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Review: Paramount Room

By Anthony Todd in Food on Nov 20, 2009 5:20PM

PRoomLogo.jpg It’s not often that we give a positive review to a restaurant that started flooding during our meal. Heck, it’s not often that we EXPERIENCE a flood during our meal - though the urge to pair up and make like Noah’s animals gave our date a certain sense of urgency. But Paramount Room is an exception. An upscale pub from the group behind the popular Roscoe Village spots Kitsch’n and Volo Restaurant Wine Bar, Paramount Room is a dark, atmospheric dive that, in another time, would’ve been filled with smoke and gangsters.

We were drawn to Paramount Room by the promise of their “famous” $9 Kobe beef burgers, offered nightly. The burger did not disappoint - tender, juicy and filled with a spicy flavor, we’d return for it in an instant. The real surprise, however, was not the bargain burger, but the accompaniment: tempura-fried green beans. The beans are an optional stand-in for French fries, and we’ve been converted. We stole them off of our companion’s plate and were tempted to order an entire plate, but the rest of the menu’s temptations diverted our attention.

Paramount Room sticks to the Gastropub formula, offering well-made, inexpensive-yet-interesting dishes that stick to the ribs and leave you feeling happy. Many of the dishes have an old-fashioned air to them, including steak tartare and oysters on the half-shell, but others are more modern. The aforementioned green beans, ale-steamed mussels, and very respectable hand-cut French fries round out the starters, all priced at less than $10. Decently priced cocktails and an extensive beer list add to the appeal.

You might be asking, “Wait, what about the flood?” About halfway through the meal, the table next to us realized that their feet were standing in about an inch of water. At first we thought something had been spilled, but then we realized that the restaurant was taking on water! Our first instinct was to shout “women and children first!” and flee the scene, but the restaurant handled it masterfully. The table and patrons were moved, the water was cleaned (a cracked foundation being repaired was the whispered cause among the wait staff) and free drinks were offered all around. This is exactly what we like to see when a restaurant experiences a problem - professionalism, good service and compensation.

We’re not the only people to notice Paramount Room - LTH Forum gave them a “Great Neighborhood Restaurant” Award - but many of our friends had never heard of the place. Stop by next time you’re looking for a tasty, informal dinner with a fun vibe - we’ll be back soon.

Paramount Room is located at 415 North Milwaukee. Street parking is plentiful.