Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Purple Pig

Location: 500 N Michigan Ave.
Cost: About $40 per person with drinks

There's this charitable group I work with called JCorps, and they were putting together a promotional video the other weekend. A filmmaker named Adam came in from L.A. to interview a bunch of the volunteers. Adam was a first time visitor to Chicago and wanted to know if there was anywhere he needed to hit up food wise. I started to fill him in that I knew a place or two when Seth, another volunteer, suggested we go to his favorite spot, the Purple Pig.

Logistics
The Purple Pig is a gastropub of sorts right on the magnificent mile. They've got a bunch of bar seating and multiple raised tables throughout a rather jam packed room. Since it's still warm outside, they have some patio seating that overlooks the river. It's a difficult place to get in to, and they don't take reservations. The key is to settle in for the long haul and grab a bunch of drinks while you wait. You can try to eat at the bar which was our initial plan. They said the wait would be 45 minutes, but the three of us were sat in 5. I guess the point is to expect variability.

Our waiter was very helpful with identifying the key dishes to order, and the food came out in a planned, timely fashion. Most dishes were around $10, and the pricier, larger dishes were near $15. I think 2 to 3 dishes per person was more than enough.

The Food
Seth had been there a bunch of times before which made ordering pretty easy for Adam and myself. We started things off with the Salt Roasted Beets with Whipped Goat Cheese, the Charred Cauliflower, and the Roasted Bone Marrow. The beets had an appropriate sweetness topped with a nice crunch from some pistachios. The cheese was extremely lightly whipped. The cauliflower was too salty for my taste, but the charring left a nice crisp to each bite. Adam devoured the bone marrow. It was scrumptious and spread well on the herb covered toast bites accompanying the dish.

The Roasted Bone Marrow

The Salted Beets with Whipped Goat Cheese

 The Charred Cauliflower

Next we moved on to larger dishes including the Octopus with Fingerling Potatoes, the Turkey Confit, and the Chicken Thigh Kebabs. The octopus was the best I've had so far. It had a nicely charred exterior and none of the chewiness I'd come to expect from my previous encounters. The kebabs were really juicy, and the tzatziki added a nice creamy balance to the dish. By the time the turkey leg came out we barely had any room left. The meat fell off the bone and had this visceral savoriness to it.

The Octopus with Fingerling Potatoes

The Chicken Kebabs

 The Turkey Leg Confit

Adam insisted on getting dessert, so we ordered the Nutella, Marshmallow, and Banana Panini. It was dangerously good. By that I mean that I had no intention of eating any more food, but after one bite I couldn't put it down.

 The Nutella, Marshmallow, and Banana Panini

Note: Even a bunch of Jews can enjoy a place called the Purple Pig because the non-pork dishes are so damn good.

Overall
I wish I hadn't eaten lunch that day so I could've had room to try out even more dishes from the Purple Pig. Everything was loaded with flavor, and across the board the proteins were excellently prepared. Some of the dishes were a tiny bit over-seasoned for me. It might be a hassle to get seated sometimes, but it's worth it. I'm giving them 4.5 out of 5 Pearls. 


Also, I'd like to extend an extra thanks to Adam for taking us out and to Seth for the drinks and suggestion.
The Purple Pig on Urbanspoon

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