[Chicago, West Loop] The Publican

Had a very enjoyable dinner at the Publican, a popular beer, oyster, and pork focused restaurant in the West Loop neighborhood. Lots of communal tables, high ceilings. Got a seat at the bar and had the chef’s choice menu ($65).

Wellfleet Oyster

Potted Rillettes

I liked this a lot. Sweet cherry(?) sauce to go with the rich pork, crunchy grilled bread.


Spicy sauce, crunchy nuts. Brussels sprouts were slightly charred which gave it some smokiness. Topped with feta cheese.

Avocado Salad with Trout Roe

Nice refreshing mix of the briny sweet trout roe, avocado, slightly sour citrusy sauce and bits of orange. Some crispy celeriac in there too.


I don’t think I’ve had hake before. It was firm, flaky and sweet. Breaded and fried so that the outside was crunchy. Light, slightly spicy broth with a few sweet clams. My server said it was his favorite dish on the menu. Really good.

Pig Brain

Creamy and almost custardy, with a crunchy tempura fried crust. Served with cilantro and a vinegary sauce. Interesting dish but I don’t know if pig brain is my thing.

Pork Belly

Looked like a thick slab of bacon. It was glazed with a sweet sauce and garnished with sweet crunchy sweet grapes and bitter frisee which cut through the fat a little.

Chocolate Torte

Tasted kind of like a solid chunk of chocolate ganache, very rich. Salted caramel like sauce.

Great meal with tons of food.


Nice review and photos. I love the Publican - I try to visit every so often when in Chicago. Their menu changes frequently so I haven’t had any of the dishes you listed but they always have a fantastic pork belly prep and lots of other creative, meat focused dishes.

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Speaking of pubs/bars that cook in the City of Big Shoulders, What’s your take on Longman & Eagle . . . if beef tallow beignets, pork jowls are suitable chef’s choices?

Not sure if your reply was for me but I haven’t been. Looks good though! Will put it on the list for the next visit.

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I have been to Longman & Eagle for brunch once - it was good, and I would happily go back, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to do so (as I do with Publican).

Mr. H, are you hanging in Chicago these days? I have a few food friends there from both Roadfood and LTH. Cool.
Don’t know how interested you are in that section of the food World.

No, was just there for a few days in February for vacation. First time visit, beautiful city. Just didn’t get around to posting about this until now.

Different programs, to be sure. Publican is about beer while Longman & Eagle is about whiskey – a bit out of the usual wheelhouse for a Michelin star.

I heard Chicago broke the warm temperature record this February. I can assure you that the normal Chicago winter was not particularly pretty…

It was cold for a couple days, got down into the teens (Fahrenheit), but rose into the 40’s at times, which is actually close to San Francisco temperatures this winter. Apparently this is the first time in recorded weather history where it hasn’t snowed in Chicago in January or February.

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The coldest I’ve ever been was post Roxy Music concert at Auditorium Theatre. We were on such a spiritual and substance induced high, we exited into the approaching Blizzard and drove up Lake Shore Drive clear to Evanston. Stood on the rocks at the beach in the raging snowstorm.
Then we drove all the way back to KC past the leaning tower of pizza and the
Giant chicken place and the Peoria Steak&Shake, the only ones on the road.
Best thing was, a Rolling Stone story came out months later following the
Tour and the band had done the same thing, driving up and down Lakeshore Drive after their concert in their rented station wagon Blues Brothers style. :slight_smile:

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