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First Publican, then Girl and the Goat . . .

NY hounder here. My wife and I will be in town for New Years. We are currently looking to finalize dinner plans for 12/30.

Our two favorite Chicago jaunts were to Publican and Girl and the Goat. We currently have a reservation at Takashi, but can be swayed to go elsewhere.

Given our love of Publican and Girl and the Goat, anyone have any recommendations that we should consider in lieu of Takashi?

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  1. I absolutely love Publican, and also like Girl and the Goat a lot, so it seems like we have similar taste. Three places I would strongly consider if I were choosing are Longman and Eagle, Purple Pig, and Perennial Virant. Longman and Purple Pig both do not take reservations, and others will surely chime in and say the waits will be horrendous and maybe not worth it. However, if you go on the earlier side you should be fine and the food at these places is definitely worth a short wait if necessary. If you go to Longman, head over to the Whistler after dinner for some amazing cocktails and live music.

    1. I love Publican and Girl and the Goat, as well (and I'm a NYer), and I think you should consider a meal at Yusho. Creative small plates inspired by Asador Etxebarri and Japanese yakitori, helmed by a Charlie Trotter vet. And they've got a great cocktail list, too.

      1. >> Our two favorite Chicago jaunts were to Publican and Girl and the Goat. We currently have a reservation at Takashi, but can be swayed to go elsewhere.

        Publican and G&TG are both very casual, festive/noisy, bar-ish restaurants whose menus lean towards a small plates format. Takashi is really not like that; it's more upscale, not as festive/noisy, and more conventional in menu.

        Other excellent places that are similar to Publican and G&TG (casual, festive, bar-ish, small plates) include Sable, Mercat a la Planxa, Quartino, GT Fish & Oyster, Perennial Virant, the Purple Pig, and Avec. The first five accept reservations; the last two do not. (If you decide to try the Purple Pig, in addition to going early as Bdav suggests, another trick to avoiding long waits there is to go at lunchtime.)

        1. I adore all three.Your choices are perfect.

          Just had one of the most amazing meals I've ever had at Takashi. Chef Takashi was out and in the house being gracious and friendly between expediting.

          There was much that we wanted on the menu so we passed on the prix fixe tasting menu because it didn’t come close to including everything we wanted to taste.

          The menu changes seasonally, but the duck salad that included confit, duck prosciutto and the lentils (cooked in yuzo and mirin) were the best I'd ever tasted. Other great dishes were the seared foie gras, the crispy veal sweetbreads and the deconstructed pork bun. The chicken in a clay pot is also not to be missed.

          Change nothing and have a wonderful time. Can't wait to hear how it went.

            1. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Takashi. Been there a few times and liked it very much. Though, different from Publican and Girl and the Goat.

              1. Also a NYer.

                If youve had dinner at Publican but not their brunch and you will be around for brunch go there. Their brunch I had a 1 month back was fantastic. Thick sweet salty maple bacon! Gooey sticky bun! Carbonara. Poached eggs. Etc. Cant go wrong.

                Went to Takashi about a 1 1/2 yrs ago and had about 6 dishes. 2 were outstanding (the peekytoe crab salad w/ avocado, cucumber, curried rice chip and carrot-cumin coulis and also the sauteed Maine scallops with soba gnocchi, trumpet royale, and celery root-parmesan foam). the rest of the dishes were very good . I'm pretty sure your meal will be solid unless it went down hill since I've been.

                I've had lunch at Purple Pig and it was also very good. Pork shoulder. Bone marrow. Etc.

                If you've liked Publican you can try Avec. No resy from what I recall. Get there early. Ive been a few times and have always been happy. Bacon-wrapped chorizo-stuffed dates are the yummiest.

                I've had lunch and dinner at North Pond. The lunch was a few years ago and wonderful. Nice spring day. View of the pond. Good eats. The dinner was more recent, about 8 months ago and was ok but not spectacular.

                My most recent trip 1 month ago we went to Acadia and EL Ideas for dinner, brunch as I mentioned at Publican, and as always, I like to go over to Floriole for a laminated pastry.

                Gonna be back this weekend. Going to Alinea and Grace.

                Let us know what you think.

                1 Reply
                1. re: prcentauri

                  >> I've had lunch and dinner at North Pond.

                  Just note, North Pond is only open for lunch on weekdays during the summer, not the rest of the year. Year round it's open for dinner and for Sunday brunch.

                2. Just a note that Publican always has an interesting prix fixe menu for NYE, and it's also one of the better NYE values in town.

                  1. I love both Publican and Girl and the Goat as well. As others have mentioned, check out The Purple Pig (better than Publican, IMHO) or Avec.

                    If you're into the meaty meals and a great beer list, I'd also recommend Au Cheval. Amazing foie gras and scrambled eggs, great bone marrow, and some fantastic beers (check out the sours).

                    1. Thanks to everyone for the recommendations (esp Kathryn, been a fan of her posts for years). So I think after much deliberating, we plan on the following rundown:

                      Night 1: going with friends that live in Chicago to Gilt Bar for dinner
                      Day 2: (Just my wife and I) I think brunch at Purple Pig and we are going to keep our Takashi dinner reservations.
                      Day 3 (NYE): Unsure as to brunch, and meeting friends from out of town (there are 12 of us) for an early dinner at Publican.

                      I will be sure to let everyone knows how things work out.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: liebersh

                        Great choices. Have a wonderful time and, if you get a chance, let us know what you think.

                        1. re: liebersh

                          I've had excellent breakfast/brunch/lunches at Longman & Eagle, Jam, Southport Grocery, Big Jones. Wasn't a huge fan of Bongo Room but you have a giant sweet tooth, you might like it.

                          Haven't made it to m. henry, Lula Cafe, 2 Sparrows yet.


                          nsxtasy's brunch posts are also very helpful, do a search.

                          1. re: kathryn

                            >> nsxtasy's brunch posts are also very helpful, do a search.

                            Thanks! You'll find them in the brunch discussion at www.chow.com/topics/364403

                        2. we ended up having dinner on January 30 at Takashi. It was a Sunday night, so our options were limited to a choice of two tasting menus, one being 7 courses and the other 11. We went with the 11 course tasting, with the pairings. Delicious meal. I cannot say that I would have enjoyed a Japanese tasting menu with sake so much, but in fact it was that delicious. Incredibly fresh sashimi was a perfect copliment to deliciously rich ramen (ideal contrasts). Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. Man, do I love Chicago.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: liebersh

                            So glad you enjoyed it. Takashi is, for me, head and shoulders over most other restaurants in the city and especially in that neighborhood. I haven't tried their special Sunday tasting menu, but you've encouraged me to do so.