Review: Publican, Sable
Being in town for a wedding, we only had one dinner that we could plan ahead for ourselves and it was hard choice. With the help of Chowhounders, we chose Publican, made a reservation, asking for a 2 top, and hoped we would be happy with the choice. Boy were we ever!! All the glowing reviews are well earned and I'll add yet another here.
Choosing what to order was a challenge because everything looked amazing. This is definitely the kind of place where it would be so fun to go with a crew and order and try a dozen things. But alas, we were only 2. Fortunately, they offer small portion choices so we did try a number of things and everything was delicious.
We started with a taste of ham. Served with butter and truly excellent fresh dark rye bread, this ham was certainly something special. Next came pork and duck rillettes with blueberries. On delicious buttered and grilled sourdough, this was to die for. So rich and flavorful! The bread was fantastic and we ate every crumb.
Next we decided we'd try to save our stomachs from distress (we wanted the chicken liver pate and the sweetbreads, and the pork belly!) and ordered the sand dabs. Described as similar to Dover sole, this delicate white fish was served with the bones in, in a curry sauce with cauliflower. very delicious, but very bony. I'm pretty skilled at de-boning and the main spine lifted out easily but there were a lot of very tiny bones and we had to be very careful while eating it. But it was truly delicious.
We ended our savory pig out with suckling pig. served with plums, braised greens & polenta. This was a truly awesome dish. The plums added sweetness to offset the bitterness of the greens and the greens cut through the unctuousness of the pig, and the polenta added a creaminess that put the whole thing over the top. Outstanding.
I must say that i was disappointed with the dessert menu the night we were there (apparently it changes all the time) as I was craving chocolate and there was not a single choice with chocolate as an ingredient. Not many of the choises appealed so we decided to go for house made ice cream and had a serving of peach, which was very fruity and refreshing and a serving of peanut butter crunch, which was great but would have been seriously improved by chocolate bits or chocolate sauce IMHO. But still, no complaints.
The service was really friendly and helpful and the atmosphere convivial, bordering on raucous. The noise level was seriously high but we thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and would return in a heartbeat!
Sunday night, after all the wedding festivities wound down, we decided to pop into Sable for a little snacking and a drink. We walked in around 8:30 and sat down in the over sized comfy chairs in the bar area. We wished we were hungrier than we were, there were so many things on the menu that looked amazing, but alas we could only try a few things.
Being east Coasters and this being our first trip to the Midwest, we decided we had to try the fried cheese curds. What could be bad? Anything battered and deep fried is fine in my book. We really enjoyed these, served with a house made spicy ketchup. We also had a half order of cherry glazed spare ribs, which were incredibly meaty, moist and delicious. But the very best thing, not only here at Sable but of the whole trip (including Publican, Ginos East, brunch at Sable, Jam and Meli Cafe) was the corn creme brulee. OMG!!! The ultimate sweet/savory/creamy/ crunchy treat anywhere on the planet. Perfect, unsweetened custard with intense corn flavor and plenty of fresh, crisp corn kernels, topped with a bruleed sugar crust with flecks of coarse salt all over. If you like salted caramel, oh boy! This dish was definitely to die for! It was between a savory and a sweet to a great segue to dessert.
Unlike The Publican, everything on the dessert menu was seriously tempting and I so wished I had room for more than 1. After much deliberation, we decided to go for the chocolate we hadn't had all weekend and ordered dark chocolate souffle cake with peanut butter sauce and salted caramel ice cream. Superb. Heavenly. Wonderful. We left as very happy campers and while it seems there's a bit of a consensus that Sable is mostly for drinks and the food is secondary, I'd go back for food. Both the brunch (reviewed separately) and this little meal were great.