I'm not really sure why I chose to make a reservation at Public. I think it was a combination of wanting to be in Nolita, and the menu was full of interesting things I had never tried. And I had three nights of dining for which to choose places, and why not something totally different?
So Thursday night, my boyfriend and I met up with one of his friends at the restaurant. It's a very "artsy" space, industrial/warehouse-y, but not in a bad way. In one of the rooms, the wall is actually morel ike a garage door, which can open to provide some sort of al fresco dining.
We started out with drinks - gin&tonic for one, scotch on the rocks for another, and for me, the lychee bellini, which was very pretty (and good) - the creme de cassis lying at the bottom creating a lovely colour gradation within the drink. Perhaps they were too good. I had a few of them.
The bread basket was presented, along with a crock of butter. We started with the kangaroo appetizer - really, how could one not? Kangaroo? It was a little game-y, a little like beef tenderloin. It was served on a coriander falafel (pulling from the online menu here, since I obviously don't remember details all that well) along with a tahini-lemon sauce and green pepper relish. A small portion, but very nicely presented (as were all the dishes, as a matter of fact).
Then for entrees - I got the roast lamb chump with quinoa rosti, lemon braised fennel and anchovy mayonnaise. It was perfectly medium-rare, how I like my lamb, and the accompaniments were pleasant as well. I think at around this point I ordered the strawberry and cucumber mojito, so memories of the dinner are hazy. The drink was tasty, but I didn't like how "pulpy" the mushed strawberries and small chunks of cucumber made the drink. But back to the dish. Decent-sized portions, in that there was just enough to sate me, and then have one bite more. But then again, of late, I've taken to eating smaller portions. My boyfriend got the roast monkfish cheek on saffron potatoes, minted courgette & feta salad, and harissa sauce (mainly because I wanted to try the monkfish cheek). It took was good, the harissa a nice compliment to the otherwise plainness of the monkfish. The other person got the roast New Zealand venison loin with ginger glazed carrots, rainbow chard and a fig walnut chutney, which I didn't try but he said he liked it a lot. As I said above, everything is very nicely and artistically presented. And tasty. You'd think that with such random-sounding ingredients that when they were put together, it would just be odd, but it's not. The flavours meld rather well.
And finally, desserts. My boyfriend and I split the pecan ice cream terrine with puff pastry, caramel bananas and whipped cream. It was absolutely decadent, crunchy caramels providing a nice contrast with the smooth sweetness of the ice cream, the caramelised bananas adding yet another complimentary texture and flavour. His friend got the goat's curd brulee with pomegranate roast grapes and Molly's caramel shortbread, which again I didn't try but he said it was "very goaty" - I'm not quite sure what that means.
Service, in my opinion, dragged a little (although the guys didn't notice, so maybe I'm overly sensitive), but was otherwise efficient. The waiter seemed a little bored by us, but oh well.
When we got there at 8PM, the restaurant was maybe half-full. By the time we left at 10:30, it was pretty much full. It is a very scene-y place; I don't think anyone was over the age of 35. I'm glad we ate there, but I don't feel any burning desire to return soon. Perhaps for drinks. But then again, I wouldn't turn it down if someone else suggested it.
And on a side note - we afterwards went down the street to Bread, where we split a bottle of wine. I almost wished we hadn't just had dinner, because it just smelled heavenly. Italian food, I think, I saw a tempting dish of pasta and almost suggested that we try something, but right, we had just eaten.