Last night, I went to PUBLIC, one of the restaurants on my Michelin Guide List. PUBLIC has been here for 10 years, I’ve lived here for 7, and, yes, this was my first time here. I guess that’s the beauty of living in a city with thousands of restaurants!
Upon entering, you’re in a dimly lit, loft-like space with high ceilings, yet, still cozy. The design is cool, and I liked the aesthetic. The staff was really friendly and nice, but, I will say, kind of slow. I was left with too much time to look at the menu, when it’s not really that extensive. And, throughout the meal, had I needed anything, I would have waited a while. As someone who’s waited tables once upon a time, I understand dinner rushes, but, there’s still no excuse for letting a table sit without checking on them.
On to food and beverages. So, we ordered everything at the same time, but, our appetizer came out well before our drinks. I usually prefer the opposite. For an appetizer, we got Crispy Brussels sprouts with lemon miso sauce and Aleppo pepper. These, were amazing. In fact, I could have done a meal of them and my beverage and been totally content. The crisp and flakey outside with the sweet honey-like miso glaze, and tenderness of the inside of the brussels made for a great combination.
Then, out came my drink. I ordered Stealth Margarita, Espolon blanco tequila, St. Germain, fresh lime, cucumber, chili tincture, cayenne salt. This, was a good one. Slight kick of heat, but smooth with cucumber hints and a light touch of sweet citrus. A very enthusiastic thumbs up.
Finally, my entree arrived. I ordered the Ora King Salmon with spiced cauliflower, ash roasted leeks, toasted pepitas, grapefruit and whipped cauliflower purée. Ok, I’m about to sound like a jerk, but, the first thing i noticed was that my plate was hot…which, gets me nervous sometimes because I think it’s been under a heat lamp. The other reason I thought that, was the salmon roe (which I thought was an interesting accompaniment, not necessarily in a good way) were warm and heated. Ever have a heated salmon roe? Don’t. It’s gross. Working past that, I’ll say that the salmon, cooked medium-rare, had great flavor. The cauliflower purée was really nice, creamy and just the right amount of saltiness. The cauliflower pieces were really nice as well, crisp on the outside with a great crumb coating. So, what didn’t really belong (aside from the warm salmon roe)? The slices of grapefruit…that were also warm. Again, I’m not sure that warm grapefruit really has a place anywhere. But, overall, a good dish.
Location: 210 Elizabeth St, NYC
Michelin Star: One Star
Long and Short: Would I go back? I’d go back for the ambiance, brussels and cocktails.
Would I recommend it? Potentially…I always want people to form their own opinion on a place, their experience might be totally different. Wouldn’t be on the top of my list for recommendations, but, someone might want to check it out.