A lot has changed in the local dining scene since the pandemic hit, but The Pompadour Bar and Tapas being Fairport Harbor’s go-to spot for small plates and shareable dishes is not one of those things. “I haven’t really had any kick back as far as people sharing dishes,” says owner Rusty James Phillips, whose restaurant has implemented plexiglass barriers between bartenders, socially distanced tables and emphasized reservations. “We’ve been slower earlier in the week, but the regulars have been back on the weekends, and being on the lake and with people not going on vacation, it’s a nice way for them to come out and enjoy the lake.” Two months of offering only a reservation-only, six-course pre fixe tasting menu with cocktail pairings gave The Pompadour a chance to reopen with a new seasonal, ala carte small plates lineup in July. The new menu focuses on multi-course small plates that are lighter and focused on seasonal, well-sourced ingredients. Here are three dishes to try from the new offerings and the perfect cocktail to pair it with.
Grilled Lamb Loin ($18)
Eschewing the standard rib chop, this loin is marinated in all-spice, cumin and cayenne peppers, finished in a sauce made with mild ancho chiles and topped with goat cheese, pickled carrots and croutons made from cornbread. “The sauce is really interesting,” says Phillips. “It's got hints of cinnamon and citrus in it.” Pair It With: The slightly spicy and savory sauce pairs perfectly with the Jose Collins ($12), a garden-fresh margarita with a bit of kick from cilantro-, jalapeno- and black peppercorn-infused tequila. “A float of green chartreuse is a secret weapon that makes it herbaceous and sweet, like drinking a margarita garden,” says bartender Kevin Patrick. “The lamb dish is sort of like a deconstructed taco, so they kind of play in the same field.”
Moulard Duck Breast ($15)
Served with a creamy parsnip puree, macerated strawberries and flaming sorrel, an edible leaf with a bitter-citrus flavor, the dish packs a range of flavors. “Duck is an awesome departure from red meat and poultry,” says Phillips. “We cook it sous vide and then sear it, so it’s got a crispy exterior with a medium rare finish and a nice fattiness to it.” Pair It With: Stay on the duck theme with the Quack, Quack! ($14), a decadent drink made from duck fat washed bourbon, Lustau East India Sherry, Campari infused with burnt pizza oven logs from Citizen Pie and fire-finished with a flamed orange rind. “It’s a play on the old cocktail boulevardier, but rebuilt with these three unique ingredients,” says Patrick. “It’s a reference to the duck fat-infused bourbon, but it’s dry, rich, herbaceous and alcohol-forward.”
Short Rib Ravioli ($16)
Grilled peaches and whipped ricotta create the perfect sweet-and-savory combination to cut through the rich short rib au jus. “It’s a fresh egg noodle that we stuff with slow-braised beef short rib that’s shredded with Manchego cheese and green onion,” says Phillips. “Then we use the sauce we cooked the short rib in as an au jus sauce with the peaches.” Pair It With: The Basil Crush Part Deux ($12) is a peppery, floral delight of a cocktail that fits the sweet, savory and peppery short rib perfectly. “The clear rum is infused with basil, black pepper and lemon,” says Patrick. “It goes well with the ravioli’s fresh basil and the pepper notes in the peaches and short rib.”