The Purple Pig: In Honor of Pork
Just along Chicago's Magnificent Mile, The Purple Pig is cooking up something real. The owner, Jimmy Bannos Jr., is the mastermind behind the eatery. The product of his creativity is a wide variety of small Mediterranean plates with Italian, Greek, and Spanish influences.
The ambiance of this place is lively but busy - the kind where it feels a bit too hectic. I can't say that I felt the right kind of hospitality but I don't really blame them. There's almost always a line out the door. Go early if you don't want to wait.
There's an extensive wine list that I wish I explored but this was our last meal before getting on the plane back to NYC. But, we did order a feast. Some highlights include the Whipped Feta with Date Crackers and the Crispy Pig's Ears with Kale and Pickled Cherry Peppers. Everything was impressive.
All in all, I think The Purple Pig is consistent, reliable, and delicious. Their dishes are creative but not cheesy. The ingredients have a purpose. I'll be coming back every time I'm in Chicago.
Here's a sneak peak at The Purple Pig's dining room. There's an open kitchen where you can peek into all the fun happening. While there's a good amount of seating, you should expect a wait especially during peak eating hours.
The restaurant is well-lit and vibrant. You might see a lot of tourists here as this is one of Chicago's more popular restaurants.
Earlier this day, Steph and I were just confessing our love for... feta. When we saw it on the menu, we absolutely had to have it. This Whipped Feta came with a row of Date Crackers, Saffron Pickled Leeks, Snow Peas, and Watercress.
This was phenomenal. It was a lot of fun to eat. The feta was light and airy but there was so much great flavor. [$14 USD]
When something is good, why not top it with a nicely cooked fried egg. In this case, The Purple Pig topped their Crispy Pig's Ears with just that.
My favorite part about this dish is that it's simple. It's paired with crispy kale and some pickled cherry peppers. Boom. [$13 USD]
Now, here's something epic. We ordered one plate of Milk Braised Berkshire Pork Shoulder with Mashed Potatoes and Puffed Farro. The pork was so tender and juicy that we didn't even need a knife to pull the meat apart.
I would order this again. [$19 USD]
Finally, we got their Housemade Hotdog. It was good but it was just a hotdog - juicier than most though.
Eating like it's our profession...