I would like to preface this post by informing the general public that I have given up on any sort of portion control, dietary restrictions, or general not eating whatever the hell I desire until after the New Year. My resolutions will be all the easier to keep when I glance at myself in the mirror and find that I have gained 25 pounds, and after my consumption patterns this past week it is too late to do anything but quietly sigh and resign myself to a month of obesity.
That being said–PUBLIC. I capitalize PUBLIC because that is how it is spelled on Yelp, and the Michelin site, not just to PUBLICALLY declare my strong love for the meal my boyfriend and I shared these last Wednesday. For our first date night in several weeks, we snagged a table at the Nolita hotspot and came prepared to wine, dine, and rub each other’s bellies after seriously testing their limits. PUBLIC, one of the downtown restaurants owned and operated by Avroko (Saxon+Parole–formerly the yummy Double Crown of Bloody Mary cart fame, and The Monday Room, a wine back tucked into the back room of PUBLIC), received a coveted Michelin star this past year, and being the label whores that we are we were eager to sample the offerings.
[Cool mini-soaps in the PUBLIC restroom. To the boy’s great embarrassment, I picked these up and brought them over to our table. I plan to put them in people’s Christmas stockings this year]
Our night was, in a word, perfect. The dining room at PUBLIC felt industrial yet elegant, and our entire meal had a wonderfully relaxed feel to it. The service was attentive yet deliberately chill, putting us completely at ease as we downed cucumber and lemon gin gimlets (me) and extra dirty vodka martinis (boy. It makes me jealous that boy has a standard and classy drink order, while I just point to whatever looks like it will have the highest alcohol content without compromising taste). I somehow managed to convince the boy to not only split everything with me, but also to allow me to photograph all my food (he must have been in a phenomenal mood that evening), all of which is available for your viewing pleasure below:
[We started with grilled scallops with sweet chili sauce, crème fraiche and green plantain crisps. The scallops were perfect in texture (I love scallops, but their texture is seriously difficult to pin down. They either melt in your mouth or taste grossly scratchy), and the plantain crisps added an unexpected kick]
[With the scallops, we had a salad of lentils, green beans, avocado, toasted pecans and baby spinach with pomegranate molasses and avocado oil vinaigrette. This was ridiculously fresh and delicious]
[Our second course was grilled Kobe beef tongue with an aubergine-cumin relish and a pita bread puree. The Kobe beef was flavorful, but a bit tough. The relish was excellent]
[I had been told to try the kangaroo at PUBLIC, and even though I felt a tiny bit guilty ordering kangaroo since a) they are really freaking cute, b)were my favorite animal for many years and c)their gestation techniques are literally genius (how wonderful would it be if I could carry my future children in a pouch across my stomach? I’m thinking a Chloè crossbody, cream if it’s a summer baby and chocolate if it comes in winter?), but I am so glad I did, because as adorable as kangaroos are, it turns out they are also DELICIOUS. Our kanga was served grilled on a coriander falafel with lemon tahini sauce and green pepper relish. It tasted like really fine beef with a tangy aftertaste, and as long as I don’t have to personally catch and prepare it, I will be glad to order it again on any menu]
[We finished with the pan-roasted duck breast with sesame soy dressing, cassava chips, wokked bok choy and pickled onions. This was definitely my favorite course, and ducks aren’t adorable so I felt absolutely no rue. The duck breast was ridiculously soft and juicy, and the Asian-inspired sides added wonderfully to the flavor]
As usual, we found ourselves too full for dessert but lingered for some post-dinner cocktails and to eavesdrop on the beautiful people around us. Our total bill came in at about $30 less than our last fancy dinner out (at Scarpetta), and the food, service, and ambiance was considerably more pleasant. I would really like to come back to PUBLIC for brunch, which I hear is phenomenal, or Sunday Supper accompanied by cocktails at The Monday Room. The Nolita location is perfect as well–after our gluttonous meal, we walked along the Bowery pausing to make note of places we’d like to try when we are not stuffed to the brim with meats and spirits, and, since it was a particularly pleasant night, walked all the way back home (I would like to think that walk burned at least 1/10th of the calories we consumed, but I really can’t be sure).