You know when you visit a place more than once it’s a keeper.
As much as we love trying new restaurants, The Food Channel staff keeps getting drawn back to The Purple Pig on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. We’ve even developed a few favorites, and enjoy introducing others to what we love. Here, then, are a few of the dishes we crave.
The Purple Pig is known for its “cheese, swine & wine,” so of course expect a predominance of pork products on the menu. It’s considered a small plates menu, with no formal coursing, and the plates come out as they are ready. Odds are good the simple things on the Antipasti menu will come out first, but you never know—and it won’t matter, since flavor is flavor.
We recommend the Broccoli with Roasted Garlic, Toasted Breadcrumbs & Anchovy Vinaigrette. Don’t let the words “broccoli” or “anchovy” scare you. The taste of this dish will send you over the top. All dishes are meant to be shared, but this is one you may decide to claim for yourself.
Also on the Antipasti side are the Salt-Roasted Beets with Whipped Goat Cheese & Pistachio Vinaigrette. The Purple Pig was serving beets and pistachios even before they mainstreamed as a trend, and this dish is the poster child for delicious.
We also can’t resist the Grilled Marinated Olives with Mint, Celery, Fennel Salad & Orange Marmalade. Who put those combinations together and knew they would work? They definitely do.
As for Smears, another menu section, try the Pork Liver Pate, which comes with crusty toasted bread and more than enough to share with the table. If you are adventurous, you’ll love the Pork Neck Bone Gravy with Ricotta and/or the Roasted Bone Marrow with Herb Salad & Sicilian Sea Salt.
We generally skip the fried items (not that you have to) and go right to the A La Plancha, Etc. section, where we are addicted to the Milk Braised Pork Shoulder with Mashed Potatoes. Nothing is quite as tender, trust us. The Housemade Meatballs with Green Garlic Ricotta Puree & Toasted Brioche were pretty amazing, and we loved the Osso Buco, if they ever return it to the menu.
Beyond that, indulge if you can in the chef’s selection of a charcuterie plate, and save room for dessert.
They recommend ordering two to three items per person, depending on how hungry you are, and we recommend going early before the crowd starts to line up, because they don’t take reservations. It’s worth waiting for, though, so plan accordingly.
Keep in mind that their menu changes from time to time, so while most of the things we’ve mentioned have been staples for awhile, there is never a guarantee that they won’t have something even more fabulous planned.