Oscar Wilde NYC

I have never been one for spontaneity. In fact, I try my very best to avoid it. I conduct my days with a planner, multiple to-do lists (both physical and digital) and a perfectly color-coordinated Google Calendar to ensure that my life goes according to plan. But on Sunday, when my roommate, Carson, asked me if I’d like to join her for an under-24-hour trip to New York City, something changed. An adventure that would require me to skip classes, buy last minute plane tickets from Logan to JFK, and, of course, scramble to make dinner reservations, seemed to override my love of planning and preparation. Carson needed to obtain a student visa from the Danish embassy for her study abroad plans next semester, and, desiring a travel-partner, extended an invite to me. We escaped Boston College’s campus in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, for the bustle, glamour, and anonymity of the city.

After a quick 45-minute flight spent admiring the glitter of city lights over the landscape, we touched down in New York. We were on a mission: cram as much into our schedule as possible. With that, I scoured my favorite app, OpenTable, for any sort of dinner reservation for two in Midtown. My search requirements included buzzwords like “trendy,” “young crowd,” and “quick bites,” which conjured over 100 results in a matter of seconds. Driven by the spirit of the Irish playwright, Oscar Wilde (located at 45 W 27th Street) opened in 1933 and pays homage to its namesake as one of the most prolific writers of the Victorian era. Knowing that I’d be studying at Wilde’s alma mater in the spring, Trinity College Dublin, Oscar Wilde was an easy choice. With a few clicks, our reservation was set.

After we trekked a mile through the biting cold air of the city, we arrived at the Oscar Wilde restaurant-front adorned with bundles of Christmas lights illuminating its doorway. The cutting chill of a November evening was abated by the gust of warmth as we entered. The cacophony of jazz music and chattering patrons welcomed us in as the young hostess showed us to our table. New York City’s longest bar at 118.5 feet, topped with Italian white marble, reigns over the space. The walls are artfully crowded with avant garde pieces: oil paintings, portraiture, and roughly 26 clocks all curiously set to 1:50PM, which, after a brief Google search, we realized was the time of Wilde’s death.

Gently sipping on a “Northern Nightingale” concocted with tart Sombra Mezcal and sweet orange and lime juice, I perused the small “New-American” menu. The short selection consisted of small plates which perfectly complemented our appetites and table space, as the restaurant was crowded with young professionals getting drinks with coworkers. We happily decided on crispy calamari, chili lime fries, and tuna tartare to split between us.The sweet, tangy spice of the french fries and the crispy freshness of the calamari was an elevated bar treat. The tuna tartare constructed with a buttery, rich, raw tuna, complemented by the earthiness of sesame oil and crunch of puffed noodle strips was the star of the night. Upon the shining white marble, engraved with Wilde’s aphorisms––“be yourself; everyone else is already taken” and “you can never be overdressed or overeducated”––plates were cleared and fall semester memories rehashed.

Carson and I eat dinner together almost every night in our apartment on Commonwealth Ave. and yet this communal experience of food, changed with the spontaneity of our trip to New York and pure friendship, was a restorative and transformative experience. Amidst the bustling patrons, I felt my friendship with Carson grow deeper. Regardless of the fact that I have slept only four feet away from her for almost three years now, there is still so much of her personhood and our friendship to explore. As I close the fall semester, knowing that many of my closest friends, including Carson, will be spread across the globe studying at numerous universities, I felt that this moment of reflection insured for me the closeness and necessity of these friendships, no matter where I am in the world. It was dining at Oscar Wilde that actualized my love for adventure and connection, especially over delicious meals with friends. 

Cover Image Courtesy of Oscar Wilde NYC

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