This is the first post by our new food critic, Kevin Friduss. You can check out his other reviews here.
In January, the building at 400 North State Street, became the newest royalty of Chicago sports bars. Like its brother Bull & Bear, this after-work, beer enthusiast restaurant and bar features some of the most radical new technology in the city. Welcome to Public House.
I recently checked out what everyone was raving about, and wasn’t disappointed. The menu comes in a rustic leather case right out of a Harry Potter movie and includes an index so you don’t have to go looking through every page. I highly suggest looking through the entire menu, as they have some incredible new and twisted items that you may not find at any other venue.
While Public House has bar food like fried pickles and homemade soft pretzels, I tried to stick to the smokehouse flare like the Kobe Beef Brisket Sliders ($11), which come with a spicy barbeque sauce, with crispy shallots on a brioche bun. For those people that don’t know what brioche is, it’s heaven on your taste buds, alone. I spoke with David Rekhson, one of the owners of Public House, who also owns Bull & Bear and Stone Lotus, who said the most popular item is the Multiple Mac & Cheese ($8). Why so popular? You can add items like chicken chili or wild mushrooms along other fun accoutrements into the mix. For the ultimate in Mac & Cheese, add everything for an awesome $30. I hope you like to share your food.
After your first course, check out their grilled flat breads, soups & salads, and an epic list of mouth watering entrees which features the best sandwich I have ever tasted. For those of you who love seafood, the Tiger Shrimp Burger ($12) is so good that you won’t want to put it back on your plate. Delivered on a Hawaiian sesame bun is a sweet and spicy shrimp patty topped with Balsamic glazed red onion arugula, tomato, and smoked jalapeno aioli. Not to be outdone, the hand cut fries leave an aftertaste on your palette that you won’t want to lose.
Finishing off your meal, award winning pastry chef and MOT Mindy Segal has desserts that you don’t want to miss regardless of how full you are. For example, take the Waffles & Bananas ($8), which comes with malted banana ice cream, toasted marshmallows, milk chocolate hot fudge, and a caramelized Belgium waffle.
With 10,000 square feet and 103 different types of beer, Public House is in a separate category of competing for “Best Bar” because of its Tap Technology that is exclusive to Twilight Traffic Controls, LLC. Each booth, like Bull & Bear, has its own Tap system to eliminate having to go to the bar for a drink. Not only can you request any type of 25 tap beers, but you can also hook them up to liquors such as vodka or whiskey. All you need to order is the juice, soda, or shot glasses. One of the coolest things about the menu at Public House is that each beer they offer comes with a description of what you can expect.
David notes that reservations are preferred up to a month in advance for weekends. If you are lucky enough to get a booth, your server will swipe a computer FOB, allowing each guest to consume up to 24 ounces of alcohol.
Reservations for weekly dinner service should be made a week or a couple of days in advance, but David definitely recommends making a reservation before coming. He added “there's plenty of first come, first serve seating in both of our bars, but these seats tend to fill up very quickly right after work.”
If you aren’t a beer drinker or you haven't secured a booth, cocktails still flow with the likes of Monk-y Business ($12) with Absolut vanilla, Bacardi raspberry, Navan, coconut puree, fresh lime juice, Demarera syrup, and acacia honey or a nice list of wines, ports, and sakes. Most of their specialty cocktails imitate a beer that they have on their menu so moving away from that brown ale or Mexican lager might be harder then you think.
Public House is for everyone; not just the tourist and after work drinkers. So come in, grab your friends, have a bite and a drink and relax in the newest hot and sexy sports bar in Chicago. Public House. Grill. Tap. Happy Place. This is a one of a kind, not to be missed, dining and drinking experience.