December 9, 2007


Public, appearances can be deceiving

Let’s start with the good stuff. Public, the hip spot in the equally hip Nolita has a very attractive interior, which seems to be populated by an alluring, well-dressed crowd. That’s pretty much all the positive words I can muster. In my (not so humble) opinion, Public is an amateurish, pretentious and extremely over-priced restaurant. It tries too hard to be “food couture” when actually it’s closer to the Dolce & Gabbana tote I got in China Town. Surprisingly, the place is packed every night of the week. The only feasible explanation I can come up with for this weird phenomenon is that either people just don’t really understand good food or that it is packed every night with first timers like Zazi and myself.

We started with two appetizers that sounded very exciting: Cured Wild Boar (1) with garrotxa cheese, marinated olives and caper berries, and a Lentil Salad (2) with green beans, avocado, toasted pecans & baby gem with pomegranate molasses and avocado oil vinaigrette. The cured wild boar was decent. It was kinda like prosciutto covered with a thin layer of lard (I enjoy fatty things, that’s why I wasn’t appalled). The salad was okay, nothing special really that would justify its outrageous $19 price tag. I actually suspect that it was pre-made and delivered to our table straight from the refrigerator.

For entrées Zazi and I shared a Roast Lamb Sirloin (3) on crispy goat cheese polenta with saffron braised baby vegetables and harissa aioli, and Baked Cod (4) with sepia, Chinese long beans, cipollini onions, and chorizo hollandaise. Sounds delish, no? The meat, however, was dry and chewy. The seasoning was Middle Eastern with a top note of some unexpected cumin. I enjoy Middle Eastern cuisine, when I choose to eat it. The crispy goat cheese polenta, which in theory appeared intriguing, was a complete disaster. It was like eating a piece of slightly sour cardboard. The cod put on a gourmet appearance but was actually pretty bland. The sepia was tasty though. Thank god we ordered a side dish of sweet mashed potatoes with miso, which was the only “swallow-worthy” food on the table.

To accompany our meal we ordered a Mt. Difficulty 'Roaring Meg' Pinot Noir 2006 from Central Otago, New Zealand, which was medium bodied and quite nice.

For dessert we ordered the Sticky Toffee Pudding with armagnac ice cream and hot caramel sauce. It was ok, but we were already biased by the time it met our palates. Since this dinner was a bit of a catastrophe, I’ve decided to order myself another drinky delight. The chef recommended pairing a Rutherglen Muscat (non-vintage) from Rutherglen, Australia with our chosen dessert. It was nothing more than aaight.

All in all Public was a waste of time, money and stomach space.

Bottom line: 64 :(

210 Elizabeth St (Btwn Prince & Spring St)


Lessle, The BFF said...

ouch. i like when foodzi gets a little sassy...

Tony Ritz said...

"Like the D&G tote I got in Chinatown," Ha! BURRRRN.

Cookie said...

damn girl! with reviews like this you will have restaraunts kissing your ass in no time. no one wants to feel the wrath of foodzi