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5 reasons why I love…The Purple Pig

Oh man, there really are so many more than 5, but categories are categories, so here goes it…
1. The menu. Sure there are plenty of small plates menus out there, but I love the variety and depth of Purple Pig’s. And by depth I mean you pretty much want one of everything, from seasonal antipasti like salt-roasted beets with whipped goat cheese, to sardines with shaved fennel salad, pork liver pâté smears, and milk-braised pork shoulder with mashed potatoes (a personal favorite), jamon serrano with oyster mushrooms and razor clams with oregano.
2. The vibe. So you might be just off Michigan Ave and steps from Nordstrom, but you have no idea once inside. The space remains intimate and cozy, and you don’t mind being just a few inches from you neighbors at the banquette, and the communal table and bar is always bustling. I also love the music—it’s loud enough to add the right amount of energy, and quiet enough for the server to still hear your order, plus it’s always awesomely random…ranging from Rush to Jay-Z.
3. Service. Always on point. The menu and wine list (also amazing!) are extensive and it’s great when you servers can help you choose a pairing for pig’s ears, decide among 7 enticing smears and make sure you didn’t miss the pork fried almonds with rosemary and garlic starter.
4. The dolci. Pig ear’d out or not, don’t skip dessert. Think hot espresso poured over toasted cinnamon gelato, a Sicilian Iris (ricotta with chocolate chip filled brioche) and Italian wedding cookies.
5. Turkey legs. A massive, sweet glazed one is on the spring menu and I tackled that thing (with a dining companion) like I was at Medieval Times and our knight was kicking some serious arena-ass. The Purple Pig, 500 N. Michigan Ave.

Peas and bacon with Pecorino and spearmint

Spring peas and faro with red pearl onions and feta

Sardines with shaved fennel salad and lemon vinaigrette

Razer clams with oregano, lemon and olive oil

Carrot salad with fig conserva

OMG...turkey leg.


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