After ordering a pork shoulder sandwich and a glass of Goose Island Matilda, I was given a Bloody Mary and some slices of house-smoked salmon from a very friendly bartender. A Bloody Mary at the Publican is created with a housemade mix and is topped off with a mixture of finely diced celery, red pepper, and horseradish, and finished with a little balsamic and a wedge of both lemon and lime. The salmon was fantastic as well - soft and smooth with a beautiful color and a perfectly smoked taste.
I surprised myself by eating only about half of my sandwich (the other half is in the fridge). Aside from the pork being tender and delicious (especially with a fried egg on top), it needs to be said: the Publican serves my favorite french fries in Chicago (so far). Fried in a combination of animal fat and vegetable oil, these spuds are perfectly crispy and salted.
I finished my meal with a piece of moist coffee cake, homemade with nuts and in-season berries. Then the aforementioned friendly bartender asked if I'd like to see the kitchen and meet their pastry chef, Becky. Talk about a great meal and overall experience. I'm sure I'll be back many times, both to eat and (hopefully) to stage, which is a fancy way of saying "job shadow."