I had the pleasure of traveling to Chicago last week for a short (20 hours) trip and finally got to try Paul Kahan’s homage to meat, fish and beer: Publican. It’s located in the meat packing district of town, and unlike other cities they actually still pack meat there; you literally drive past small distribution facilities and slaughterhouses and bam, there it is. As mentioned above, the menu really only concentrates on three things, meat, fish and beer, with the meat side mainly consisting of pork dishes (score!). Aside from these three they offer a large oyster selection and they make all their own terrines and charcuterie. The inside of the restaurant is defined by a large wrap around communal table with a few standing room tables in the middle; the communal table definitely puts you really close to your neighbors, so request a separate table or outdoor seating if this isn’t your cup of tea.
With a name like Publican Quality Meats…why order fish…I’m sure it’s good, but we decided to go for meat, meat, and more meat! First up was a super silky and decadent chicken liver pate/mousse served with rustic toast and sweet blueberries; a little salty, but superb!
The sweet breads were recommended by our server, and he was spot on; so creamy…my dining companion had no idea what they were, so I didn’t tell him until after the meal! He also ate head cheese…does that make me a bad person?
When you’re at a place that makes their own charcuterie it would be sin not to try it, right? Head cheese, prosciutto, spicy sausage, pate, mortadella and homemade mustard…damn!
Last but not least was the braised and crisped pork belly with hominy and cherries; it was fork tender, juicy and super fatty!
Publican is most definitely a meat (and pork) lover’s paradise, and their beer menu was outstanding and cheap; Founder’s Double Trouble (9.4% alcohol) for $5…get the hell out of here! I look forward to my next visit to explore the fish side of the menu!