Review By: Stefanie Parks –
I’ve been dying to try Publican Quality Meats forever. I feel like I say that about every restaurant I write about, and I really do always mean it, but PQM has been on my list for as long as I can remember. I first read about it a few months before moving to NY (almost a year ago), and by the time it opened I was already gone (boo hoo for me). Well, I FINALLY got to try it this week when I was in Chicago for Thanksgiving.
We arrived in Chicago on Saturday morning, and no-joke, went straight from the airport to Publican Quality Meats. What a nice start to our trip! We walked in and were seated at one of their three communal tables next to two groups of people who were eating pretty much every single thing that we were deciding between. Of course, we had scoped out the menu before we arrived, but what we didn’t know was that there would be a separate brunch menu that we hadn’t seen before. I guess we also didn’t know how good every single thing would look.
It was a hard decision, but we finally decided on a cup of Crab Chowder (blue crab potatoes, fennel, celery, sherry, cream and crab salad topping), the PB&L (lamb and pork belly sausage, feta, cilantro, and piperade on a franks n’ dawgs lobster roll), Barbacoa (pork belly barbacoa, fried eggs, farmers cheese, radish and salsa verde on foccacia), and last but not least, a side of potato salad.
The crab chowder came out first, and I swear I could have had three more bowls of this and left happy. It was amazing. Maybe the best chowder I’ve ever had… And I’ve eaten a lot of chowder.
Then the rest of the food came out. The barbacoa was like a big open-faced sandwich with a fried egg on top. It was extremely flavorful and delicious, but very heavy. I loved it and probably would have loved it even more had I been hungover. We ordered the PB&L after reading about it in an article in Chicago Magazine about the top 5 sandwiches in Chicago. I probably wouldn’t have ordered it had I not read about it beforehand, am I’m glad I did, but mostly because it was less filling and less heavy than most of the other sandwiches would have been. Don’t get me wrong, it was very tasty and I loved that it was topped with feta, but while eating it I was a little envious of some of the other sandwiches I was seeing all around me.
All-in-all, it was a great meal and I have to say that Publican Quality Meats was definitely worth the wait. It was as good of a meal, and probably better, than any meal I’ve had in New York… And by the time we paid the check, I was already wondering if I would have time to come back later in the week to try some of the other amazing-looking sandwiches.