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First Look: The Promontory

By Lauren Larson in Food on Jul 30, 2014 7:00PM

Last week Hyde Park gained a new restaurant and music venue with the opening of The Promontory, the latest from Bruce Finkelman, Craig Golden, and Jared Wentworth, the team behind Longman & Eagle and the already-beloved Thalia Hall.

The Promontory’s airy space is an ode to nearby Promontory Point, a breezy peninsula where Hyde Parkers crowd around fire pits on the beach to enjoy the golden hours. “Peaceful al fresco dining” is hard to come by in Chicago, but The Promontory’s patio is spacious and nicely insulated from the traffic noise on busy 53rd Street. Inside, the best seats in the house are those with a view of the large brick hearth in the kitchen—I get a primal kick out of watching my dinner sizzle over the glowing embers.

Jared Wentworth’s menu showcases the same savory genius of Longman & Eagle's menu. The menu is divided into four categories; Cold, Fast, Embers, and Historic. The dessert menu is also worth exploring, if you like the sounds of a s’more soufflĂ©—and who on this good earth doesn’t?

The unpretentious, savvy waitstaff is quick to recommend the Historic dishes, and they don’t disappoint. The veal osso buco stands out—the veal loin is nicely complemented by a roasted marrow bone and fried rice balls with warm, melted centers and a hint of black truffle—and so does the Kentucky burgoo. Wentworth elevates the burgoo from a Midwestern staple with pork collar, quail, house-made rabbit sausage, and a delicate, spicy tomato broth.

The Promontory’s cocktail program changes up several classic cocktails with charred ingredients, including the Hearth Manhattan, with charred vermouth, and the Promontory Paloma, with charred grapefruit. The menu also includes some successful experiments like the Burnham Blinker (rye whiskey, Maraschino, raspberry shrub, and fresno pepper) and the oh-so-refreshing Cinnamon Basil Smash (El Dorado White, cinnamon Saigon syrup, basil, lime, and ginger beer.)

In August The Promontory will begin operating as a music venue, but for now it’s a great place to enjoy summer nights and sassy cocktails. And enjoy watching posh patrons try to surreptitiously grab Smarties from the hostess stand on their way out.

The Promontory is located at 5311 South Lake Park Ave. W