The Publican, part of the family of restaurants that includes Avec, Big Star, Violet Hour, and Blackbird, doesn't disappoint. Going in the late afternoon before the dinner rush is the prime time to go: no wait, an attentive staff, and a fast arrival of dishes. Sitting at the shiny golden bar provided an excellent point of view to the kitchen, beer taps, and stand-up tables. Staffers folded napkins and sliced bread; servers met to discuss the menu and taste beers; the kitchen had a similar pre-service huddle. A funny yet resourceful feature to each chair is a small "cubby" underneath the seat to hold menus or perhaps purses and small bags; it is reminiscent of grammar school.
The pre-dinner menu is limited but offers a taste of the best that the Publican offers:
Spicy pork rinds (with a dusting of spicy cheese): snap. crackle. pop; there is a reason why customers return for this fried treat
Frites with Louis's organic egg: what's more comforting that fresh fries with a fried egg on top?
Rillette sandwich with apples, apple-pepper jelly, arugula & onion: rillette on toasted bread -- the apple & arugula cut some of the richness for satisfying sandwich
Little Gem salad: basil, fennel, pig's ear & buttermilk-Muscatel vinaigrette: provided a foil to the pork & fried elements from the other dishes; salad included beauty-heart radishes
Hennepin (farmhouse saison) Brussels, Belgium
837 W. Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
Sun: 10am-2pm (brunch) & 5-10pm