I met an old friend for lunch at the Purple Pig today. The Purple Pig’s motto of Cheese, Swine & Wine is certainly upheld if the menus are any evidence. We arrived at 11:30 but the place filled very quickly. Some have complained about the noise level and while it was loud, it was certainly manageable. Relatively small inside, it has some room on a covered heated patio, though today we opted for inside.
Our wait staff was friendly and informed. Sadly, as it is a lunch in the work week, we did not indulge in any wine, though the list was rather extensive.
Eager to dig in, we ordered the Purple Pig Platter ($29) – a sampler of cured meats including Catalonian Fuet, Coppa, Sopressata, Testa, Lingua Agrodulce, Jamo Serrano and Prociutto Di Parma. My dining companion and I both favored the Fuet and the Sopressata, though the testa melted in your mouth, the Coppa had a lovely anise note to it, and the Lingua had a dash of vinegar. It was reminiscent of the most tender corned beef you could ever imagine. We talked about making a Reuben sandwich with it, but only if the lingua was shaved paper thin as it was here.
A three cheese ($17) sample of Valdeon (a cow and goats milk blue), Gouda, and Truffle Tremor, a goat cheese infused with Truffles. Served with large croutons and Mostarda di Frutta, the Valdeon was particularly sublime.
The porcine pleasures continued with Pigs Ear with Crispy Kale, pickled Cherry Peppers & Fried Egg ($6). The pigs’ ear, julienned, battered and fried, is tossed with fried Kale and strips of pickled Cherry pepper. A fried egg sits atop the golden mound of porky goodness. Some reviewers have said the egg doesn’t work. I wholly disagree. Have you never sopped up egg yolk with your hash browns? The crispy, salty ear and kale, is cut with the acidity of the peppers, and once you break the yolk, is awash in a gold sauce. By this point we had abandoned civility and were using our hands to devour the lunch.
Our final indulgence was the Pork Liver Pate ($6) from the Smears segment of the menu – a tub of smooth creamy –also melt in your mouth- deliciousness. It was good that we only had a lunch hour; I would have stayed for hours and hours, plowing my way through the menu. As it is, there are plenty of menu items left, so I’ll be sure to be back!
Until next time, Eat Well & Keep Digging!
The Gastronomic Gardener
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Restaurant Review The Purple Pig. 500 N Michigan Ave Chicago IL.