Several friends suggested that I check Table, Donkey and Stick out, saying that it would remind me of my days in Germany. While I've heard great things about their charcuterie and cheese plates, I was in the mood for something a little heartier and preferably served warm for abendbrot.
There are a couple interesting sandwiches on the menu, and I chose the pork loin sandwich ($13), which features several layers of sliced pork loin with Taleggio cheese on a housemade buckwheat baguette, the same bread the charcuterie "wanderteller" is served with. I loved the pork flavor and how the meat seemed to fall apart in my mouth. There were plenty of fatty bits and the sandwich was definitely a little greasy, but not too much. Let's just say I was careful to Instagram before picking up the sandwich and taking a bite. A little dijon mustard and thin pieces of pickled rhubarb cut through the pork fat nicely. Alongside the sandwich was a marinated kale and white bean salad, which added nice texture and nutrients.
Much as I liked the pork loin, I think I liked my friend's smoked chicken sandwich ($13) even more. Pity I didn't take a photo. We ended up going halfsies on our sandwiches and I'm glad we did. I loved the sunflower oat bread, which reminded me so strongly of the Sonnenblumenbrot and Dreikornbrot I adored so much as a student studying abroad in Hannover. I used to love eating these breads once they'd been sitting out for several days and started hardening. Table, Donkey and Stick achieved the same crunchy but toothsome effect by toasting their sandwich bread. The best German breads give my jaw a good workout. Here, smoked chicken was topped with pickled sunchoke for a sour crunch, and the bread was smeared with sage pesto , definitely not something I might find in Germany or Vienna.
I think Table, Donkey and Stick is doing great things with traditional German and Austrian flavors and dishes, but adding their own flair to create a type of cuisine that is unlike anything else I've had in Chicago. They have created a strong identity for themselves and I'm looking forward to returning soon.