Tuesday, September 15

The Hampton Social

  The Hampton Social
The Hampton Social
Before it gets too cold in Chicago, my friend Hannah and I paid a visit to River North's The Hampton Social, a new bar and restaurant bringing a taste of The Hamptons to Chicago. The Hampton Social, located in the former Baume & Brix/The Grid space, has a breezy, nautical theme with white-washed wood walls and floors, and even hammocks. We stopped by on a Thursday for happy hour and the place was packed to the brim. The best seats in the house are near the bar next to the completely open windows looking onto Hubbard Street.

The Hampton Social
During happy hour, from 4-6pm Monday-Friday, The Hampton Social features lives music, 1/2 price pizzas, and $89 magnum bottles of rosé. Yes, you read that right. While we didn't try a magnum of rosé, we did sample one of the pizzas, a pepperoni variety with picante salami, mozzarella, pickled peppers, and tomato. This was the best thing we ate. The huge pizza oven created a perfectly crusty/chewy crust with bubbled edges and the toppings were plentiful and offered a nice kick.

The Hampton Social
Pepperoni Pizza
In addition to pizzas, the menu features a selection of raw bar items, soups, salads, sandwiches, and entrees. We tried the snow crab claws served with a grainy mustard aioli and cocktail sauce. While these were pre-cracked, they were a bit difficult to eat and on the smaller side.

The Hampton Social
Snow Crab Claws
We also tried the ceviche with halibut, shrimp, avocado, jicama, pineapple and fried plantains. Overall, the ceviche was super dry. I would have liked to have a bit more of the acidic juices with the seafood, especially since the fried plantains were so dry they tasted like cardboard. We wanted to like them so much that we kept nibbling on them, but sadly, they never redeemed themselves.

The Hampton Social
Along with the raw bar items, The Hampton Social offers several lobster-centric entrees including lobster deviled eggs, Montauk mac 'n cheese with lobster claw, and a lobster roll served Manhattan style with butter, or Maine style with creamy mayo. We chose the Manhattan lobster roll and a side of Old Bay fries which were curiously lacking in any sense of Old Bay. The fries had a nice texture but were just plopped onto the plate. It would have been nice to have served them in a cup or really anything.

The lobster meat was shredded into small pieces, unlike the large, meaty pieces found in many other lobster rolls I've enjoyed. The bread was tasty and buttery, but the bread-to-lobster ratio was way off. The butter tossed with the lobster meat made the pink from the meat run off onto the plate which was somewhat off-putting! Perhaps the Maine style lobster roll would have been better.

Other sandwich options include those you might not expect including a prime rib and chicken reuben. Entree selections for those with a heartier appetite include halibut, diver scallops, and linguine and clams.

The Hampton Social
Lobster Roll
The Hampton Social also features a selection of gelato and French macarons which it displays at its entrance. This display reminded me of the baked goods counter at Summer House. Honestly, next to the pizza, the gelato and macarons were the second- and third-best items we had. We tried the Nutella and pistachio gelato flavors, as well as the salted caramel and raspberry macarons.

The Hampton Social
Gelato & Macarons
Go figure, at an East-coast restaurant, the two best things were the pizza and gelato, the latter The Hampton Social does not even make. While The Hampton Social is a good choice for drinks and pizzas during weekday happy hour and has a unique ambiance for Chicago, I left unimpressed with the majority of the food we tried. This place is a scene and a crowded one at that. From the time we sat at our table, to the time we left, crowds were encroaching upon our table, inching closer and closer, and even using our table top as a resting place for their glasses of rosé. Claustrophobics, beware!

Note: my meal at The Hampton Social was complimentary; however, the opinions expressed herein are my own.

The Hampton Social
353 W. Hubbard St.
Chicago, IL 60654
The Hampton Social Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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