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Feb 23, 2011 08:20 AM

Public Kitchen & Bar….my perfect restaurant

I haven’t posted in a while on Chowhound. Mostly because some of my favorite experiences I have had at LA/OC restaurants in the past 6 months have already been described better by other chowhounds.

I do feel compelled to talk about my experience at the recently opened restaurant and the reason that I described it as “my perfect restaurant”.

While I loved my meals at Bazaar, it is more a “show” or dinner theatre than a place to grab a delicious meal often and on a whim. I also had a great meal at Animal and devoured every gut busting fat laden protein on my plate, while my wife sat across the table less than impressed by the décor & noise level and even more annoyed by that lack of food choices for her….no doubt we will not be having any date nights there in the near future. The Lazy Ox was also as terrific experience for me, except that it easily accessible for lunch but with an extremely limited menu. At dinner this tiny tavern is a madhouse. Not to mention that some of the dishes were brilliant while others left something to be desired. Then I had a great meal at Marche Moderne. Almost everything was executed very well but…I am just so over the super formality of places like this.

Why can’t I find a restaurant that serves the type of food I love eat, with a warm and casual service and a stylish ambiance? A place that I can go to on a weekly basis and not get bored, a place that prepares dishes I have enjoyed a million times but takes them to a higher level? Sort of an American Brasserie and not the overplayed Gastro Pub. In other words… what would it be like to be invited to an extraordinary chefs house for dinner instead of eating at their fancy pants restaurant?

My chowhound friends…I have found that place. Now I am not going to assume that all of you like the same food as me, so I will simply say that I was fortunate enough to go to the pre-opening on Sat night and seriously found myself in a culinary food paradise. I felt like I was in a “No Reservations” episode where Anthony Bordain said “bring it on” to the server and kept ordering tons of amazing food and then as he put each bite in his mouth you could see the look of food porn ecstasy in his face.

Public Kitchen & Bar is the new restaurant by Tim & Liza Goodell. It took the same space at Dakota in the Roosevelt Hotel and based on my experience last weekend it is a winner!

I snagged a menu so I can describe what I ate and because I am one of those geeks that takes pics of my food I was able to reference what I ordered.

Chicken Liver Terrine served w/ kumquat preserves
Cheese Fritters, Chicharrones with Chili & Lime
Cured & Smoked Steelhead Trout w/ the Fingerling Potato Salad
Potato Tart with Caramelized Onions & Pancetta
Gnudi with Brown Butter & Bacon
Diver Scallops with Zucchini Risotto & Mint Mascarpone
Neapolitan Meatballs with Sugo, Pine Nuts & Currants
Crab Feuilles Des Brik w/ Espelette Aioli (this can only be described as the best crab cake ever and I don’t even like crab cake. It is 100% Dungeness Crab wrapped in a crispy type crepe)
Sweet Garlic Soup w/ Little Neck Clams, Potatoes & Bacon
Crispy Oxtail Galette with Poached Farm Egg
Beef Brisket Pot Roast, Red Wine & Wild Mushroom Sausage w/ Crispy Potato Cake & Black Truffle Sauce
Fried Oyster Po Boy (instead of a French roll it I think they used Brioche…so good)
Tourtiere Quebec Meat Pie.

Then onto dessert..

Warm Berlineres filled with marmalade and served with vanilla sauce
Cheese Blintzes w/ Mountian Huckleberries,
Chocolate & Butterscotch Pudding
Valrhona Chocolate Souffle

All in all this one was on the most memorable dining experiences I have had. Perhaps in the next few days I can come up with some criticisms but as on now I can only think of how great everything was.

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  1. What did it cost for a meal like this?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Petey McNichols

      I honestly don't remember what my final tab was, but most of the entrees were in the $8-$12 range I think. There was some large entree items like steak that were more expensive, but as you can see...I like the small plate experience.

    2. Thanks for the report - this sounds like a must-try!

      1. I was there on Wednesday and despite the feeling that the restaurant wasn't really ready for business, I had a positive experience.
        First off, I had called earlier in the day and was told the restaurant opened at 5:30. When I called to confirm at 5:15, the hostess had to check since she thought it opened at 6. It was indeed 5:30 and as we waited to be seated, another employee kept the hostess occupied by telling her who had breaks, when.
        It seemed to be an over riding theme as 1/4 way through our service, our server went on break.
        There were a few other tables but it was clear, the restaurant was still in training/prep mode.
        Boxes being emptied in site and sound of the dining room, lots of milling around by employees, ordering beer only to be told the tap wasn't hooked up yet, and no bread plates when bread was served. I know that this is customary in Italian restaurants, but usually, the table linen is new for each service.
        At Public Kitchen, the table is a marble top and who knows what they use to clean it.
        I noticed another table had bread plates so thought it odd, we did not.

        Anyway, after quite a long wait for my cocktail (the server did apologize), I have to say is was delicious (the Alexandra). I opted for three small plates and wow, they were good.
        -Sweetbreads (the sauce was a bit sweet and the water chestnuts threw me off a bit but I finished it off)
        -Gnudi (light and fluffy, seasoned well and the bacon was amazing)
        -Oxtail galette (my favorite. I could've eaten a few of these.)
        My dining partners went for the fish special (can't recall) and the roast chicken. They were happy too.
        For some reason, I assumed the butterscotch and chocolate pudding was a melded dessert but were separate servings. The butterscotch was better IMO, the sea salt elevating the flavor.

        I can't wait to go back when all the kinks have been ironed out because the food is great, the ambiance is great (though I can imagine it will be very loud at max cap) and the staff is friendly.

        1. Updated Chow Place Link for Public Kitchen (I simply took down the Dakota name and substituted the new one). While you can find them on Open Table for dinner reservations their website is still a work in progress and is not up yet.

          Public Kitchen and Bar
          7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028