Pub & Kitchen fine and dandy

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Judging from the number of patrons in scrubs crowding the bar after their shifts (we had to wiggle our way through a throng of medical professionals happily blowing off steam to get to the restaurant side), the pub part of Pub & Kitchen, 1946 Lombard St., is doing just fine.

 

Judging from the number of patrons in scrubs crowding the bar after their shifts (we had to wiggle our way through a throng of medical professionals happily blowing off steam to get to the restaurant side), the pub part of Pub & Kitchen, 1946 Lombard St., is doing just fine.

Also judging by the way the restaurant quickly followed suit and filled up, the kitchen portion is surely no slouch either. The restaurant lives up to its name with a homey, comfortable English charm that sets the mood for an evening of dining. The menu is playful and seasonal, featuring equal amounts go-to pub favorites and adventurous dishes.

The pub snacks were delightfully good. The crispy squash blossom ($6) had a wonderfully unexpected bold flavor and texture. The smoked chicken wings ($10) were perfection, expertly cooked and with a tangy chili-vinegar sauce that makes it hard not to want more.

The small plates, for the most part, upped the ante considerably. The Castelfranco Radicchio ($8) was a finely executed salad, bright and complex with chopped egg and salsa. The roasted squid ($14) was tender and tasty, wrapped around savory pieces of chorizo and bathed in an anchovy puree. The former ended up being the star of the dish over the squid but, still, we couldn’t argue with the results. The one awkward culinary moment was with the Fulper Farm ricotta gnocchi ($13), which tried hard but didn’t quite reach the greatness of the other dishes, mostly because gnocchi conjures up soft, pillowy expectations of silky pasta nirvana. This version, while gigantic and having some imaginative flavors of kale pesto and brown butter, also had a ricotta center that made for a less-than-uniform density that was almost too soft throughout. The dish probably would have worked better with a tomato-based sauce.

The entrees were elegantly simple and excellent. The grilled prawns ($24) were absolutely delicious, with cucumber salsa and capers rounding out the dish nicely. The P&K cheeseburger ($10) easily ranks as one of our favorites in the city, as it is juicy and the perfect size, while being tasty without a mountain of condiments and toppings cluttering things up.

Whether you show up for the pub or the kitchen, you’ll be in good hands. But definitely do both if at all possible.