Our first night in Chicago brings us to The Purple Pig where charcuterie, cheeses, and tapas-like dishes dominate the menu. Large communal tables run down the centre of each arm of this L-shaped, loud, and boisterous room. It’s about 8:30 and it’s packed. Our drinks are set up and we’re ready to roll down the menu.Here are some of the highlights of what we ate – which was less than I thought we would. Some of the dishes were quite rich, and while good, we just needed less of each one. Or we needed more people. Take your pick.
Chorizo-stuffed olives. A really sharp hit of salt with the crunch of the bread crumbs. Nice to snack on.
Pork-fried almonds with rosemary & garlic. Love the chunks of garlic. I had thought the nuts would be crunchier, but these are actually quite soft. The rosemary is strong and fragrant. Looks almost like dessert!
Salt-roasted beets. With whipped goat cheese & pistachio vinaigrette. I really enjoyed this dish, simple as it was.
Pig’s ear with crispy kale, pickled cherry peppers, and fried egg. This was unlike most pig’s ear preparations that I’ve had, and was really good. Love the crunch and saltiness from ears, the sour from the peppers, and the creamy from the yolk. I also thought the egg tasted really good.
Milk-braised pork shoulder with mashed potatoes. Another unexpected preparation in the sense that there was just enough mash to be more like a sauce than a pile of starch. Lovely texture and taste from the shoulder. A recommended order.
Sitting at a communal table isn’t for everyone, but great for groups. Which, I think, is the whole point of The Purple Pig. I felt that two people just weren’t enough to split the dishes we had. I think at minimum, you’d want to come as a trio – and that was the case for all the other groups at the communal table. Still, we enjoyed or meal, despite wanting slightly less of each dish, and it’s a great place to go out, especially if you’re looking for energy in a room.
More at The Wine Bar
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