Neat Kitchen + Bar
Inventive “new American” fare in downtown Westmont
The word “neat” evokes certain images. Tidy. Feel-good simplicity. Something cool or appealing. A classic way to order a hard drink.
Those terms apply to different aspects of Neat Kitchen + Bar in downtown Westmont. The streamlined décor, with an airy floor plan, rich woods and Edison lights, is clean and welcoming. The menu is uncluttered yet inventive, featuring trending ingredients and an eclectic array of offerings. The place has become a hip hub, with families headed for a bite after a Little League game, crews of young after-work professionals and couples huddled over drinks. And, yes, you can order drinks neat, as the bar stocks dozens of whiskeys, spanning single malt, bourbon, rye, wheat and Tennessee varieties as well as a slew of imports.
When it comes to food, Neat specializes in what the owners call “new American” fare — new spins on staples and creative takes on classics. The menu has plenty of burgers, but the beauty is in unique choices like the Neatburger, formed with a flavorful blend of ground chuck, short rib and brisket and topped with crispy shallots, cheddar and a fried duck egg. The peanut butter burger (yes, it works) is topped with grilled pineapple, artisan bacon, lettuce and cilantro. For vegetarians, there’s a hearty portabella burger with tomato jam, white cheddar and crispy shallots.
Main dishes, likewise, have a classic-contemporary twist. They include salmon with citrus salsa verde and jicama cilantro slaw, and short ribs cooked low and slow with roasted mushrooms and plated with parsnip purée and a black pepper-beer glaze. The chili is a green chili made from slow-cooked pork, tomatillo and cilantro and a Caesar salad can be paired with marlin.
Taco night is big at Neat and with good reason — tortillas are housemade and varieties include a mojo chicken with tomatillo, avocado salsa and pickled red onion; a pork belly taco with a refreshing green apple salsa; and a red snapper taco with tomatillo morita salsa and homemade slaw. If you’re in a group, mix it up and try as many flavors as you can.
With two bar areas, Neat offers a varied starter menu for those who want to just sip and nibble. There’s the quintessential bar food of chicken wings — medium, hot and super-hot (trust us, it’s hot) — along with pork “wings” presented in a sweet Asian chili sauce or a spicy sriracha lime sauce.
Lighter bar fare includes edamame with togarashi and lime sauce or a light version of traditional nachos, with ahi tuna, wasabi peas and wasabi lime crema topping the requisite chips.
If you can’t decide between healthy and indulgent, have it both ways with grilled asparagus underneath dollops of luxurious hollandaise and a fried duck egg.
There are some pretty neat desserts too, like a shareable plate of warm doughnuts drizzled in a caramel sauce.
Salmon with citrus salsa verde and the Neatburger
Appetizers: $9 – $14
Entrées: $19 – $25
Taco trio: $9 – $15
M - Thur: 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
F – Sat : 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Bar closes one hour later
Weekday happy hour; full bar; private party room