Public or Essex for dinner for two friends?
It seems like dinner at Public might be better. Menu seems more interesting.
Has anyone eaten at Essex for dinner? What are their better dishes?
Also, has anyone been to the wine bar adjacent to Public for wine & apps?
The food at Public is bold, bright and tasty. Australian cuisine at fair prices and generously served. It does get very busy and noisy, though - you have to be comfortable with a young crowd and pumping music. Conversely, the wine bar, entered via Public's lobby, is quiet, refined and - so far - not hard to reserve. It's called The Monday Room. I think the food is excellent. I wrote about it at length recently here:
re: Liquid Sky
You're right, Public is definitely more interesting. Essex isn't really a culinary destination, though it can be fun in a noisy sense (people flock there for the unlimited mimosa brunch, that should be a clue). The Monday Room is great, though if you're a big eater it might be a little skimpy in the food department, though all the small plates are interesting and full of flavor. I believe they take reservations, but at 9:30 on a saturday we were able to get a nice big booth without one. Enjoy!