The Publican has been on my Chicago restaurant list (to be published soon) for the last three years. The restaurant seemingly comes up in conversation at least once a week and I’ve heard enough mouthwatering menu items to finally make it out to a brunch. After thoroughly enjoying a full meal with some close friends, we all agreed that we needed to return for Sunday brunch, a dinner, and a pig roast. We were suggested to eat in family-style so we ordered up one appetizer, three entrees, and backended the meal by donuts, of course.
The Saturday and Sunday brunch menus are completely different and they also rotate items based on seasonality. Below is the menu that we were able to choose from:
To start with, we ordered up cups of bottomless coffee. I rarely order coffee in restaurants, because their track record for quality coffee isn’t that great. On Saturday, I had already sacrificed sleep to trek the one hour via public transit to the West Loop- I just had no time to make coffee. So I crossed my fingers and hoped- really hoped– for great coffee. Unfortunately, they brewed an Intelligentsia blend by the batch and the best descriptor I can have for it is “robust.” However, I did admire their service presentation. We were seated in a booth that enclosed us cozily, almost like cattle. At the end of the table was a wooden plate that displayed a nice selection of coffee condiments.
As we drowsily sipped on our coffee, we admired the immense room. I’m a sucker for great design and wow, this was definitely designed with food in mind. Long banquet tables stretched down the one-room dining hall with booths along one wall. On another wall was a bar and the middle stretch had some great standing cocktail tables.
Our first dish came out: honey bread with a creamy, sweet spread and topped with toasted walnuts. This was a wonderful starter and definitely whet our appetites for future dishes.
The second dish: weistwurst pretzel & bavarian mustard may have been my favorite. The sausage was ridiculously tender and full of juicy flavors (forgive me here, I was too busy enjoying the meal and company to take notes on flavors). The bavarian mustard was honestly one of the best mustards I’ve ever tasted- and I don’t like mustard. However, I’ve recently realized that my general food dislikes have only stemmed from terrible food. Generic mustard is awful. This mustard? It was rich, tangy, and had a hint of sweetness.
Third course: oven-baked sourdough pancake. Embedded in the fluffy pancake were bits of breakfast sausage and bacon-wrapped chicken thigh. Two items I don’t normally enjoy- bacon and chicken- paired together so well to create a very tender texture contrast to the crisped sausage exterior.
Fourth course (my choice): bone marrow hash. This was my second [known] time having bone marrow and both have been wonderfully successful. The poached eggs mixed with the bone marrow oils for quite possibly the best ending to any brunch I’ve had.
As you may be able to tell, it was one delicious meal- with four people, it was $23, tax included. For that price, and compared to other Chicago brunches, we got more than we paid for. Our meal was coursed out for us, coffee & water well-attended to, and our booth was well-insulated from the rest of the dining crowd. I can now finally understand why so many people have raved about the restaurant. It’s time to schedule a dinner there!