Restaurants , Barbecue West Loop
  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(1 user review)
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Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki

My meal at Porkchop would have been more pleasant had my dining companion not spent it retelling the plot of Deliverance. I’d like to say this morbidity was no fault of the restaurant’s, but really, morbidity is what you get when faced with a wall made up of dozens of saws.

Fortunately, the decor is the least pleasant part of Porkchop, the latest in a sprinkling of middle-of-the-road bars (the Shady Lady) and cafés (two Bagel on Damens) affiliated with onetime nightlife operator Dion Antic. Antic’s premise for Porkchop is that the restaurant “couldn’t care less about overpriced drinks and ill-fitting food trends” (per the website), hence the menu is simply devoted to…whiskey and pork, two ingredients whose trendiness has been blown to such proportions that it’s possible Antic doesn’t even realize the irony of his mission statement.

A decent selection of whiskey served neat with an ice bucket set down on the table is the way to start. At least, it’s a better way than with a watery, sweet and kind of sad Dark & Stormy, or the Manhattan that comes with a maraschino wrapped in damp bacon. As far as this anti-overpriced drinks thing goes, they’re both $10: I’d rather have paid $12 for something I could actually enjoy.

A shrimp cocktail with spicy cocktail sauce is a fair way to proceed, as is the Caesar salad with fat-drenched croutons. The main courses hew toward Southern-inspired comfort food. Juicy green tomatoes fried in a crunchy cornmeal coating take the BLT up a notch: It’s a very satisfying sandwich, even if it feels like something you could make at home. A pork chop takes a more intense (and less successful) trip to the fryer: Parts of the coating were burnt, parts of the pork chop inside were rendered sinewy and tough, and there wasn’t nearly enough gravy to hide these mishaps.

An ice-cream float splashed with a shot of Red Stag is not a terrible way to cap off a meal here, though it was, on my visit, the only way. In any event, by the end of dinner in this practically deserted restaurant, I had learned to imagine much worse endings.

By Julia Kramer

Venue name: Porkchop
Address: 941 W Randolph St
Cross street: between Sangamon and Morgan Sts
Opening hours: Dinner (closed Mon)
Transport: Bus: 8, 20.
Price: Average main course: $15
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Kathryn K

I would aim for 3.5 stars but halves are not allowed! Porkchop's space is rustic with a cute sidewalk patio. Our server/bartender, Melanie was attentive and informative. We sampled mac and cheese and the chicken tacos as our appetizers. The mac and cheese was super cheesy (if that's your thang) and creamy. The portion for an app was huuuuge. I had leftovers. The chicken tacos were also hefty (3 medium sized tacos) and the meat was well seasoned. For entrees, we tried the BBQ pulled pork and breaded chicken sandwich, both with fresh cut fries. Fries were yummy, again big America sized portions but I love eating dinner for lunch again. They have several BBQ sauces--we were feeling the Chicago BBQ sauce which was infused with rosemary and olive oil. I get the TO review because the place was a bit empty on a nice day. They have a decent microbrew menu and nice cocktails. HAPPY HOUR M-F is available! Since it's a bit sleepy, I would def recommend it as it's a chill atmosphere and you won't have to wait for filling food and affordable drinks.