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The dish/ What's new in city dining
The Rumpus Room


April 2012

Rumpus Chicken Wings are only part of the gastropub equation at The Rumpus Room, the newest establishment of the Bartolotta restaurant group. Neutralize the heat of the harissa-coated wings with one of Rumpus Room’s 25 draft beers or its 150 domestic, craft and rare beers.

On my visit to The Rumpus Room gastropub, a quick look at the bar confirmed the "pub," and my first bite of the Scotch Egg confirmed the "gastro." The interior of the latest Bartolotta restaurant group endeavor combines the look of an elderly English pub with dark walls, dark furniture and wonderful scarred hardwood floors, with a long bar and an impressive collection of spirits displayed on the back wall.

Everything about The Rumpus Room fits with the original gastropub movement born in London in a corner bar. The idea is to merge a cozy pub with great drink selections with a casual restaurant that serves comfort food. A drink guide lists dozens of bottled beer choices from all over the world, some geared to the aficionado, such as New Belgium La Folie from Colorado, $21, and from Nebraska Brewing, Apricot Au Poivre, $35. Like bird watchers with life lists to check off rare sightings, beer lovers come to The Rumpus Room to taste rare, seldom seen beer. The bar also offers 24 craft beers on draft.

I’d put my Scotch Egg more in the English pub tradition than classic comfort food. Nevertheless, I could eat one for breakfast every day for the rest of my life. The soft-boiled egg, encased in a layer of sausage and a deep-fried crust, was served on a bed of arugula and a creamy mustard dressing. The daily flat bread came with shaved apple, caramelized onion, dollops of goat cheese, a hint of chive and a balsamic reduction. The flavors on the grilled flat bread nailed the basics — sweet from the apple and the onions, salty from the cheese and tart from the reduction.

As for comfort food, the menu list many options: Bangers and Mash, Pork Kielbasa, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Braised Red Cabbage, or Veal Meatloaf with Mashed Root Vegetables, or Braised lamb with Mashed Potatoes and Turnips. For lunch or light eaters, sandwiches include a burger, Muffalatta, a Chicken Cutlet, a Cuban sandwich and a grilled veggie.

From a modest sample at lunch time, I found delicious food, an inviting ambiance, excellent service and the resident motto hanging on the wall, "Keep calm and carry on."

»The Rumpus Room
1030 N. Water St.
(414) 292-0100


This story ran in the April 2012 issue of: