I saw a recent posting about The Public and thought I'd add my two cents since my husband and I ate there last night. We were treated rudely by the bartender and the food was underwhelming for the most part. We were disappointed because we'd heard so many good things about it. Here's a list of our complaints:
1) The hostess wasn't friendly at all. She didn't even crack a smile, and it wasn't that she was busy -- the place was only about 1/4 full at 7pm. Even though we were there only two or three minutes early she didn't seat us right away, instead directing us to the bar. Again, the place was mostly empty, so it wasn't that our table wasn't ready yet.
2) At the bar, I asked the bartender if they had any happy hour specials. An inoccuous enough comment, I thought, especially since I'd looked on Citysearch and read that their happy hour lasted until 7:30. He sneered and told me haughtily that they did not have any happy hour specials. The cocktails, by the way, are $9.00 a piece, which I think is sort of pricey. I got a beer instead and he served it to me wordlessly.
3) We'd read that The Public had fried chicken on Wednesday. That was the whole reason we went. However, we were told by our server that they *do not* have the fried chicken anymore, on Wednesday or any other night. So I had the osso bucco with mushroom risotto, and my husband had the flank steak with onion rings. My osso bucco was extremely bland -- I had to keep adding salt to it. And my husband's steak, while cooked medium rare, was way too tough and chewy. The best things were the risotto (very rich, with lots of wild mushrooms) and the onion rings (well-seasoned and crunchy).
Anyway, with tip, tax, and 2 beers added in, we spent around $50 for a meal that I thought was pretty unremarkable. And we had the attitude to deal with, too. For that price, I'd rather stick to Luna Park or the Slow Club. We won't be back.