The Pump Room at the Public Hotel, Chicago

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The Pump Room at the Public Hotel is celebrating its 75th anniversary. While some hotel restaurants can be sterile and uninviting, The Pump Room, with its gorgeous globe lighting, is cozy, romantic, and welcoming. Some friends and I were invited to taste throw back 1930s cocktails and the fall menu. We were treated to a seven course meal that we will never forget.

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The evening began with The Daisy, a drink that was all the rage when The Pump Room opened. The Daisy is made with brandy, fresh lemon juice, prosecco and chartreuse. It was light and refreshing and it had a bit of bubbles from the champagne.

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Then the meal began with kabocha squash and fresh ricotta bruschetta. The bread was buttery and freshly baked, and generously stacked with rich, almost caramelized, squash and creamy ricotta.

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The second course was a pear, apple, and endive salad with candied pecans dressed with a blue cheese vinaigrette. Using endive in place of lettuce lent a nice flavor and held up well once covered with dressing. The fruit was julienned, adding a nice texture to the dish. The dressing had blue cheese flavor, without big chunks of blue cheese that can sometimes be overwhelming.

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Next came a roasted butternut squash soup. While the soup was satisfyingly creamy but not heavy, what made it memorable was that it was garnished with ginger, basil, and toasted seeds.

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The fourth course was my favorite, it was fresh, creative, and something that got everyone talking. The fresh tagliatelle with a creamy meyer lemon parmesan sauce was something I have been craving to have again. The tagliatelle was fresh and thin, and covered with just the right amount of sauce.

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The next course was pan roasted cod with purple romanesco cauliflower and a brown butter vinaigrette. The fish was light and flaky, and the slight char on the cauliflower added a nice taste.

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Course six was a grilled rack of lamb with a smoked chili glaze and broccoli rabe. The lamb was beautifully medium rare and the glaze gave it a nice smokey spicy flavor.

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Dessert was a Greek yogurt cheese cake topped with a Concord grape sorbet and garnished with figs and roasted hazelnuts. The cheesecake was a bit lighter, and the grape sorbet was a great compliment to the creamy cheesecake. This dessert was a nice choice to end the meal since it wasn’t overly sweet.

The Public Hotel is a favorite of Chicago brides. Three of my friends hosted events and stayed at the hotel the weekend of their weddings. The hotel, and the restaurant, feel special. The Pump Room is a popular choice for a nice date night. I am excited to go back again soon.

The Pump Room is located at 1301 North State. They do accept reservations.

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