Address: 500 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Price Range: One of those places you treat yourself to, unless you’re loaded of course
This weekend my best friend from home came to visit. We basically forgone most of the tourist attractions and just stuffed our faces. We visited the Purple Pig for dinner on Monday thanks to the 4000 plus reviews on Yelp. I’ve never eaten at a restaurant similar to this so I was really excited.
After asking whether we’ve been to the place before, the waiter recommended the four most popular dishes and we ended up getting three of them (ambitious I know). The first dish that came out was the Roasted Bone Marrow with Herb Salad & Sicilian Sea Salt. The bone marrow is cooked to a semi-buttery consistency to be spread on a piece of toast. Although it is oily, the herb salad has a lemony sour base to it so the whole dish doesn’t feel heavy.
The next dish was the fried pig’s ear. Some may think it’s weird, but being Asian I’m super used to eating the ear and it is delicious. This was different from how I usually eat it though, fried and really crispy compared to marinated and chewy. The item is basically the American twin of the Bibimbap, a basic Korean dish. The server told us to mix everything together, he specifically emphasized on mixing in the half done yolk, to have the best experience. I loved the texture of the ear. The sourness of pickled peppers lightens the otherwise oily and heavy dish.
The last order, also called an a la plancha on the menu, was octopus. They were the size of imitation crab legs but have the texture of chicken. It was very interesting but delicious. Similar to the other two dishes, this one also have a tangy taste.
But of course, how can we finish a meal without dessert. We were considering going somewhere else for dessert, but Shelley wanted to try the Sicilian Iris and I was eyeing the Affogato so we ended up not leaving. The Sicilian Iris is a fried brioche filled with ricotta and chocolate chip, it’s not pictured cause was too busy eating. Despite my dislike for cheese and most dairy product, this was pretty alright. It was light and not very creamy/milky/the taste I don’t like about dairy. As for the Affogato, we thoroughly enjoyed every last bit. The bitter espresso compliments the sweetness of the vanilla ice cream, although it didn’t look soft served to me.
Despite being a Monday evening, the restaurant was packed. Since it was pretty nice out, we sat outside on a big table we shared with like five or more other groups (of two). I really liked the atmosphere of the restaurant. There was a lot of sharing going on, table sharing, food sharing, dessert sharing. Everything is made to be shared. However because of all the sharing, this might not be a perfect walk-in restaurant for a date. But I guess if you make a reservation beforehand for a separate table, it should be fine. The servers were also very nice and friendly. I really enjoyed the experience. One thing I have to point out is that the restaurant is not very spacious. It can hold a lot of people, but the walkways are small.
All in all, I enjoyed all of the dishes we ordered. If I had to pick a favorite one out of the three main courses, it would probably be pig’s ear because of how crunchy it is. I love crunchy deep fried things. I would definitely recommend this restaurant. Just be awared that the prices are a little high so you have an idea of what you are getting into before going all out on ordering.
Hope you enjoyed me taking you along on my experience at The Purple Pig, I got hungry again while writing this. If you have any food place recommendations, please let me know!