One of my favorite places in Chicago is The Publican (along with Avec and now Big Star…see my earlier post from January). Not only is the food uncomplicated and bold but also it celebrates the most beloved creature—the pig. I have been to The Publican numerous times and I admire their usage of the whole animal including all the wild and crazy parts. The communal dining takes me back to my time spent in Europe and gives the restaurant a fun and lively atmosphere. Did I mention their showcase of beer from around the world? On the whole, The Publican provides any foodie a great time with the combination of extraordinary beer and pig parts galore.
And then I discovered another great aspect of The Publican…they serve BRUNCH.
My brother ordered the braised pork with fried eggs and grilled bread. The pork was rich and hearty. In the words of the great Tony Bourdain, “I’m a total egg slut.” I will devour anything you put in front of me as long as it has that perky, runny yolk on top.
Although I love the fact that The Publican is so porktastic, I was itching for something from the sea. I ordered the smoked artic char with pickled green tomatoes, fennel and celery root, and toasty bread. I loved the deep smoke flavor on the char and it was perfectly flakey when placed on the crusty bread. The best part of the dish was creamy and crunchy fennel and celery root salad. It still had a great bit but the creaminess offset the oiliness from the char.
I totally dig the shear obsession The Publican has for pork and it’s nicely mirrored on their brunch menu as well. It stays within their philosophy behind the food and doesn’t shy away from what they do best. It’s hearty, comforting, and leaves you craving more. Be back soon Paul Kahan.