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Peckish Pig - on Howard - Evanston

Peckish Pig - on Howard - Evanston
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  • Peckish Pig - on Howard - Evanston

    Post #1 - March 15th, 2014, 9:32 am
    Post #1 - March 15th, 2014, 9:32 am Post #1 - March 15th, 2014, 9:32 am
    So the Mrs & I had been to Katsu for sushi earlier in the evening as Mrs Willie is a good Catholic & this is Lent, we then decided to head up north to Ward 8 for some cocktails. Ward 8 was packed but we were able to get a table at the recently opened Peckish Pig which is a couple doors to the east of Ward 8.

    I state recently opened as this past Thurs was their soft opening. Based on how packed this place was, the word must be out.

    Even though I was well satiated from Katsu, I had to try one item so chose the chorizo/beef burger. Man I really enjoyed this.

    There are plenty of other good sounding items on their menu

    Peckish Pig does have their own brewery on premise but the beer was being conditioned so wasn't available, should be shortly.
    They proudly serve other local brews on tap.

    Currently only open for dinner, hope to be open soon for brunch on Saturday & Sundays.

    Peckish Pig
    623 Howard Street
    Evanston, IL 60202
    (847) 491-6778
    http://thepeckishpig.com/
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #2 - March 15th, 2014, 3:15 pm
    Post #2 - March 15th, 2014, 3:15 pm Post #2 - March 15th, 2014, 3:15 pm
    We were there Thursday night — we were told we were the second party seated. I didn't intend to post about it based on early evening opening night for the soft opening, but it was definitely firing on all cylinders for a brand-new place. We hope they can keep the quality - both food and service - up. We started with a generous "Plank" (they called it their small size) charcuterie plate - well chosen, and easily enough for two. We went on to a small order of the "Beer Pig"mussels - they were some of the largest mussels I've ever seen, and the accompanying beer broth was well worth sopping up. We were getting full, but wanted to try the Duck Confit Mac & Cheese. Our serving seemed a bit short on the duck, and the cheese was on the mild side - I suppose to let the duck flavor shine through, which might have been a good idea if there was more duck in the dish. But overall we were very pleased - it's a much larger space than we expected, and will be larger still when the patio opens. The beer list was well chosen, and prices were very reasonable. We'll be back once they start serving their own beers.
  • Post #3 - March 17th, 2014, 8:54 am
    Post #3 - March 17th, 2014, 8:54 am Post #3 - March 17th, 2014, 8:54 am
    The Peckish Pig is from the folks behind Taste Food & Wine and Towbar in Rogers Park. I'm excited to hear some good things about this new venture.
    -Mary
  • Post #4 - March 17th, 2014, 10:42 am
    Post #4 - March 17th, 2014, 10:42 am Post #4 - March 17th, 2014, 10:42 am
    And they owned The Celtic Knot in Evanston prior to that.
  • Post #5 - March 18th, 2014, 12:11 pm
    Post #5 - March 18th, 2014, 12:11 pm Post #5 - March 18th, 2014, 12:11 pm
    The GP wrote:The Peckish Pig is from the folks behind Taste Food & Wine and Towbar in Rogers Park. I'm excited to hear some good things about this new venture.
    It is really cool that stretch of Howard is being transformed. There is a lot of potential there. Unfortunately, the city of Evanston, despite its long history as a dry community, seems much more receptive to establishments that sell alcohol than the neighboring 49th ward of Chicago. That is ironic, since the bars across the street from The Peckish Pig and Ward 8 (in Chicago), came into being because Evanston wouldn't permit liquor sales.
  • Post #6 - April 13th, 2014, 10:29 am
    Post #6 - April 13th, 2014, 10:29 am Post #6 - April 13th, 2014, 10:29 am
    I want to like this restaurant because of what Evanston is trying to do on Howard but after our experience Saturday night I am not sure I can give it another try. Four of us came in at 7 and we were told there would be a 45 - 60 minute wait for a table but that we were the second group of four. The host said we could sit in the side room and get drinks from the bar. The bar was crowded and chaotic and after "stealing" a cocktail menu from the host stand (no one offered us a menu and none were in evidence) we were able to order drinks, which itself was a struggle. The drinks took almost 30 minutes to arrive. After an hour, the host came by, asked for the name on the list, and told us we could be seated in about 15 minutes. Ten minutes later, he came by again and asked for the name on the list (we had not moved from the table we were sitting at). In the next half hour, three groups were seated ahead of us. We finally left. On the way out, we mentioned our unhappiness to the host, who just shrugged and said that's how it goes - not even a stab at an apology. I understand that they have just opened but they don't seem to understand that they are in a service business. The staff was overwhelmed but that is no excuse for the lack of professionalism or even courtesy.
  • Post #7 - April 13th, 2014, 12:26 pm
    Post #7 - April 13th, 2014, 12:26 pm Post #7 - April 13th, 2014, 12:26 pm
    bungalowgirl wrote:I want to like this restaurant because of what Evanston is trying to do on Howard but after our experience Saturday night I am not sure I can give it another try. Four of us came in at 7 and we were told there would be a 45 - 60 minute wait for a table but that we were the second group of four. The host said we could sit in the side room and get drinks from the bar. The bar was crowded and chaotic and after "stealing" a cocktail menu from the host stand (no one offered us a menu and none were in evidence) we were able to order drinks, which itself was a struggle. The drinks took almost 30 minutes to arrive. After an hour, the host came by, asked for the name on the list, and told us we could be seated in about 15 minutes. Ten minutes later, he came by again and asked for the name on the list (we had not moved from the table we were sitting at). In the next half hour, three groups were seated ahead of us. We finally left. On the way out, we mentioned our unhappiness to the host, who just shrugged and said that's how it goes - not even a stab at an apology. I understand that they have just opened but they don't seem to understand that they are in a service business. The staff was overwhelmed but that is no excuse for the lack of professionalism or even courtesy.

    I've been in a couple of times and I'm in pretty much the same boat as you. I want to like this place, am very glad it's there but am baffled by the notable lack of professionalism in several key aspects of the operation. Yes, it's early in this restaurant's life but they've been open for about a month and the same problems that existed right after they opened seem to still be fully in play now. There seems to be a signficant lack of knowledgeable, managerial control.

    I'll definitely give them at least one more chance but based on what I've experienced so far, I'm not optimistic. :(

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #8 - April 14th, 2014, 10:31 am
    Post #8 - April 14th, 2014, 10:31 am Post #8 - April 14th, 2014, 10:31 am
    I think a weeknight is the right choice, at least for a while until the shine wears off. My wife and some friends went a few weeks ago on a Wednesday night and had a great experience. The food was terrific. Standouts included a planked salmon topped with a piped horseradish pureed potato and a house-made chicken liver pate. Wine and beer lists are well chosen, and service was attentive and enthusiastic. A big hit with our choosy crowd.
  • Post #9 - April 14th, 2014, 10:49 am
    Post #9 - April 14th, 2014, 10:49 am Post #9 - April 14th, 2014, 10:49 am
    spinonejay wrote:I think a weeknight is the right choice, at least for a while until the shine wears off. . .

    Not sure about this. Both of my poor experiences were on weeknights. :(

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #10 - April 14th, 2014, 1:12 pm
    Post #10 - April 14th, 2014, 1:12 pm Post #10 - April 14th, 2014, 1:12 pm
    I had the same experience as Ronnie and the other poster, once on a Weds, the other on a Thurs, and both were maddening esp as a long time FOH guy. I have nothing but high hopes for this place as an Evanston native and huge fan of Ward 8, but it's tough to justify potentially wasting my time there, when i could be having a great time couple doors down. Hopefully the next time will be THE time.
  • Post #11 - April 15th, 2014, 4:47 pm
    Post #11 - April 15th, 2014, 4:47 pm Post #11 - April 15th, 2014, 4:47 pm
    A friend and I had a pleasant Saturday evening visit to this place last weekend. We sat at the bar, so avoided any issues with waits for regular tables. Only issue was that the bar is laid out in such a way that there it is a huge distance from the bartender to the people seated at the bar on the end closest to the door. I'm hard of hearing so I could not hear a damn thing the bartender said. But, the food was good and I liked the beer list. I hope it calms down a bit after the initial excitement wears off.
  • Post #12 - April 17th, 2014, 11:20 am
    Post #12 - April 17th, 2014, 11:20 am Post #12 - April 17th, 2014, 11:20 am
    I stand corrected. I must have gotten there closer to the opening than some of the other folks. I have a friend who wants to go on Friday, and I plan to bring a sleeping bag and pillow.
  • Post #13 - February 15th, 2015, 2:22 pm
    Post #13 - February 15th, 2015, 2:22 pm Post #13 - February 15th, 2015, 2:22 pm
    My husband, son, and I went there for dinner last night (I know. Never go out for dinner on Valentine's Day) and had a lovely experience. They don't take reservations for small parties (less than 12), so we took our chances. We arrived at about 6:15 and were seated at about 6:40.

    Our server was very pleasant and efficient. Water and menus were brought to the table almost immediately. The beer/cocktail/wine menu was vast. I'm not much of a drinker, so I ordered a hard cider. My husband had a cocktail (can't remember which one) that he enjoyed.

    We ordered two snacks - Bacon Fat Popcorn with Salted Caramel and Spent-grain bread and butter. The popcorn was amazing. I could have eaten my weight in that stuff. The bread was very good as well.

    Dinner was delicious. My husband ordered one of the specials, which was a buffalo steak with a port wine reduction over cheesy risotto. My son ordered the other special, which was escargot with crispy gnocchi and mushrooms. I ordered a bacon wrapped dates stuffed with chorizo and a small portion of butternut squash and sage risotto. We shared a side of brussels sprouts with bacon and brown butter and french fries with truffle mayo. We were all very happy with the food. Everything came out piping hot and was well seasoned.

    Even though we were all pretty full at this point, we couldn't resist the desserts. I had sticky toffee pudding with custard. The boys ordered the Heavenston ice cream sundae (salted caramel and vanilla ice creams with hot fudge, salted caramel sauce, and whipped cream) and a deep friend PB &J butty with vanilla bean ice cream. The butty was essentially a PB & J sandwich that was dipped in batter and deep fried. We all left some. I would advise two desserts for three people.

    I would absolutely go back there. The price was amazingly reasonable (including tip we spent $160). It's a little noise challenged, but we were never shouting. I'm looking forward to trying out their brunch menu.
  • Post #14 - June 20th, 2015, 5:37 pm
    Post #14 - June 20th, 2015, 5:37 pm Post #14 - June 20th, 2015, 5:37 pm
    Peckish Pig made a fine pre-show dinner (go see "Soon I Will Be Invincible," a superhero musical at Lifeline Theater, there's only a couple more weeks).

    The Shoemaker cocktail was a nice stiff drink, in the Manhattan family (but lacking cherries) with Luxardo Amaro and Walnut Bitters (but I didn't get much of a walnut flavor). The Rioja was a nice wine selection too.

    We ordered their spent-grain bread (good, but probably not the wisest expenditure), bacon-wrapped dates (excellent, served with an aioli which was tasty but probably superfluous), frites (very good - the one service miss of the night: although last ordered, it was one of the first to arrive, and would have been better as an accompaniment to the more main-course-like dishes), sumac chicken with chorizo cream (delicious, but the big pool of cream sauce called out for the now-gone frites), and the hit of the evening, "hog wings." These are listed as "mini pork shanks" (piglet? some other creature), probably slow braised because they were fall-apart tender, then grilled with a hoisin sauce, served with more aioli. Spicy, sweet, tooth-sticking food. They're about the size of a good-sized chicken drumstick, and meatier than that. Dessert was one of SueF's favorites: sticky toffee pudding, of which I am not a judge (too sweet of a dessert for me).
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #15 - June 30th, 2018, 8:15 am
    Post #15 - June 30th, 2018, 8:15 am Post #15 - June 30th, 2018, 8:15 am
    Image
    Last night two of us had dinner here. It was very busy, and the room was quite loud. I took photos, but didn't always remember to do so before we had started on each dish; partial portions are mentioned below. Sorry.

    Shrimp & Fried Polenta with Spicy Mayo - There were five shrimp in this dish, but I didn't remember to take the photo until only two remained. The shrimp were truly delicious and terrific, albeit somewhat small. The polenta was bland (even more bland than average for polenta).
    Image
    Pot of Vegetables House-pickled Veggies - Again, we had started on this dish before photographing it. My companion ordered this and liked it. I took one bite and hated the combination of watermelon, spices, and vinegar, but I think this goes under the category of "if it doesn't sound good to you, don't order it, others might like it". Shrug.
    Image
    Miso & Sesame Glazed Eggplant Steak with Japanese Sticky Rice - I liked this dish. The eggplant and the sauce were tasty, although the outer skins of the eggplant were a bit tough.
    Image
    Marsala & Red Wine Short Rib with Creamy Grits - This was okay. The short rib was a bit fatty, maybe should have been braised a bit longer. I don't know what I did to the photo to make the knife look gigantic; it was a normal sized knife.
    Image
    Sticky Toffee Pudding with Custard - This was the "OMG" dish of the meal, photographed after the first bite. I've had numerous versions of sticky toffee pudding since my first, at the short-lived Aigre Doux downtown. This is the very best I've ever had - incredibly delicious, and enhanced by the fact that it arrived piping hot, surrounded by an ample amount of creme anglaise and caramel sauce. This is the dish that I'll remember for a long time. Did I mention that I loved this dish? I did, indeed.
    Image
    Service was good - friendly, knowledgeable, and efficient. The food had more hits than misses (and one of the latter can be attributed to preferences when ordering). I liked this place overall and am likely to return.
  • Post #16 - July 3rd, 2018, 12:59 pm
    Post #16 - July 3rd, 2018, 12:59 pm Post #16 - July 3rd, 2018, 12:59 pm
    I'm the other person of the "two of us" in the previous post.

    It was very busy, and the room was quite loud.


    We got there at 5:30 on a Friday, and the room wasn't all that busy -- yet. I arrived first and chose a seat in the bar area by the window because there were no ceiling or wall speakers; all of the piped-in music was in the main dining room. I didn't find it all that loud, especially given the Friday night. At least we (meaning I) didn't have to strain to hear or be heard.

    Service was good - friendly, knowledgeable, and efficient.


    Agreed. Everything was handled by one of the bartenders, who managed to juggle all his tasks with aplomb. (I have no idea what a plomb is -- something like a lead weight? -- but he handled it well.)

    Shrimp & Fried Polenta with Spicy Mayo - There were five shrimp in this dish, but I didn't remember to take the photo until only two remained. The shrimp were truly delicious and terrific, albeit somewhat small. The polenta was bland (even more bland than average for polenta).


    I forgot to ask how they got the shrimp so tasty and moist. Maybe brining + poaching? The texture of the polenta was spot on but it would have benefitted from some grated Parm-Reg or Grana Padano.

    Pot of Vegetables - My companion ordered this and liked it. I took one bite and hated the combination of watermelon, spices, and vinegar...


    I make quick pickles at home, but I went ahead and ordered it anyway. It was reasonably done, as such things go, but overpriced ($10). It also came dusted with hot pepper powder (cayenne?), which wasn't mentioned on the menu. The barkeep mentioned watermelon at first, but corrected himself: it was carrots, jicama, and cucumber.

    Miso & Sesame Glazed Eggplant Steak - The eggplant and the sauce were tasty, although the outer skins of the eggplant were a bit tough.


    This was my biggest disappointment of the night. It was lazy in conception and preparation. And again, I thought it was overpriced -- $15 for 1½ Japanese eggplants, a scoop of sticky rice, and some sauce. The eggplant was advertised as being "miso and sesame glazed." However, the sauce tilted much too heavily toward the sweet for my taste; it needed a better balance between salty, sweet, and savory. It also needed more cooking (the aforementioned tough skins), trimming (the very tough stem end), and quantity.

    Marsala & Red Wine Short Rib with Creamy Grits - This was okay. The short rib was a bit fatty, maybe should have been braised a bit longer.


    Agreed: just OK. This tasted more like Grandma's pot roast than Marsala and red wine short rib.

    Sticky Toffee Pudding with Custard - This was the "OMG" dish of the meal


    I'm gluten sensitive, so I restricted myself to a tiny sample. It indeed was excellent.
  • Post #17 - July 3rd, 2018, 2:02 pm
    Post #17 - July 3rd, 2018, 2:02 pm Post #17 - July 3rd, 2018, 2:02 pm
    Just to clarify the apparent discrepancy:

    Alex in MI wrote:
    It was very busy, and the room was quite loud.


    We got there at 5:30 on a Friday, and the room wasn't all that busy -- yet. I arrived first and chose a seat in the bar area by the window because there were no ceiling or wall speakers; all of the piped-in music was in the main dining room. I didn't find it all that loud, especially given the Friday night. At least we (meaning I) didn't have to strain to hear or be heard.

    Alex's description was true when we arrived. By around 7:00, the place was very busy and the room was quite loud, and I had to strain to hear or be heard. Quite aside from the occasionally-screeching toddler at the next table.
  • Post #18 - July 8th, 2018, 1:12 am
    Post #18 - July 8th, 2018, 1:12 am Post #18 - July 8th, 2018, 1:12 am
    I bump this for the mere reason that Peckish Pig is on the roster of the "#DrinkIllinois" Summer Passport venues for which you (and I) can get a seal.
    I have hit so many Illinois beer places so far (and I am not done yet - Sunday, I'll hit Wheaton and Elmhurst[Metra Weekend Pass].) , that when I finish, I should get a ticket to FoBAB!
    So anyhow, seek me Sunday in downtown Wheaton and Elmhurst. Do not start me about the Chicago, Aurora, & Elgin electric train line.
    Learn what Bing prefers you not know: http://208.84.112.25/~pudgym29/bookmark4.html

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