First Night in Chicago: Dinner at The Publican

Sunday, October 05, 2014

I recently traveled back to Chicago to celebrate my 32nd birthday and spent some time with friends and family.  I was really excited since I had reservations for The Publican at 7pm and the next day, Elise and I were going to Avec.

My mother had taken the day off so we spent some time together and then we picked up my brother after he finished work and drove down to W. Fulton.  Parking is pretty easy in the area since the area is still pretty desolate.  There are high rise condos that surround the area but it's mostly filled with trendy restaurants or old warehouses.

I have to be honest that I was surprised my brother and mom were willing to take me to Publican since restaurants like Publican are considered "trendy."   I originally wanted them to come with me to Avec since it's Eric Ripert's favorite restaurant in Chicago however, they don't take reservations and my brother and mother were not willing to wait 2 hours for a table.  So Publican would have been the logical choice since the restaurants relishes meat which would suit my brother.

Suckling Pig at Publican

The Publican is set up for communal seating which made my mother and brother uncomfortable at first.  Their thoughts of sharing their eating experiences with strangers rather than having their own table was not something they had in mind and mother was also concerned about the noise since she wanted to be able to converse in a civilized matter without resorting to shouting.
T Gaverhopke extra belgium beer
However, mother slowly warmed over and I actually convinced her to taste  my T Gaverhopke belgium beer on the recommendation of our waitress who said it would compliment my suckling pig dish.

My mother doesn't drink so I was happy she humored me but she said she wasn't fond of the taste.

My brother wasn't quite sure what to get and asked what the recommendations were and settled on Country Ribs and ordered a Jack Daniels since he had a long day at work.

Mother listened to the specials and the explanations of each dish and after listening to what my brother and I ordered, she settled on the sirloin.

The orders were placed and we talked about my brother's first job and how training was going as well as my plans over the next few days on where to eat.

The plates came and we all began sharing.  The suckling pig wasn't actually a whole pig which made sense considering the price tag attached to it at $25.  The couple seated next to my mother saw the dish and asked her a few questions  and ended up ordering it as part of their meal.

The suckling pig was skinless and accompanied with butternut squash, feta, pumpkin seeds and urfa pepper.  I preferred my mother's sirloin since it was tender and flavorful but I admit the butternut squash was delightful.

As the night progressed, my mother commented that she no longer noticed how noisy it was and was able to converse at normal decibel levels.  She liked the atmosphere of Publican and despite all the food we ordered, the meals were light but at the same time satisfied her hunger.  I was happy mother liked her experience at Publican and reassured me that she would be more open to more of my preferences for dining experiences.

P.S. My brother picked up the check for the first time which I teased that he's finally an "adult."

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