The Pump Room Restaurant - Chicago

The Pump Room's stylish, splashy return

Pounded thin and surrounded by thick, flavorful breading, the Wiener schnitzel at The Pump Room is an old-school classic.

It's a fitting dish for a restaurant that swung onto the Chicago scene in 1938.

We appreciated this nod to the past, devouring it and its bed of arugula and tomatoes at the Public Hotel's revamped restaurant. Aside from the name, few vestiges of the restaurant's past remain, but promising food and smart service abound.

The space is modern and lush, its menu descended from chef Jean-George Vongerichten's New York restaurant ABC Kitchen.

A number of favorites from our dinner in New York have journeyed to Chicago: roasted beets with tart house-made yogurt ($8) and crab toasts ($11), the sweet meat drizzled with lemon aioli and piled on airy, rustic bread.

The heat of chiles laces the menu, with minced green chiles adding crunch and burn to salmon carpaccio ($12), and red ones glowing in a tangy glaze alongside fried chicken with roasted corn ($19).

Artful presentation is another hallmark of Vongerichten's influence. Last week, we caught heirloom tomatoes' last gasp. A colorful mosaic was scattered with cucumbers, microgreens and the season's final raspberries and blueberries ($8)–a beautiful farewell to summer.

The Pump Room, 1301 N. State Pkwy.; 312-787-3700 or