Monday, November 28, 2016

Road Trip: Breakfast/Brunch in Chicago: Publican and Little Goat

A couple of recent breakfast/brunch experiences in Chicago. Both superb.

First, hubby and I ate at the Publican for brunch on a recent trip. I had never been—it’s a big space with just lots of giant communal tables pretty much. We were seated at the end of one and fairly quickly ordered our food.

I ordered the red wine poached eggs ($13)—sort of Publican’s version of deconstructed eggs benedict. The eggs are cooked in red wine and have a great additional flavor coming from it. They are served on top of toasted sourdough and with a bunch of shaved prosciutto on the side, as well as some lightly dressed greens. There was also a béarnaise sauce topping the eggs. I sort of made bites combining bits of everything and it was really delicious. There was so much acid coming from lots of places (the béarnaise, the greens and even the eggs) and when combined with the protein of the pork and the egg, it was a great combo.

However, it was hard to say which was better between this and the pork schnitzel that hubby ordered ($15). It was perfectly tender and fried pork tenderloin, and huge, on the plate topped with an herby corn chimichurri type sauce. There were also two perfectly cooked sunnyside up eggs. We were both so undecided about them (as to which was the best), we gave up and just switched plates halfway through the meal. They seem to change up the toppings on the schnitzel seasonally, but I’m pretty sure you would be well served with whatever goes on top.

The other breakfast I had a few weeks ago when I went to Chicago with my friend Suzanne and my daughter to see Hamilton (go see it!!). Suzanne and I had both been to Little Goat before, but we both loved it, so it was an easy choice for a return visit. Plus I knew my teenage daughter would love it. I was right.

I had the okonomiyaki ($13), which they now describe as “kimchee & bacon & eggs & pancakes breakfast tasty thing” on the menu. They are right. It is super delicious. It is a savory Japanese pancake made with bacon and kim chee and some sort of flour and eggs and topped with a slightly spicy mayo and a poached egg. Oh and these little crispy fried tempura bits. Seriously, this thing was so freaking good. 

I was a worried because I knew Suzanne was ordering the parathas burrito ($13), which I have had before and know is really good. I was worried I’d be jealous. But I would say I would be hard pressed to choose which was better. I love the tangy kick from the burrito from the dressed salad of greens, pickled peppers, beans and avocado, but I also loved the pure richness of the pancake. Thank goodness she’s a sharer. Actually I am pretty sure on any return visits, I would insist on ordering for whomever I am with and getting both. This is a great balanced combo. And if you’re wondering about the rest of the burrito, it is an Indian flatbread filled with two sunny side eggs and sitting on a slightly spicy Indian red sauce.

We all shared a side of the hash browns too ($6), because I have had them and they are so yummy. I think they spiralize them or something—they are super thin and super crispy….and yes, stuffed with cheese, which is slightly genius. They add a nice side of crunch to everything else.

My daughter got the dark chocolate chip crunch pancakes ($12) that yes, come with a side of chocolate malt butter. Whoa, if you like sweets for breakfast, you certainly can’t go wrong with this either. Because of the dark chocolate chips, it was like biting into a softer warm chocolate chip cookie. There were also little crispy malty bits on top of the pancakes. Honestly I am not much for sweets in the morning, but I couldn’t stop taking bites of this. I highly recommend Little Goat for a hearty, but interesting breakfast (they do have some simpler items as well).

Both places are great, and both take reservations, which I love.

The Publican
837 West Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607

The Little Goat
820 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60607


  1. Ahh I'm jealous. We went up to see Hamilton a month or so ago and had planned on doing the Little Goat beforehand. But alas, it was during the world series when the whole city of Chicago was packed with people looking for a good lunch. I think they had a 90 minute wait or something crazy like that.