Restaurant/Bar, Farm to Table, Notable Chef, Hot Spot
837 West Fulton Market – West Loop/Fulton Market District
Hands down the most amount of recommendations we got for Chicago were for Paul Kahn restaurants. We were able to get a reservation at The Publican, which is the newest of his growing group. The Publican is beer focused and inspired by the traditional European beer hall. The center of the room is a giant communal table. Food preparation is simple and pristine. The menu is presented as Fish, Meat and Vegetables listed in order of lighter to heavier fare. The meat portion is pork-centric, but does offer a balance of other options.
The only available reservation for the weekend was for Sunday Brunch, but we jumped at it. We walked over to the Fulton Market District to find there wasn’t much going on except some fantastic cutting edge restaurants. So we were a bit early for our reservation but decided to go in. We were glad we did so, as we got to experience the bar area located in the center of the room. It has round tables at which waiting guests can stand while snacking and having a beer. We had great conversation with a couple of guys also waiting at our table. The environment is set up for social interaction.
That said, we were lucky to get a nicely located two-top rather than a seat at the communal table. It looks fun, but the place was completely PACKED. And so the food-fest began. First up, the necessary bloody Mary. This requires some explanation, so I’ve included the entire menu entry for the Publican bloody!
bloody mary Tito’s Vodka (Austin, Texas)
Publican mix, house-made celery bitters & one of the following beer accompaniments:
Wells & Young’s Ltd (Bedford, United Kingdom) Young’s Double Chocolate Stout —7
Three Floyds Brewing Co. (Munster, Indiana) Zombie Dust—8
Stillwater Artisanal Ales (Baltimore, Maryland) Bri-Witter—9
So yes, for $7, $8 or $9 you get a full bloody Mary AND a beer accompaniment. Two of these and you’ve got a nice buzz going. We tried the Three Floyds and the Stillwater Artisanal Ale.
And I cannot neglect to mention the assortment of pickled veggies included with this beverage! The entire glass was filled with veggies top to bottom. None of this garnish stuff! And how I love a pickled anything…let’s suffice to say this is without competition in terms of best bloody ever. Too damn bad it is in Chicago.
The menu was short and sweet. And it was amazingly difficult to decide what to get, so we opted to share way too much food and sit there for a 3 hour run. The Publican’s signature dish seemed like a good place to start. We split it right down the middle and this is my little share plate.
red wine poached eggs la quercia prosciutto, sourdough & béarnaise—12
What would breakfast at a pork-centric restaurant be without proscuitto (above) and house cured BACON (below). Words cannot describe this bacon. Too damn bad it’s in Chicago!
And now for the pasta course. Haha. Why the hell not?
bucatini alla carbonara
pork belly, egg & parmesan—13
Perhaps it should have ended with the pork belly pasta, but this is where we took our cue to order up a second bloody/beer pairing, have a snack of homemade pork rinds, relax and order up another course for later.
Oh, what to have next? Bone marrow could be the only possible option as we’d tried most every other artery-crushing possibility.
soft-scrambled eggs & bone marrow
shallots, capers, curly parsley & toast—13
This is quite a brilliant combination. I am bored of giant bones served with more giant bones. These were petite and so nicely paired with a very soft scramble of eggs and herbs. This is such a delicate combo, nice consistency and flavor pairing. Well done, again. Did I mention the bacon? Or that it is a damn shame this place is in Chicago? If you go there, this is a must. If you live there, shame on you if you’ve not already been there!
Oh, and these are the four-tops. So cool!