Promontory Point, the park at the end of 55th Street in Hyde Park, encapsulates the semi-distant, ethnic-rainbow, intellectual neighborhood beautifully. It’s the site of a picturesque view of downtown, a secluded enclave where a diverse crowd mixes, and the locus of a long-running, unsettled civic argument about the aesthetics versus practicalities of erosion-prevention methods.
So Bruce Finkelman, Craig Golden, and Jared Wentworth chose appropriately when they named their Hyde Park project in homage to Promontory Point. The park goes by “the Point,” to Hyde Parkers, so the team chose the remaining word for the Promontory (5311 S. Lake Park Ave. W., 312-801-2100), scheduled to open July 23rd.
Like the team’s Pilsen project, Dusek’s, the Promontory occupies a multilevel space and will stage live entertainment. In part of building wedged into a narrow strip of land near the Metra tracks, the Promontory fills the back half of a former Borders bookstore. “We embraced using the back half because we are back wheelers at heart,” says Finkelman, oblivious to the fact that we are not cool enough to know what a “back wheeler” is.
The food component of the project, headed by Wentworth (Longman & Eagle), centers conceptually on the hearth, an invocation of the fire pits at the Point, with their circular gathering spots called council rings. “I’m really trying to bring out the history geek in myself,” Wentworth says. “[I want to] modernize some recipes from the wheel of history—modern hearth–to-table cooking.” The menu divides into Cold, Fast, Embers, and Historic categories.
Wentworth describes his osso buco, where he will use the hearth to braise the veal loin in milk and thyme and roast the marrow bones. But he plans to separate the braising liquids from the veal, so that the veal will take on a sort of veal-steak texture and the liquids can be tuned to a clean and distinct flavor. He also cites the Appalachian stew burgoo as a dish he plans to modernize.
Desserts will come from the pastry chef Jeremy Brutzkus, playing on classics such as baked Alaska and s’mores. “He has a weird fascination with smoke with all of his desserts,” Wentworth says.
Finkelman says the concept of the bar is “just good drinks.” Cocktails rooted in classics, craft beers, all wines available by the glass, and so forth. “It wasn’t going to be the most of anything or the weirdest collection of anything,” he says.
That’s actually a contrast with Hyde Park. Most Hyde Parkers would proudly state that their neighborhood definitely is the weirdest collection of something.