Went to dinner at Public during a recent visit to NYC. I received many recommendations from posters here so I decided to give it a shot. The decor was, well, I don't know what it was, but it was fun. Kind of like old library meets Reichstag. Sat next to overly lovey-dovey couple (which happened to us quite often on our trip) and were ready to go. Wanted to sample one of the infused vodkas, but we also wanted to delve into the down-under wine list. It wasn't a problem since my girlfriend and I could not find a wine match for the meal. I found the menu to be not eclectic, but just all over the place. Appetizers went from the mid-east inspired kangaroo w/ falafal to full-on Japanese fried oysters with shiso, yuzu, etc. I was introduced to our ersatz waiter whom proceeded to provide type of service I was accustomed to in Miami. What a shame.
I went the arab route with the kangaroo so I ordered the fig and fennel vodka to go with it (bad choice. vodka was syrupy. more for desert than apertif). My GF ordered oxtail/snail ravioli. She commented that the dish felt too busy between the ravioli on one side and a pea shoot salad on the other. Entrees equally ran the gamut of continents (tagines, Australian venison, Mayan prawns) and were busy as well, though not as much as the apps. Had hokey-pokey ice cream for desert and am now hooked on caramel with passion fruit.
I did enjoy our dinner at Public, but I left the restaurant thinking "What just happened?" There was no theme running through the menu, no points of reference you could cling to. It seemed like a mish-mash of dishes with way too many influences to count on two hands. Given that the presentation and preparation were top-notch, I only wish that the folks at Public could reign in their creativity and offer something a little more focused.