Restaurant Review: Duchamp, Wicker Park

The night before we headed out on our family vacation Courtney and I got an evening sans baby to go grab dinner before heading out to the suburbs to meet-up with the in-laws and baby in advance of our departure the next day. We basically needed to kill an hour while traffic abated.

We had a hard time figuring out where to go and Courtney wanted something casual. I wanted something new and different. I won! We headed to Duchamp which took over the old Meritage location. We had gone to Meritage many times over the years, mostly while Dirk was still there who remembers my wife lovingly as the woman who wanted a chocolate dessert dammit.

Anyway, the new design of Duchamp is nice and modern, but dark as heck. Maybe that’s romantic but at 5:15 p.m. with plenty of summer light, it was too dark. We decided to sit outside which was nicely opened up, but had a lot of seagrass type plantings that seemed to attract huge flies. Luckily the bugs stayed away from us. The communal tables didn’t bother us because at that time of night there was only one other couple seated.

We took in the menu ordered a couple nice glasses of wine and relaxed. It was a very nice atmosphere despite the euro-club beats coming out of some speakers nearby. Can someone explain to me WHY restaurants play this type of music? It’s extremely annoying.

Our appetizer was the lobster pizza which was actually very good and came out in the proper amount of time. There might have been a tad too much oil on top but otherwise, terrific. So far so good.

Then we waited. And waited for the main course. Again, we’re one of now three tables at the restaurant. My braised pork and Courtney’s take on steak and eggs came out at the same time. Mine was piping hot, hers was cold. Cold steak is fine on a salad but that’s not what she ordered. The quiche that made up the egg part of the dish was also cold. We complained (at $20 a plate I complain about stuff like this) and the waitress apologized and brought back the same plate slightly warmed back out. Again we complained and the manager came out, felt the dish, which was not warm, and apologized. We had to eat because we didn’t have time to go somewhere else and the steak did taste good. It was just cold.

My braised pork was quite tasty, but I find it funny that this dish is getting so popular these days and is essentially the same as my grandmothers brisket in terms of flavor of the sauce. But the pork itself was tender and moist.

The manager took the price of the steak off the bill, as he should, and we tipped well, because the waitress was friendly.

We want to try it again, but won’t rush back. I would guess with the steak added back the bill would have been around $80 for two main dishes, one small dish and two glasses of wine. Which is about what I would want to spend there.