Pump Room

May 31, 2016

The Pump Room, located inside the PUBLIC Chicago hotel is one spot I have always wanted to try, but somehow it managed to escape me. The space formerly housed the original Pump Room in the former Ambassador East hotel (where my parents were married!), which was quite the celebrity hot spot back in the day. The restaurant, along with the hotel, was revamped and re-opened in 2011. The new food concept was created by world-renowned chef and 2011 James Beard award winner Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and is executed by Executive Chef Ross Mendoza. Original Pump Room menu classics were reinvented and recreated by Jean-Georges. The Pump Room now serves breakfast, dinner, weekend brunch, and a post-work/happy hour menu.

I stopped by with the BF for a weeknight dinner to try some items off the new Spring menu. If you haven't been to the Pump Room, you've probably seen images of its iconic dining room and light fixtures. It's a modern and beautiful setting that changes as the sun goes down.

Pump Room Chicago
Pump Room Dining Room Before Sunset
Pump Room Chicago
Pump Room Dining Room After Sunset

We enjoyed six wonderful courses that were as delicious as they were beautiful. The first was by far a favorite, ramp crostini with Montchevre Farms goat cheese, and black pepper. There were luscious layers of bright green ramp butter slathered on top of the bread, combined with pickled ramps and chunks of goat cheese. Each bite was deliciously creamy and flavorful.

Pump Room Chicago
Ramp Crostini with Montchevre Farms Goat Cheese and Black Pepper
The second course was another table favorite: sweet pea soup with Parmesan foam, and sourdough croutons. The brightness of the peas was beautiful, but the real star of the dish was the Parmesan foam which was more of a fondue than a light foam. That Parmesan would have even the pickiest eaters devouring their veggies. The soup was rich, yet bright, and fresh.

Pump Room Chicago
Sweet Pea Soup with Parmesan Foam and Sourdough Croutons
Our third course was homemade tagliatelle pasta with spring peas, and basil-pistachio pesto. The dish was plated with the pesto on the bottom, so we gave it a quick toss to ensure each pasta ribbon was adequately coated. The result was a perfect al dente bite with crisp spring veggies, and the nuttiness of the pistachios and shaved Parmesan on top. I could have eaten every last bite, but I had to save room for the rest of the dinner.

Pump Room Chicago
Fresh Tagliatelle Pasta, Spring Peas, and Basil-Pistachio Pesto
Next up was the roasted cod with sweet chili-garlic sauce, crunchy potatoes, and more spring vegetables. The meaty cod filet had a crisp exterior, and a nice flaky interior. The fish was very mild but didn't have a ton of seasoning in my opinion. The sauce had a nice orange hue, but also could have benefited from more flavor. The crispy potatoes were tasty though, and complemented the dish.

Pump Room Chicago
Roasted Cod, Sweet-Chili Garlic Sauce, Crunchy Potatoes, and Spring Vegetables
Our last course before dessert was the caramelized filet mignon with more spring vegetables (I'm pretty sure we ate an acre of spring vegetables that night and I'm not complaining!), salsa verde, and lime. The steak was a perfect medium with a delicate outer sear and juicy middle. I loved the salsa verde and lime which added a nice acidic contrast to the rich meat.

Pump Room Chicago
Caramelized Filet Mignon, Early Spring Vegetables, Salsa Verde, and Lime 
Last, but not least, we enjoyed creme brûlée with lemon sorbet and lemon zest. It was perfection and had a great balance between sweet and tart. A sweet ending to a lovely meal for sure.

Pump Room Chicago
Creme Brûlée
I was very impressed with our experience at Pump Room. From the moment you enter the dining room, you feel like you're somewhere special. The place exudes elegance, without being overly stuffy or pretentious. I loved nearly everything we had, and the way our food was plated. Our service was excellent as well. I highly recommend a meal at Pump Room if you're looking for a special occasion spot without the special occasion stuffiness.

Note: my meal at Pump Room was complimentary; however, all opinions expressed are my own.

Pump Room
1301 North State Parkway
Chicago, IL 60610
Pump Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


  1. We are the same. I felt the same about each dish including the cod. It was too bland! I'm so glad you had a great experience, though! You know how I feel about the Pump Room!


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