United States > Illinois > Chicago
cratez (200) Toronto, Ontario | September 11, 2011| Updated December 28, 2013
86 AMBIANCE 4/5 SERVICE 8/10 SELECTION 14/15 FOOD 9/10 VALUE 7/10 OVERALL 17/20
Visited with my girlfriend for our 4th anniversary dinner in July 2011.
VIBE: pristine and modern decor with beautiful lighting and a comfortable, medium-sized bar. An L-shaped communal table occupies the middle of the restaurant with two-seater "horse stall" booths off to the left and assorted tables adjacent to the patio. Crowd is upscale and all of the staff wear uniforms. We enjoyed marveling at the breathtaking ambience of this high-end American eatery while eating our meal.
SERVICE: we received impeccable treatment from a young and knowledgeable waiter. He briefly described every single dish on the menu, including portion sizes, and was quite helpful with his recommendations. At one point he brought a plate to the table that we didnít ask for (he thought we did), but he quickly assured us that we wouldnít be charged for it and he apologized for the mistake. I left a 25% tip because we were so thoroughly impressed with the service.
SELECTION: the draught lineup was chock-full of rarities such as Aecht Schlenkerla Fastenbier, Porterhouse Wrasslers XXXX Stout, and The Bruery Trade Winds Tripel. Throughout our four course dinner, I had a Three Floyds Apocalypse Cow DIPA, Lagunitas Zephyr, and Mikkeller Draft Bear on tap and a Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster DIPA out of the bottle. These beers were among the best that I sampled on our trip to Chicago, and they nicely complimented the hearty food. Much to my relief, the lady loved the wine that she ordered.
FOOD: unbelievable cuisine for surprisingly good prices. We split the Three Hams plate, Market Salad, a delicious fish entree, and a chocolate meringue pie for dessert. All four dishes tasted phenomenal with immaculate presentation. Truly superb fare.
OVERALL: Iím glad we chose this spot for our special occasion. We had a lovely time here and will definitely return in the future. The Publican is an exemplary model of sophisticated dining matched with fine beer, and I highly recommend it to beer geeks and foodies alike.
troyc (147) Illinois | November 29, 2010
78 AMBIANCE 4/5 SERVICE 8/10 SELECTION 12/15 FOOD 9/10 VALUE 3/10 OVERALL 15/20
Visited on a weekday night at about 9pm, and this place was packed. A unique beer list that includes mostly Belgian inspired beers. Lots of higher ABV stuff is featured, with few session beers. The beers were about on par price-wise with the food menu. The food was excellent and it was probably some of the best pork Iíve ever had. I guess you get what you pay for here (which is a lot).
emerge077 (129) RIP Johnnies, Chicago, Illinois | November 20, 2009
90 AMBIANCE 4/5 SERVICE 9/10 SELECTION 14/15 FOOD 10/10 VALUE 7/10 OVERALL 18/20
The beer list is very well designed (available online), and organized into the following sections: Draught, Trappist, Belgian-micro, Abbey Style, Methode Champenoise, Lambics (all traditional), Flemish Red/Bruin, Saison, Biere de Garde, German, Danmark, Norwegian, Finnish, British Isles, Swedish, and American. Drafts rotate fairly often, currently the highlights were Matilda Framboise, Hopsinjoor, Flossmoor Pullman Brown, and Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek. Drafts ranged from $5-9, and bottles were $5 for Avery IPA, up to $50 for Deus and Lou Pepe Framboise. The list was eclectic and varied, but seemed to focus most on Belgian Saison/Lambic/Biere de garde.
We ordered off the "snacks" menu (available from 3:30-5:30), and not from the full dinner menu. Spicy pork rinds, frites with aioli, a trio of aged hams, and LíEtivaz, a Swiss Gruyere style cheese. The frites were a standout paired with the beer, cooked in beef tallow, and my favorite in the city. The menu was a perfect compliment to the beer, sort of high-end "deli/junk food" if you will. My favorite ham was la quercia rossa, the sample trio was $18...if you get a reservation for dinner here, expect it to be in the "$$$$" range. Everything on the small menu was under $20, with the exception of the chefís selection of a dozen oysters ($30). Iím planning a return visit to try the mussels steamed in Cuvťe Renť. Atmosphere was clean and modern, lots of brass and wood, with shades of brown everywhere, even the staffís coats. The bar was low (with seats), with uniform wooden tap handles towering above. Taps were identified by small dangling engraved brass medallions. There were giant illustrated canvas prints of equally giant hogs on the walls. It was an ultramodern shrine to the other white meat...
edit: After returning for dinner last night, iíd put the food score at 4.75. We shared the suckling pig and sweetbreads dishes, which were really worthwhile. The Kumamoto oyster was a bit gritty with sand or shell pieces, otherwise everything was flawless. Right up to the pigpen corral tables which were surprisingly un-claustrophobic. Oh yeah... and Older Viscosity on tap :)
fluffheady (100) Chicago, Illinois | January 13, 2013
90 AMBIANCE 5/5 SERVICE 9/10 SELECTION 12/15 FOOD 10/10 VALUE 7/10 OVERALL 19/20
The food at Publican is incredible. You must get the pork rinds. It is an upscale restaurant, so donít come here if you want to sit at a bar and drink cheap drafts (which is fine! this just isnít the place). What I appreciate the most, besides a really thoughtful beer list, is the training of the servers. I offhandedly pointed out to the server that Jolly Pumpkin was listed as being from somewhere out east, but itís from Michigan. She became wide eyed and said "oh my god, youíre so right! give me that menu!" and she ran it over to her manager. This place isnít known as a destination for beer, but they are an upscale restaurant that respects the hell out of beer. You can please your significant other if they donít like beer, and have a great time yourself. Also, this is the only upscale restaurant Iíve seen where a guy ordered a boot of beer, stood up, and the ENTIRE restaurant chanted him to completion. Iíve been here a few times, and that isnít a regular thing, but it didnít feel that out of place either.
MrChopin (100) Baltimore, Maryland | November 21, 2011| Updated November 22, 2011
74 AMBIANCE 3/5 SERVICE 8/10 SELECTION 11/15 FOOD N/A VALUE 6/10 OVERALL 15/20
Pale walls, golden lighting, light wood, and brass adorned-everything leaves you feeling like youíre on the sun. It doesnít help that the bar is probably the worst constructed of all time, a huge metal shelf between you and bartenders, staring you in the eyes and pretty much requiring that they walk around to serve you. Prices are steep but a unique list in Chicago, pretty deep by style and country. Service is very nice, accommodating. The house lambic apparently runs out fast (I missed it arriving at 9pm on Sunday) and is a different blend every day or few-days. Iíll return for food but am leery of prices and the vibe when crowded.
jmm635 (89) Havertown, Pennsylvania | October 31, 2012
84 AMBIANCE 5/5 SERVICE 9/10 SELECTION 11/15 FOOD 10/10 VALUE 6/10 OVERALL 17/20
Trendy restaurant in some sort of meat packing district or something. Disregard the neighborhood and try it anyway. You wonít find an enormous beer list but you will find a well selected mixture of taps and bottles and tremendous food. Good selection of oysters and an interesting ham tasting. You really canít go wrong with anything on the menu. Not at all what I would call a value but I appreciate a quality tap list to complement my gluttony.
SPDickerman (89) Texas | March 29, 2013
86 AMBIANCE 5/5 SERVICE 8/10 SELECTION 13/15 FOOD N/A VALUE 8/10 OVERALL 17/20
Really interesting place. Good waitstaff, though not fantastic. Excellent house blended lambic. Lots of bottles. All a little pricey, but overall, fantastic place.
dinkle50 (77) Chicago, Illinois | April 7, 2013
90 AMBIANCE 5/5 SERVICE 10/10 SELECTION 12/15 FOOD 10/10 VALUE 7/10 OVERALL 18/20
Popped in here for dinner on a Saturday night. Dinner was extremely good. The food here does not disappoint. Interesting dishes and excellent waitstaff. Lots of bottles with 10 or so draft selections. Iíll be back for sure.
Cliff (68) The Land of Milk and Honey, Ohio | February 4, 2011
64 AMBIANCE 4/5 SERVICE 9/10 SELECTION 6/15 FOOD 5/10 VALUE 4/10 OVERALL 13/20
Went on a Monday evening while in Chicago for business. Reletively small place in the meat packing district. Long, community style tables with a handful of private booths. Pretty good beer selection, focused on Belgians mostly. Nothing all that exciting, but solid. Food menu is very interesting and eclectic. All meant to be ordered and eaten family style among your party. I was with one other and we got the charcuterie plate just to sample a few items. It was very good, but very rich. Service was excellent and the atmoshpere was nice, but the value is not very good as both the beer/wine and food prices are pretty high. I would go back, but it was not my favorite.
JoePeesie (68) Long Lake, Illinois | September 1, 2011
80 AMBIANCE 5/5 SERVICE 9/10 SELECTION 11/15 FOOD 8/10 VALUE 5/10 OVERALL 15/20
Swanky and trendy.Excellent artisan food, and a good selection of beers. The clientele is kinda yuppie. For me this is a special occasion kind of place, but I also donít make $100K per year.
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