159 W. Erie St., Chicago, (312) 787-9000.
Steaks/Lobster, Barbecue/Ribs. Dinner: seven days.
Open late: Friday & Saturday till 11.
Wildfire, like almost every Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, traffics in nostalgia. It’s a replica of a 40s-era wood-paneled supper club, complete with Sinatra on the sound system, stiff drinks at the bar, and massive black-and-white photos of GIs on furlough doing the Lindy Hop with pretty girls. The menu is a throwback too. Meat predominates–steaks, chops, and barbecue. The baby back ribs are OK for ribs served in a place with white tablecloths, juicy and meaty though without the smoky resilience of a rib tended by a watchful pit master. I’d stick to steak on future visits, however. The bone-in rib eye I jealously watched the German tourist at the next table devour was massive, and the trio of filets mignons crusted in your choice of rubs looked great. Other parts of the menu give the nod to more recent decades: not too many Sinatra hangouts served macadamia-crusted halibut or touted their strategic partnerships with internationally distributed megabrands like Geyser Peak or BelGioioso.