Chicago eked out another scorcher today. Ugh! Don’t get me wrong. I dig summer. But, I am more of a “stick to the meteorological calendar” sort of gal. Rather than whine about it, I sucked it up and decided to grab a bite to eat in a place that evokes the remains of the season, The Hampton Social.
Armed with my flexible attitude, a cool, flirty dress and shades, I hopped
the CTA Brown Line to the Merchandise Mart ‘L’ stop. Then, I walked just 2 blocks west to this trendy new restaurant in Chicago’s River North ‘hood.
The Hampton Social is an open, airy, beach-themed spot which is bent on bringing a taste of The Hamptons to Chicago. Did they succeed? Sure [minus the beach 😉 ] There are high ceiling fans, huge, open windows and a nautical theme throughout the space. The big bar which anchors (See what I did here?) the room is surrounded by mostly communal seating. I don’t think I spied even one two-top table. So grab your colleagues and friends and head on over there.
Monday through Friday from 4-6pm, The Hampton Social is offering drink specials and 1/2 price pizzas, as well as live acoustic music (very nice!). It is definitely working to bring in the young professional crowd. It was packed before 5:30.
I came for the lobster roll. That’s right! I’m from New York originally and I have spent my share of time in The Hamptons. While I am not necessarily a fan of the overcrowded “scene” there, I do miss the local seafood. Here’s how my dinner went down:
I started things off with a beachy cocktail called “Summer Lovin’.” It was made with lavender infused rum, honey, soda, lime and basil mint preserve. Very tasty.
Next up, the lobster roll. Here you have two choices. Maine style which is made with a mayonnaise. or The Manhattan which is accompanied by a side of hot melted butter. I chose the latter, as I am a more of a purist. I either want my lobster meat stark naked with just a squeeze of lemon and some hot sauce or with a bit of hot butter which I can control. Since my server told me that the Maine lobster roll had quite a bit of mayonnaise, I knew I was on the right track. You also have a choice of fries or slaw. Again, I avoided what might have been a slaw with too much mayo for my taste and, instead, I went for the fries.
The lobster – It was sweet, juicy and ample in its size. It was so good that it do not really need any help from the butter. However, I doused that bad boy with all of it. After all, It may be the only time this year I indulge in that condiment. Well worth it!
The roll – It was a perfectly toasted, split top bun lined with very crunchy lettuce.
The fries – These were exquisite. They were done in proper shoestring style. What I mean is that they were not some soggy, tangled mess of potato strings that so many restaurants are serving up. These were expertly cut, super crispy and well seasoned. Bravo!!!
The only note I have is that my lobster did not arrive with even one wedge of lemon or hot sauce. I believe that is necessary for any authentic lobster roll experience. That said, when I asked my server to bring me some hot sauce, he returned with a small dish of damn delicious sauce rather than a bottle of one of the obvious brands found in stores. I used a bit to dot my lobster meat and to highlight my already perfect fries. Gotta have my hot sauce 🙂
The live acoustic guitar player start performing at around 5:40pm. He sang some well-known old and new tunes. Really good.
The Hampton Social is still in its infancy and I am hoping they continue to improve even further as time goes on. I would say they are already off to a pretty great start.
The Hampton Social is located at 353 W. Hubbard St. They are open every day for lunch and dinner. Brunch is served on Saturday and Sunday. Click here for more information.
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA Brown or Purple Lines to The Hampton Social. Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!