Chicken thigh kebabs with tzatziki ($19) are a classic; the new location is almost double the size of the old space.
The Purple Pig moved, yes—but its many loyalists need not worry. “We picked up right where we left off,” says chef-owner Jimmy Bannos Jr. “Our new location still has the same style, but it allows us to pay more attention to detail and serve James Beard Award-worthy food.”
Bannos, a past James Beard Rising Star Chef, provides a love-at-first-bite experience, each dish proving a textural and flavorful marvel. Among his new dishes, the burrata cannoli ($16) is a playful twist on the classic and pairs perfectly with dots of thick, bittersweet olive caramel. Potato Ice Cream + Caviar ($16) is another clever starter, with surprisingly sweet ice cream atop housemade gaufrette chips. Bumps of caviar and trout roe elevate the saltiness of the cool, delicate scoops for a delicious little bite.
Bannos is notably excited as he describes the upgraded kitchen, which gives him enough elbow room—and grill space—to flex his muscles, both creatively and literally. The big-eye tuna ($25) is a perfect example of what he can do in the expanded space. Crowned with pickled ramps and local rhubarb, each coin of fish reveals a tender middle within a black peppercorn-seared crust. The king crab ($25), too, perfectly balances sweet and salty, resting in a pool of velvety strawberry gazpacho.
Wine director Alan Beasey is at the beck and call of diners, so finding the perfect pairing is a breeze, but this year’s addition of spirit-free cocktails furthers the fun for the whole table. The vibrantly hued Orange is the New ($8), for example, is a refreshing, gingery sipper, as carrot juice mingles with sweet baking spices.
Finish off the night with what Bannos refers to as his “legendary” Sicilian Iris ($11), his take on the century-old dessert. Deep-fried brioche pairs with cannoli filling, chocolate chips and a shower of powdered sugar—a perfect excuse to pig out. 444 N. Michigan Ave., 312.464.1744