Monday, April 5, 2010
Holy Purple Pig, Batman!
I literally just had one of the best restaurant experiences of my life. At The Purple Pig on Michigan Avenue. Literally one of the best. (And that's not just the dry rosé/pork high talking.) They're not joking when they say "Cheese, swine and wine." Apron Anxiety, your man would be proud.
J and I are down in Chicago for a few days for various reasons. We're staying near Michigan Avenue, again, for a variety of reasons. I left him in the room this afternoon and went out to run a few errands, passing by The Purple Pig on the way. I have been DYING to eat here, ever since I read phenomenal reviews, not to mention hearing from Alain Joseph (Emeril's Culinary Assistant) that it was one of the best. So, I took note, and considered it for a meal tonight. Upon my journey to return to the hotel, J decided that he wanted to eat first (and then go meet friends to watch Butler do their best to try and smoke Duke) and we figured we'd just meet there.
Upon entering, I was excited. Large communal tables, two-top banquets, and a long marble bar. The waitress mentioned that there was "chef's table" seating, on the end of the bar. I ran to it. It was early, around 5:30, and I knew J would be rocked to eat there. The menu is insane. A virtual smorgasbord of pork-related wonder. I ordered a glass of a great dry rosé (Vega Sindoa) and waited for J while perusing the menu. Of course, once he arrived, we set about it, asking the chefs in front of us as well as the waitress for their expert opinions.
We ordered the following: salt-roasted beets with whipped goat cheese and pistachios, prosciutto bread balls, fried pigs ears with crispy kale, cherry peppers, and a fried egg, the serrano jamon with roasted asparagus and grilled bread, and the balsamic braised pig tails with egg salad and parsley (to cut through the acidity.) The chefs in front of us, on the flat grill, were kind enough to give us an order of both marinated olives and the insane pork-fried almonds, as well! Um, needless to say? Freaking amazing. The pig tails and the serrano were the high stand outs. The pigs ears were great, but a little rich for our full menu of ordering. EVERYTHING was outstanding.
It wasn't just the outrageously delicious food that made this experience so delightful. It was the service, the attention, the talkativeness of the chefs/servers, and the knowledge they all had. Asking our waitress about cheese and wine was an educational lesson--and I know wine! The selection they have, the informative way they deliver it...it was all fantastic.
We ended the meal with a farro and sweetened ricotta pudding with melted chocolate sauce. Ridiculous. That is all I can say about it.
I cannot say enough that you MUST try this place. It is so right smack dab in the middle of the tourist-action that is Michigan Avenue that you'd trip over it if it was Dick's Last Resort. But it's good...oh, so so so good.
So good that as I sit here, attempting to get off my pork high behind to go watch the basketball game, I'm literally debating going back for the fried sardines.