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June 28, 2010

The Purple Pig

by gastronomicbypass

Location – 500 N. Michigan (Illinois and Michigan)

In one word – avec-ish

Food – When I read the “Cheese, Wine and Swine” sign at the entrance to the restaurant, I knew I was dealing with a winner.  You get what the sign describes in small plates, so come with people you like to share with so you can order everything.  I came famished and ordered accordingly:  Salt-roasted beets with whipped goat cheese and pistachio vinegrette (good portions of beets, which I love, but nothing out of this world), the endive salad (not memorable), the grilled cheese of the day (where the chef just puts whatever cheese he feels like – the roulette of grilled cheeses, recommend this), milk braised pork shoulder with mashed potatoes (quite possibly the most decadent dish I have had in a while.  Get it, but you must share to avoid the heart attack).

Drink -I was pleasantly surprised by the vastness of the wine list (though they barely had any American options.  U-S-A! U-S-A!).  No matter your drinking habit, this place can accommodate you.You can order a glass, quartino (1/3 of a bottle), half bottle or whole bottle.

Service – I really liked our server.  She was focused on us without being too intrusive.  She also provided us with her honest recommendations on food.  I hate when a) the server says “it’s all great!” or b) when the server has not sampled the entire menu.  She knew her stuff and had an opinion.  Automatic respect in my book.

Scene – This place is similar to avec and Eno, but the vibe is slightly (just slightly) older and more French countryside.  I think this is an excellent place for a work lunch, a dinner date or a night with your win-o girl friends.  It feels pretty versatile.  They also have a patio right on the Chicago River for some excellent vistas.

Dress – We came at lunchtime, so there was a mix of lunch break professionals and seniors enjoying the Chicago sun. As a result, I saw a gamut of clothing choices.  I think casual chic is very safe here.

Cost -As I am currently unemployed, my lovely eating partner picked up the check (thank you!).  However, you should expect to pay a minimum of $30/person and more if you choose to eat.

If you like – avec, Eno

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