-Grubbing in Chicago
New to the 'Scene'
One of the city’s best restaurant openings came along quietly late last year. Pompette took over at the corner of Armitage and Damen in September after the former Izakaya Mita space became available with Chef Brian Mita’s passing (RIP). Pompette is a passion project of sorts from three Chicago restaurant vets. It’s an all day cafe that fits perfectly in a space that comes with lots of natural lighting. It’s also a bar and an all day one at that. I’d describe it as a perfect neighborhood place for various occasions. Our visit came during happy hour (4-6p daily) which goes into dinner service but you can also meet friends and family for a big weekend brunch or just treat yourself to a nice little weekday lunch or even a bottle of wine to take home. Pompette presents their neighbors with options.
Happy Hour in Chicago is lacking to say the least but Pompette has a serviceable menu that can be enjoyed at their bar. They offer a couple different drafts at $5/each and certain glasses of wine plus a selection of cocktails for $10 a piece. The menu has a section of snacks in the $5-$15 range. A bowl of olives mixed with Manchego cheese is a nice pairing for whatever you choose to sip on.
There’s also a burger offered up during happy hour and the waitress sold me on it with it's description (also available for lunch / brunch). Slagel Farms beef patties are doubled up and dressed with grilled onion, pickles, lettuce and American cheese plus special sauce on a very soft yet still sturdy sesame seed bun - it must be baked in house bc it’s way better than anything commercial. I’d give this one a B+ which is a very good grade based on my curve. My only qualm with this one was the lettuce that they used. I’d either switch that to a classic shredded iceberg blend or just ditch it completely as there’s no use for those type of fancy ass leaves on an otherwise classically dressed cheeseburger.
The dinner menu is broken down into four sections starting with charcuterie and cheese and ending with desserts. You’ll find shareable plates and entrees from the charcoal grill in between. The shareable plates can be anything from creamy crab croquettes to crunchy fried quail with vegetarian options abound. With agnolotti being my favorite pasta I pretty much always have to order some when I see it on a menu which was the case at Pompette. It’s a longer rectangle shaped version that comes stuffed with a mixture of herb ricotta and hazelnut and topped with brown butter, squash and crispy kale. Very nicely done. I’m assuming the charcoal grill is a remnant from the previous tenant. Cool to see it stick around. The live fire cooking added good flavor to a plate of Black Sea Bass sitting on smashed white beans alongside artichoke, leeks and Swiss chard. A really fun addition to the area.
1960 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647