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Jul 31, 2011 05:59 AM

I loved Public!

I just wanted to post because although I have seen good reviews for Public here, it had been largely off my radar. I honestly only found it because a friend and I were joking around about eating kangaroo and I was googling kangaroo to be funny and I stumbled on their website and demanded someone go there with me to settle my curiosity. It turned out to be such a great meal I wanted to post here!

I started with a cocktail recommended by the waitress - a not at all overly sweet watermelon herb martini which was lovely, and then my friend and I agreed to share the whole meal because there were so many things we wanted to try. We did order the kangaroo (how could we not) which came in fairly thin, seared slices, over a felafel ball and with some tiny chopped pickles. It had the flavor of a game meat, with a slight smokiness to it, but the texture was softer than beef. Very unusual and tasty. The pickles were fabulous. The felafel was fine (could have been crunchier). Our other app was a kobe tongue, which came as two medallions, grilled I think, over a sauce that had crunchy chickpeas in it and carmelized onions. The tongue was the softest, most melting tongue I've experienced. For entrees we shared a lovely, light cod encrusted in polenta over a fresh corn and basil risotto which was also quite yummy and I think had huitlacoche in it, and a venison over "dumplings" which were more like pancakes but had a great chewy texture and a toastiness to them. Everything was delish - including a second cocktail I somehow ordered with a lemon or cucumber flavor to it, and we did something I've never done before: on the way out, we made a reservation to go back, next time for the Sunday dinner where they surprise you. I've certainly eaten at places I knew I wanted to return to immediately, but this is the first time that me and a dining companion both felt it so strongly for the same meal - but of course also we were both curious about how much more adventurous their Sunday menus could be!

210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

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  1. i haven't been in about 4 years, but i think public is a great place. never understood the lack of notice it gets

    3 Replies
    1. re: thew

      Lack of notice? Maybe here at chowhound, but not from the restaurant's point-of-view, in my opinion. I've been there a few times over the years, mostly weeknight dinners, and it's always busy and bustling.

      1. re: RCC

        i wasn't saying they have no business, but here on CH, and in discussions of the NY food scene in general they rarely come up

      2. re: thew

        I agree about lack of notice on these boards. We've eaten at Public several times, always very good to excellent. I've commented on here about our experiences but usually they are received with crickets chirping. Always mention it when it fits the request.

      3. Their brunch is also excellent, as is the "hidden" wine bar they have behind the host podium, The Monday Room.

        The Monday Room
        210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

        1. I also enjoyed my meal 2 weeks ago. Prices are reasonable, food pleasing. i will be back.

          1. Sunday Supper is, IMO, a bargain.

            1. Public is great, and IMHO batting above their price point (not that they should raise prices, mind you...)

              I think some of the lack of notice here is on account of it's a bit "sceney" - not because of the chef, mind you, but the setting, AvroKO design, ambience, and trendy NoLita location. Not that there's anything wrong with any of that - hey, you gotta make a living. Good for them if the place is packed. But I think some people who haven't been there tend to think of it as JUST a scenester place, and don't even realize the food is top-notch, with one of the more adventurous menus in the city.

              I think another issue is that restaurants grow and progress, and a number of people who may have eaten there back in '04-'05 might have left unimpressed, and never felt an urge to return, feeling it was scene-over-substance.

              It's a better restaurant now than it was then, I think - I wasn't there in '04, I think I tried them first in '08 or so. I had a decent meal, but wasn't wow-wow-wowed. But I (luckily) wound up there maybe a year or so later and had a great meal. And since then, every meal has been great. I don't know if I caught them on an off night my first time, or if Farmerie's just gotten better. It's one of those restaurants that I think could deserve another look from The Times, rather than Sifton wasting everyone's time by revisiting critic-proof tourist-trap warhorses like The Palm.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sgordon

                i ate there in '05 or so, and loved it back then .......