Picture this: you have some very special guests in from out of town and you want to take them someplace great. With bathing suit season fast approaching (!), you also don’t want the night to be a total splurge. You decide on The Publican, a restaurant known for its obsession with all things pork. Should you just give up now and embrace your inner Miss Piggy?
- Miss Piggy
Absolutely not! First, The Publican serves much more than just pork, although there are plenty of pork and other carnivore splurges on the menu (blood sausage, bollito misto, pork belly, etc…). We began the night with the chef’s selection of oysters, which, so long as you do not have cholesterol issues, are a diet-friendly appetizer that offer a nice, non-breadbasket way to start a meal.
- Oysters - Chef's Selection
We also ordered the “taste of three hams,” a platter of thinly shaved Serrano, la quercia rossa, and benton country hams. According to Livestrong.com, 2 ounces of Serrano ham contains about 190 calories and 13 grams of fat, about 5 grams of which are saturated. When eaten in moderation (i.e. a small portion rounded out by other, healthy dishes), aged ham is another good appetizer option.
One of my favorite things about pork is its versatility. There are several lean cuts of meat that are excellent sources of healthy protein. Pork tenderloins, for example, have 96 calories and 3 grams of fat in a 3-ounce serving, according to the Food Network. Loin chops and sirloin roasts are also lean cuts. But the fattier cuts have some of the most fantastic flavor, and just a little will go a long, long way. The golden trout, the standout of the night for us, was the perfect example of this. Rather than just serving whole trout, which was very good on its own, The Publican included bacon with the fish, bringing a whole new level of intensity and depth to the flavor profile of the dish.
- Golden Trout...with Bacon
And lest you think we went too healthy at The Publican, I assure you we tried some of the more splurge-worthy items. We ate family style and, as I’ve mentioned previously, this is an ideal way to sample lots of different dishes, particularly when some of them are less-than-diet-friendly. We ordered the country ribs, which were decent, and the sweetbreads (you either love ‘em or can’t stomach ‘em). The best splurge, however, were the frites with eggs. Spectacular – and dangerous – combination.
- Frites with Eggs
Try The Publican at 837 W. Fulton Market.