Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Oct 13, 2008 12:50 PM

Bristol, Farmerie 58, or Publican

Anyone one have reviews for these places? Did a search and didn't come up with any posts.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. They are all very new. Based on the track record of the owners, I'd put my money on Publican.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ems

      based on what i know i would go to Bristol...i am moving back to Chicago in 2 weeks and it will be my 1st dinner destination.

    2. Publican is getting good buzz and strong reviews. It's the one I want to try first. LTHforum has some pictures up from a few folks that tried it. It seems like the oysters, ham, sweetbreads and pork rinds are what to try (and the great selection of beers, of course).

      1. Bristol Report:

        Ok, so last night Mr. CG and I went to a terrible concert (too loud, too distorted -- we're getting old) and left early.

        Hungry. Where should we go?

        Bristol is literally walking distance from home. We loved it early on when it was BabaLuci and then that went downhill. LaCava was not worth the bother. The early reviews were intriguing so we stopped there.

        They serve late. Good. Nice wine list, even by the glass. Also good.

        The food, as you may know is mostly small dishes so we had the chance to graze and try a lot. The fried green tomatoes were a little too heavily breaded, but nicely spicey. Could have used a bit more sauce.

        Sardines were small (ok they were sardines, but there were only 3 of them) and not memorable.

        Wings were wonderfully de-constructed Buffalo-type. Boned and instead of spicy sauce on the outside, they were stuffed with chorizo. They sat in a light blue cheese cream sauce and were topped with finely sliced and dressed celery, plus leaves. A winner.

        Mussels were one hit of the evening. Big, juicy and in a great broth, slightly thickened with egg yolk.

        The much vaunted money bread was fresh and hot. Next time I want to try the flatbread with bacon and "melted leeks."

        The other hit was the chocolate saboyan with homemdade "nutterbutter" cookies. Another deconstructed wonder, laced with sea salt, the darn thing should be illegal.

        The only down side was that the service was a little hovering and patronizing, but maybe it was just the particular waiter we had. We'll have to see, but we will go back. The kitchen knows what it is doing. Look forward to see how it evolves.

        6 Replies
        1. re: chicgail

          We also live walking distance to Bristol, and have been several times. Chicgail, maybe we've seen each other in the 'hood?

          I haven't been to the others yet. The food is good - and I think it's a reasonable value for what you are getting. The folks who work there are nice. I see what you're saying about "hovering and patronizing" but I think it's more that they are new and don't want to screw up, and want to make sure that people who haven't been there before "get" what they are doing. I'd change the words to "overeager and overinformative" - a more positive interpretation of the behavior ;)

          1. re: leek

            Ok, neighbor, thanks for the new context in which to hold the waitstaff at Bristol.

            I have a question for you. Have you tried Duchamps yet? I wanted to like Meritage in the worst way, and traied it several times. While I loved the garden and I always felt that the food was good, it never occurred for me as stunning and the prices out of line for what I got. I've heard mixed things about the new place, and I'm curious. Have you been there? What did you think? Is it the same kitchen staff/management?

            Now, if we run into each other in the "hood, how in the heck will we know it? Do you look like that yellow car? I may look a little like the baby, but I have aged a tad since then.

            1. re: chicgail

              Hah, I drive that yellow car, hope I don't look like it :) Hmm...

              I also thought Meritage was overpriced. I am not thrilled with Duchamp, but the patio is so nice we'll probably go back in the summer. It is not the same owner/manager. We'll see how they do over the winter.

              1. re: leek

                I, also, am in the Btown hood. I have been interested to try The Bristol, but am underwhelmed by communal seating....any others you have tried in the area lately you have liked? I found Duchamp to be overpriced, overhyped with average food (and small portions). I also think the garden area when it was Meritage was much prettier than what it is now (although I, too, agree about Meritage being overpriced and kind of boring). I have to say that I am not typically a Francesca fan, I do really enjoy Francesca's Forno...

                1. re: ljero

                  Okay, should we arrange a Bucktown meetup? I live just a couple of blocks from the Bristol as well. Went last Tuesday night and . . . wanted to like it far more than I actually did.

                  The room is warm and pleasant (ljero, there are several two- and four-tops, and two big communal tables as well as bar seating), the service slightly oversolicitous but I won't knock off points for that. Good wine & beer selection. My big problem was that I didn't find any of the flavors very compelling. Everything, from the monkey bread to the roasted squash, was undersalted. The grilled prawns had a really weird texture, like they'd been marinated too long. And the pork-belly pierogis sounded like a great idea but the filling was mighty mushy/cheesy/nondescript.

                  The place was hopping by 7 p.m., though, and seems to stay that way long into the night. I'll try it again but am bummed that my high hopes weren't realized.

                  1. re: mcgeary

                    Def. should have a Bucktown meetup :) I think the mods frown on arranging things here though, so sign up at and we can do it over there.

                    I never thought the monkey bread sounded worth getting - I don't want to have to pay for bread! I think they may have dialed the salt down too much - it was all oversalted when they first opened. I've liked the salads a lot, and want to try the burger.

        2. I was there last week and posted a review on my dining blog...we mostly went in for straight-up pork and beer, but they have quite a few great-looking seafood dishes too. My regret? Not getting the fries with the farm fresh egg on top...they're supposed to be really good. But I'll definitely be back. Check out my review here:

          1. This week's Chicago Magazine's Dish column noted that the chef at Farmerie 58 just quit, after the restaurant had been open all of five weeks.