Superb restaurant located on the west side of the Loop. Super décor with large wooden table, close booth and plenty of standing room with an open view on the kitchen. Beer selection isn’t the largest but very beer is well chosen and fresh Lindemans lambic is quite the treat. The food is just about incredible with some of the best chicken and fried I have had the chance to eat. Waiter are super nice and they know their menus.
The food at Publican is incredible. You must get the pork rinds. It is an upscale restaurant, so don’t come here if you want to sit at a bar and drink cheap drafts (which is fine! this just isn’t 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 it’s from Michigan. She became wide eyed and said "oh my god, you’re so right! give me that menu!" and she ran it over to her manager. This place isn’t 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 don’t like beer, and have a great time yourself. Also, this is the only upscale restaurant I’ve seen where a guy ordered a boot of beer, stood up, and the ENTIRE restaurant chanted him to completion. I’ve been here a few times, and that isn’t a regular thing, but it didn’t feel that out of place either.
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 L’Etivaz, 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 chef’s selection of a dozen oysters ($30). I’m planning a return visit to try the mussels steamed in Cuvée René. Atmosphere was clean and modern, lots of brass and wood, with shades of brown everywhere, even the staff’s 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, i’d 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 :)
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. I’ll be back for sure.
Great food, great atmosphere, solid draft list (Stone OG, DDC Penombre, GI Sofie & Matilda, Cantillon Vigneronne) gREAT BOTTLE LIST. fOOD WAS HIGH END & VERY GOOD. Real nice place, higher end dress/ a must for foodies
DuffMan (345) the land of bitumen, beef & beer, Alberta | January 9, 2013
Charcuterie place with a very cool vibe. Awesome paintings of giant characterful pigs, booth seating that amounts to a miniature fenced-in stable or paddock for your party, while the central floor boasts common tables of enormous length to share with fellow diners. The food was, without exeption, excellent. Probably the best pork belly we’ve had (certainly the most generous portion!). Beef heart was also a standout. Our server knew his stuff and was spot-on. Beers were top quality, with a few Three Flloyds to choose from (including Zombie Dust , Snow Weasel, and Alpha Klaus). Just a great great evening! Would return in a heartbeat.
Great vibe in cool airy setting. West Loop location in the meat packing district. Everyone from the host to the server to the bar tender was perfectly polished. Beer menu is not extensive, but well thought-out with excellent choices. Servers are required to have passed the Cicerone certified beer server exam. Servers were well versed in their beers and knowledgeable about the food as well...which was excellent. Beer was very reasonable. Food was somewhat expensive, but definitely worth it. Go here.
cratez (256) Toronto, Ontario | September 11, 2011| Updated December 28, 2013
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 didn’t ask for (he thought we did), but he quickly assured us that we wouldn’t 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: I’m 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.