Public is one of those joints that's always there for you in a pinch. Centrally located and universally appealing, Public is to Nolita what The Smith is to the East Village, just with an older, more sophisticated crowd and a higher price point.
Public may not the hot spot that it once was, but what restaurant almost ten years into its existence is? But there's still plenty of good action going on inside. Ever seen a dude motorboat his date at the dinner table? We did, last time we had dinner here. It was f*cking amazing. He was at it for a solid fifteen minutes too.
Both the food and service at Public are consistently excellent. The kitchen pumps out inventive, flavorful dishes that both look and taste great. It sure as hell isn't cheap, but you absolutely get your money's worth. Public is also a pretty well known event space. Hang out in Manhattan long enough and you'll probably wind up at an after-party here, intoxicated in the restroom, trying to figure out how many little bars of Public branded soap you can shove in your pockets. Or maybe you can afford to buy your own fancy hand soap for your house. Must be nice.
Food RundownGrilled Scallops
Load up on the shellfish apps at Public, they're all delicious. These grilled scallops with sweet chili sauce, crème fraîche, and green plantain crisps taste as good as they sound.
Fried Barron Point Oysters
Fried oysters with a spicy Japanese flair? Yes please. We could eat these puppies all day. The wasabi-yuzu dipping sauce is real tasty.
Cured Wild Boar Plate with Garrotxa Cheese
When wild boar is on the menu, I order it. It makes me think of three things, all of which I like: 1) Lost (Locke) 2) Friday Night Lights (Riggins) 3) ápizz (wild boar lasagna). Served with olives, caper berries, and crostini, this meat plate was solid, but unspectacular. Next time I'm doubling up on the fried oysters.
New Zealand Venison Loin
From one gamey meat, to another. The entire table agreed that this was the standout dish of the night. Rich meat with deep flavors are complimented with cheese dumplings, mushrooms, and salsa verde. It sounds like it'd be a heavy dish, but it's not. The consistency is just right, and the execution is spot on.
Roast Lamb Sirloin
Again, great presentation. The lamb roast shows up on top of a crispy goat cheese polenta with saffron braised baby vegetables. The meat is juicy, and well cooked. All love here.
Roast Duck Breast
Although overshadowed a bit by the venison and the lamb, the duck is another excellent option. We liked the accompaniments too: Korean pepper spaetzle, sautéed snow peas, and a radish and grape salad. Seasonal and not what you typically see served with duck.