Sunday, November 24, 2013


The last few times I have been to Chicago I have been stuck in the burbs.  This time I was able to arrange to meet my friend Robert downtown to go to Publican.  Publican is a hard reservation but Robert had a friend that ot us in.  Publican is based on the concept of community dining.  There are 2 focal points of the dining experience craft Beers and fine Meats and both are done very well.  Executive Chef Brian Huston has applied his background in fine cuisine and established that this is a Craft restaurant with great tastes procured with great thought.
I got there a little early and a little hungry so I had a beer and  snack.  This is not the place to go when you are dieting and with that in mind I bought a Spicy Pork Rinds and Frites.  The spicy pork rinds were light and spicy and went down great with the Krombacher draught beer and the Frites had been deep fried with some kind of animal lard that gave them a great savory flavor.  I new I was going to have a great meal so I went light and saved the rest for Robert.
Colorful Pickled Vegetables
Spicy Pork Rinds
Publican intends that each dish is enjoyed family style so the portions are not small so unfortunately unless you have a big group you can not sample as much as you would like to.  Robert had been here before so he knew to pair each of his portions with a beer selected by our server Nancy.  The beer of the night was Orval Trapist Ale as Robert put it the Champagne of Beers.  The menu is very uncomplicated it is made up Meat, Fish and Vegetables.  Publican prides itself by buying from the best and if possible local providers.  Like other new American craft restaurants anything they can make rather than buy they do it.  For example instead of bread the brought out a very colorful plate of pickled vegetables including Cauliflower, Onions and Pickles.  The Pickles were bread and Butter typically not my favorite but in this case very tasty the Cauliflower were dill pickeled and were unique.

Roasted Carrots
On to the meal since it was family style Robert let me pick and since I was in a meat mood that was the direction of the evening.  I picked the Porchetta, Duck Breast, Carrots and the Chanterelles
Out first were the Carrots form Green Acres Farms they were roasted and covered with a Pumpkin Seed Pesto and a soft Burrata side.  The variety and shapes and colors gave the plate a from the farm appeal, the first taste I had were roasted peanuts but it was the Pumpkin Seed Pesto along with the earthyness of organic carrots.  The Burrata added a bit of tang and made the entire plate come together. 

Porochetta with Kohlrabi Salsa
Next came the Porchetta which is a Pork Shoulder from Kehrli Farms that is rolled in herbs and slow cooked.  The Kholrabi Salsa Verde provided fantastic colors there were tiny yellow cherry tomatoes, and the Kohlrabi a white root vegetable with a vinegar bite.  The Porchetta was tender and had just the right amount of fat to bring a great balance of perfect slow cooked Pork the herbs popped in your mouth giving you that the feeling you that home cooked feeling.  After the pork came the Preserved Chanterelles from Northern Oregon they were balanced with Goat Milk Grits.  The Chantrelles melted in your mouth and balanced perfectly with the grits to provide a creamy treat.  Last was the Muscovy Duck from Grimaud Farms and I guess the best was saved for last.  the Duck was Dry aged cooked to am Medium Rare temperature and served with winter Radish Beets and Pomegranate.  The Duck skin was crispy with a little fat and the meat was juicy and had that slight gamey taste that told your taste buds it was Duck.
Publican is a great eating experience with very good service and if you were local you would never get bored because of the variety and unique tastes.