Publican Anker focuses on seafood, vegetables in Wicker Park

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Hungry Hound: Publican Anker (WLS)

One of Chicago's most successful restaurant group has a new venture, but it's not a completely new idea for them.

One Off Hospitality Group, which found success with the Violet Hour, Big Star and Dove's Luncheonette in the Wicker Park neighborhood, also runs the Publican in West Fulton Market.

The Publican is known for beer, pork and oysters, but its new younger sibling - Publican Anker - now occupies the busy intersection at North, Damen and Milwaukee in Wicker Park.

"Really seafood heavy, vegetable heavy. I'm from California so my joke is I was born with avocado and kale running through my veins. But I think promoting healthy eating," said Executive Chef Cosmo Goss, who oversees all of the Publican outlets.

Think apple salad with chimichurri, marcona almonds and crisp celery, dressed with a fennel puree, or charred cauliflower, studded with hazelnuts, kale and cipollini onions.

"The mussels are kind of the same but we add seaweed here. You can get pork rinds you can get French fries; to tie Publican Tavern at the airport you can get the wings and the burger here," said Goss.

Yeah those pork rinds aren't going anywhere, but there is more seafood, including a hearty fish stew and a smokey plate of mackerel.

"We salt it, brine it with beer and then smoke it over our wood grill and then preserve it in oil," he said.

Served with tzatziki sauce and dark bread, it's a European plate of comfort. And how's this for creative: charred cucumbers, done over hardwood, with whipped ricotta cheese, fresh mint and pine nuts, and of course that hearty, rustic Publican Quality bread.

"We char 'em really hard until their black but they still have texture but they're not quite as firm as a fresh cucumber. Then we toss them with zhug, which is a Yemenite green chile sauce," said Goss.

So even though The Publican is known for beer, pork and oysters, Goss has been slowly shifting away from that, into more vegetables and more seafood, and Anker's kind of a 'greatest hits' - it's got beer and pork and oysters and seafood and vegetables and of course their famous pork rinds.

EXTRA COURSE: In this week's episode, Steve Dolinsky talked about Publican Anker's signature desserts - a sticky banoffe pudding
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In this week's Extra Course, Steve Dolinsky talked about Publican Anker's signature desserts - a sticky banoffe pudding

1576 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
(773) 904-1121

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foodhungry houndWicker ParkChicagoWest Loop
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