Publican is from the team that brought you the popular Blackbird and avec restaurants. Here the focus is along the lines of the trendy snout-to-tail concepts that Chicagoans are eating up, although fish and seafood are also part of the mix here.
Beer is also given prominence. (Truth be told, of all the restaurants that would like to be known as a gastropub just because they like the way it sounds, Publican could probably claim the name easily -- but it doesn’t.)
I ordered a tall glass of Joe’s Premium American Pilsner and a plate of charcuterie. The meats included pork pie, pork foie gras terrine, head cheese, culatello and morteau sausage, plus there were pickles and mustards. It came with a cone of crispy fries. All just fine, nothing stellar. The beer was cold and delicious.
The space is rather cold, with big, blocky wood tables and chairs and dozens of milky white light globes hanging from the ceiling. Along one wall is a row of booths that have doors on them, as though they were pens for animals. Odd.
I decided it was an OK place to stop in for a cold beer and a nosh, but I wouldn’t want to spend an evening dining there.
Publican is at 837 W. Fulton Market, Chicago, in the meat packing district, aptly enough. It is open for dinner daily and brunch Sunday. Most entrees are under $20. Here’s a link to thepublicanrestaurant.com. The phone number is 312-733-9555.