Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Purple Pig: It's A Squeal Not An Oink!

The Purple Pig is a collaboration of Chefs Scott Harris of Mia Francesca, Jimmy Bannos Jr. and Jimmy Bannos Sr. of Heaven on Seven. And a PERFECT collaboration it is.

I was expecting good but this place was downright inspiring. I give it 5 stars right off the bat because it has the whole package: Great Food, A Beautiful Atmosphere and Exceptional Service.

So what was perfect?

The Price: A lot of things on the menu are $6-$8. Sharing them and ordering an assortment of dishes will add to your total experience. After trying three outstanding small plates I was ready to try more except I was so full I could not even think about eating another bite. I was both disappointed and relieved when I called for the check.

The Highlight: Pig’s Ear with Crispy Kale, marinated Cherry Peppers & a Fried Egg. It was like having breakfast late and it was THE BEST and most unusual dish I have had in a long time. The fact that it was served in a little red pig was cute enough but it was also big enough for two and did I mention TO DIE FOR! Not many foods in my review rank that high.

Also: The Calabro Ricotta with Pork Neck Bone Gravy – a spread with a superb rich flavor and so huge I gave half to the table next door. They were a newly married couple who also in turn gave me a taste of their Eggplant Caponata made with eggplant, raisins, red wine vinegar and soon to be off the menu for seasonal reasons. Beg them to bring it back! This spread was incredible. I l like eggplant and this was a really outstanding combination and the goat cheese they served it with totally made the dish!

And speaking of the table next door...this place is small and cozy and it drives conversation. The people at the table next door will be your new BFFs by the time you finish your lunch. There are also some great communal tables which could make for interesting conversations not to mention pair offs.

Our Waiter: Lucas – perhaps the most knowledgeable waiter I have had in a long time. He knew the menu so well and his recommendations to all of the customers around me were right on. Everyone loved their food...especially the salads.Isn’t it all about a well trained staff? It’s such a bonus to get a talented waiter when you are ordering things off a menu and you don’t have the first clue what they are.

Next Time: The Pig’s tail. Can’t imagine what they are going to do with that but sure it is going to be interesting.

I also liked the outdoor terrace and it will make The Purple Pig THE PLACE TO GO this summer. It opens in two weeks and I can image the lines already.

I went on a Monday, traditionally a slow day for most restaurants, and it was crowded.

At 500 N Michigan, this is my new favorite restaurant.

And that’s a squeal not an oink!