The Publican, Chicago
Chef: Paul Kahan
Cuisine: American Nouveau, Gastropub
Neighborhood: Near West Side/West Loop
Price: $10-15 brunch entrées, $8-10 brunch cocktails
Address: 837 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607
Phone: (312) 733-9555
Hours: Mon-Thurs: 3:30-10:30pm ; Frid-Sat: 3:30-11:30pm ; Sun: 10am-2pm (brunch) & 5-10pm
The Publican, located in the Fulton Market District in Chicago is a charming gastropub that serves up simple, delicious fare at amazingly reasonable prices (living in New York has made me jaded I realize). Headed by Executive Chef/Partner Paul Kahan (also of Blackbird and Avec), The Publican focuses on simple dishes cooked up with fresh, local ingredients. The restaurant owners and chefs are adamant about growing relationships with the sourcers of the meats and produce. The spotlight of the meat menu goes on the pork, which is certified organic and sourced from Iowa. The menu features several housemade terrines and charcuteries and changes daily to reflect what is available and in season.
The interior of the restaurant is spacious, with light pervading every inch of the space, streaming from the floor to ceiling windows. Moon-like lamps hang from the ceiling adding to the ubiquity of light. The walls are wrapped in textured wall-paper, a warm and delicate touch. A large banquet-style communal table dominates the center of the restaurant. Set up race-track style, it can seat about 100 guests. There are also several pub-style tables at which patrons can eat and drink while standing. Several large art pieces decorate the walls, paying homage to the pig, the centerpiece of the menu. Speaking of which, here is what we had for brunch.
“Buttered” Eggs – preserved lemon aioli and chives
Wine Poached Egg – la quercia prosciutto, sourdough, béarnaise
To me this is the deal breakfast – I adore poached eggs and smoked meats.
Grilled Hanger Steak – peaches, feta, mint and frites
The steak and peach combination sounded a bit off-putting but it actually worked. The peaches and mint made the dish more refreshing and delicate and the steak was awesome and juicy.
Charred Mortadella Sandwich – frites, fried egg, coleslaw, barbecue beans
Maple-syrup Braised Publican Bacon
This was the highlight of the meal, and rightfully so, since the Publican focuses its meat menu around pork. The sweet sticky maple glaze, the crispy outside of bacon, the fatty goodness of the layers…make me drool to this day
Delicious side dish as well, but sort of a non-event when compared to the bacon above.