Like most people, I don't wish to be made to feel stupid, particularly not by inanimate things such as menus. Thankfully, almost-locally-famous restaurant duo Jon Young and Stephen Dunne designed an approachable menu at Paramount Room and say the entrees such as duck confit and tempura-fried green beans are "low production, high quality;" what you'll get is sophisticated, complex fare that you actually know how to order.
Dunne, who refined his culinary cleverness in Paris, knows international menus like you know the words to "Umbrella" by Rihanna (don't lie). His offerings range in flavor and price from the steak tartar ($8) to the grilled kobe tri-tip steak ($22).
Paramount Room does for beer what Young and Dunne's Roscoe Village bistro, Volo, does for wine. The selection is as stylistic yet accessible as the food menu, with twelve taps and a beer-conversant staff. Paramount Room proudly pours hard-to-find hops ($5-$8) and stocks 16 brands of bottles and cans ($4-$22 for a 750 ml). Hiding bashfully in the center of these designer labels is a Bud Light tap (currently empty). "The guys at Budweiser are just so nice… and I want our guests to find exactly what they're looking for," said a genuinely smiling Young.
This 100-year-old former speakeasy is easy to pass by, thanks to a deceivingly unenthusiastic neon "Lounge" sign overlooking Dunne and Young's motorcycles (they offer motorcycle parking in their front loading zone). Get past the nondescript facade, however, and you'll find a sleek urban interior (kudos to designer Nicole von Meier) with a trendy underground level perfect for that private party.
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Anderson