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Casey's Diner, Publick House

z
Zatan Sep 22, 2009 01:43 PM

Had to head out to Wellesley last week and decided to stop at Casey's Diner in Natick. Never been before, wanted a hot dog. That place is really cool, very much a nostalgia trip. I could not get in the door, so ordered from the window. Hot dogs and buns steaming in an ancient copper steaming contraption, a tiny kitchen and tiny dining space. Really neat looking. I got a dog and couldn't resist the chopped pickle and ham sandwich (never had one of those either). It was messy and good, cooked the way one of the countermen likes them, with cheese and grilled. The dog was tasty too, nice with the works. All in all worth a stop for some old Americana. Looked like everything there was under $3 or so.

Publick House for dinner last week, took my parents as they wanted to check out the beer selection. We had the mussels and fries app as well as the Publick House Plate. The mussels were ok, kind of tasteless and overcooked though. The "frites" were a small serving of limp fries. This would not do in Belgium, not sure why they get away with it there. The Publick House Plate, advertised as coming with some of the "charcuterie", a selection of artisanal cheeses, garlick "shrooms", mixed bean salad, and hummus. The charcuterie consisted of three slices each of salami and bresaola (maybe bought across the street at Shaws). The selection of artisanal cheeses was two slabs of cheddar (they claimed it was the one on the menu, though it looked and tasted more like cracker barrel). The shrooms were completely tasteless and inedible. The bean salad, well, not sure what it was doing there, sort of a South American touch I guess. The hummus was actually good. The bread was plain, where I would expect a nice hearty loaf of some kind.

I complained to the waitress about the plate, it was $16 and a ripoff I thought. She kindly comped us for that. I had emphasized the disappointment with the cheeses (there should have been at least two kinds), and am not good at complaining, but I wanted to say all of this to her.

We also shared mains of the carbonade, which I thought was good, very tasty broth, a bit peppery, and the beef nicely cooked. But then the stoemp, fried sausages were actually fried balls of what may have been "sausage" meat, but were so overcooked they were dry and tasteless too, kind of like lava rocks. At least we ate the mash and gravy, and I could not bring myself to say more. My parents told the waitress that it was all fantastic as they are even more polite than I am. Very disappointed; comfort food of this type should be so easy to do, but they made a complete mess of it. Thankfully the beers were excellent as always.

  1. y
    yankeefan Sep 23, 2009 08:15 AM

    Publick House is what it is. Food can be mediocre but the mac n cheese combinations are indeed phenomenal as is the homemade smoked ketchup.

    1 Reply
    1. re: yankeefan
      chickendhansak Sep 23, 2009 09:09 AM

      I also really enjoy the mac and cheese. I get scallops, spinach and mushrooms with it and it's ace.

      I would agree with the OP that the sausage meat in the stoemp saucisse is usually rock hard and dry inside. Also, last time I was there I had their Belgian onion soup special which was very poor.

      But the mac and cheese is usually good and often excellent.

    2. StriperGuy Sep 23, 2009 06:12 AM

      I have been totally underwhelmed with the food and the service at Publick House. The food honestly is just bad.

      1 Reply
      1. re: StriperGuy
        n
        NahantNative Sep 23, 2009 07:55 AM

        People slurp the Publick House like its something innovative, they rest on their laurels (ie their beer selection) and have let the food slide. I'm curious to see what will go into the spot that their sister restaurant (Roadhouse) resides...from what I've heard the owner bit off a little bit more than he could chew with the rent. The place is absolutely dead every thurs-sun night while places with solid consistant food and great service like the Wash Tavern are filled to the brim. Some people never learn

      2. Joanie Sep 23, 2009 05:08 AM

        I can't believe I've never been to Casey's considering I love diners, hot dogs and my brother's name is Casey. But do they only steam their dogs? Grilled is so much better and since you said something was grilled, maybe they do.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Joanie
          y
          youngho Sep 23, 2009 06:34 AM

          No, the hot dogs (and buns) are steamed only. The "grill" is a flat top where they cook the burgers and sandwiches (think of grilled cheese).

          Definitely worth a stop. The dogs have a nice "bite" to them, and the bun is nice and fluffy, although I prefer grilling both when eating them at home.

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/150637

          1. re: youngho
            Joanie Sep 23, 2009 07:06 AM

            Wouldn't you think they'd also grill dogs when they've got the option right there? I would but people obviously are happy with what they offer.

            1. re: Joanie
              z
              Zatan Sep 23, 2009 07:22 AM

              They might do it.....if they're not swamped. The guys there seemed really friendly and open to "innovation".

        2. digga Sep 22, 2009 05:16 PM

          We've definitely been disappointed with the moules et frites. Moules were small, dried-up...lack-luster. The fries flat-out stunk and we told the bartender. That elicited an "oh?" (Believe me, we don't need to be comped for effing French fries.) Bumma.

          1. f
            fishmanator Sep 22, 2009 02:36 PM

            It is quite odd. The beers there are great but the food is foul. I don't get it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: fishmanator
              r
              rknrll Sep 22, 2009 04:20 PM

              Well they don't have to make the beers. :)

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