Had the chance to eat at some excellent spots while in town last week. Frontera on Friday, GT Oyster on Saturday, Publican on Sunday, Purple Pig on Monday.
Hard to pick a favorite. The standouts were:
- the duck with pine nut mole at Frontera
- rib chop, I believe, at Publican (had a few in me and we had a sizable group, so what exactly was what was a bit hard to follow at times)
- the "JLT" at Purple PIg
- churro and Mexican soft serve at Xoco
Had a few disappointments as well. Lobster mac 'n cheese at GT was just not good. A trendy dish, I know, but wanted something a bit heartier after the oysters (which were quite good) and sunfish ceviche (also excellent). A good bit of lobster, but almost no cheese. The bartender may have heard me say to my friend that it was disappointing (I swear I did not say it loud), because she gave me the half doz oysters on the house.
The sirloin steak at Publican was mediocre at best. Although it looked to be rare- to medium-rare, it was dry and didn't have much flavor. Everything else was really enjoyable, especially that chop. The rub on it was just ridiculous. Service was okay. Our server was a little grumpy. It was late on a Sunday, though, so I'll cut her some slack.
The bone marrow at Purple Pig was good, but did not blow be away. I know there's only so much you can do to roasted bone marrow, but as I was eating it, saw one or two other items on the menu that may have been a better choice. Service was great, though, and what a really cool place. The pig jowl on that BLT was truly like crispy butter, topped with a fried egg. Man! And the Barbera I had was fantastic.
Had the churro twice. Once after Frontera, just by itself. Had it the next night walking back to the hotel from GT, but this time could not pass up the soft serve. Dipped one into the other. Little bit of heaven right there.
Of my four favorites, hard to choose one as the winner. If I HAD to choose, probably the duck, just because of that mole. But on another day, I might have picked something else.
All said, Chicago food is hard to beat. Can't wait to come back.