The first two words that come to mind about Purple Pig are European and unique. You get the European feel the moment you step inside. The decor is great with a long, right angle white marble bar, wines on the rack all over the place, wooden tables with the menus hanging from the lights and chalkboard menus on the walls.
Our server/bartender was European and reminded us upon handing us the wine list that they do not serve ANY American, New Zealand or "new world" wine. I can't recall perfectly, but they don't serve non-euro beer either. The food, rightfully so, also screamed Europe with the liberal use of olive oil. Carson and I had a great experience with good beer and some "oh my god" good food. We did not order a single cheese or meat sampler because we just assumed it would be good. This was our lunch so we wanted something more substantial.
The menu is structured for small plates and sharing. We choose three: Olive oil-Poached Tuna with Greek Lima Beans, Charred Scallions with Romesco Sauce and Milk Braised Pork Shoulder with Mashed Potatoes. We would have ordered the Deviled eggs, but they are not served until dinner. Fortunately for us, each dish that came out was better than the last.
The tuna and lima beans were good, but a very unique flavor. I probably wouldn't order them again, but the food was fresh and made well. I couldn't re-create the flavors, and I appreciate the dish as a cool, healthy way to start a meal.
Next came the grilled scallions, served on a very interesting curvy red brick plate. It came with a red topping sauce. Similar to the first dish, I would not think to make scallions a solo offering, but it turned out well. I have no idea what was in the Romesco sauce and it didn't matter, I ate all that I could. We enjoyed the scallions more than the tuna and sent back a clean plate. At this point in the meal we had one good dish, one mediocre dish (to our liking, not quality) and some tasty German pilsner beer. I was content, but couldn't quite figure out all the great buzz. That ended when our final selection arrived, the braised pork shoulder.
I shouldn't be surprised that the pork dish was our favorite; The Pig, after all, is all about "Cheese, Swine and Wine." It only took one bite to realize this was a "tell your mom about" delicious. No knife needed as the meat just melted. Not shown in the picture is the mashed potatoes hiding under the meat. I know I've had mashed potatoes 100 times, but I couldn't tell you what made these taste so good. As Carson commented when we were finished, he doesn't usually scrape the bottom of the pan, but in this case we practically did the dishes from our seats. I now understood what all the fuss was about.
I suspect that if I returned and tried more plates, I'd find more treasures. I'd bet the cheese and wine are second to none. The Pig will have enormous success because the concept hits on all cylinders. It's perfect for working class drinks and small bites after work. The Mag Mile location and patio space will bring in the travelers, while the late night hours cater to the nearby hotels.
The hype and publicity are warranted and I love the European taste and feel. I highly suggest checking out the Purple Pig for Cheese, Swine, Wine or anything else they serve.