CHIReview

photo credit: Joni Kat Anderson

The Publican image
7.6

The Publican

AmericanRaw Bar

Fulton MarketWest Loop

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsBirthdaysBrunchDrinking Good CocktailsEating At The BarImpressing Out of TownersSpecial OccasionsVegetarians
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The Publican specializes in beer, pork, and oysters. If you dislike more than one of those three things, then we probably can’t be friends. Honestly, you probably don’t deserve friends at all. It's from the team behind Avec, Big Star, and Dove’s Luncheonette. And as much as you may be enthralled with one or all of these places (we see you Big Star cult members), we think The Publican evokes the spirit of Chicago so well.

The Publican is a self-proclaimed homage to European beer halls where you can gather and share food with your friends, and there’s no doubt about that fact upon entering the room. The high ceilings reverberate noise, while the thick wood tables and furnishings will remind you of Game of Thrones, and the majority of seating comes from a giant U-shaped communal table fit for a medieval feast. Don’t be shy towards others dining near you either, because there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be rubbing elbows/meat plates with them. There are also some high tops to stand at for drinks and appetizers, plus enclosed booths along one wall for more intimate dining. But if we are being honest, those penalty box like sin bins kind of creep us out. Our preference is always to sit at the communal table, even with a group of four.

In terms of the food, we’ve enjoyed everything from sweet breads and duck hearts to sea urchin and oysters, plus on the weekends they serve a great brunch. And if you find yourself thinking it all tastes better than similar dishes elsewhere, that’s because it does. Dinners at The Publican should definitely be heavy on the meats, but make sure to get a taste of all parts of the menu, including a little bit of seafood and some veggie sides as well.

Food Rundown

Mussels

A hearty stone pot full of mussels swimming in a buttery, mouth-watering broth.
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Charcuterie Plate

If The Publican is paying homage to pork, then you should make sure to do your part. Start with a charcuterie plate and some cold ones to start your meal.

Oysters

Order any and all of them to kick things off too.

Daily Pickles

Daily pickles are really a number of different pickled items, including onions, cucumbers, cauliflower, and sometimes more. The pickling brine is very sweet, and pickled vegetables are nice to have around.

Fries w/ Fried Egg

It’s a crowd-pleaser, but it pleases us.

Duck Hearts

These duck hearts are awesome. They come with mushrooms, ricotta, and some toasted bread. We highly recommend ordering them if available.
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Porcetta

Porcetta is basically pork that’s been deboned, seasoned, rolled up and roasted. It’s often a bit on the fatty side, and we’ve seen it on The Publican’s menu served a few different ways. Regardless of format, the meat is always top notch, and it’s always something you want to order.
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Whole Chicken with Frites

A staple on the menu, and one of the reasons Publican can be perfect for everyone. A juicy, whole bird over a bed of fries
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Country Ribs

These country ribs are fantastic. They have a little broccolini, cashew, and chile-garlic vinaigrette on top.

Suckling Pig

Sorry baby pig, everybody should eat your tender goodness too.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

Suggested Reading

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Charlatan

Charlatan feels like a designer hunting lodge. Come for the beers and pastas, stay for the pig head.

Publican Quality Meats (PQM) image

PQM is an excellent little cafe. We only wish it stayed open later.

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9.2

Schwa, the Chicago restaurant equivalent of the most interesting man in the world.

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Salero doesn't execute well enough for its caliber of cuisine. There are too many other good restaurants in the West Loop to justify spending top dollar here.

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