PUBLIC is a resolutely modern restaurant with an old-fashioned design. The design firm AvroKO has plastered the industrial, rustic interior with old library card catalog drawers, mailboxes, menus served on clipboards and other throw-backs to an earlier era. (Get it? Libraries, post offices and schools are public places…). But the menu, designed by Brad Farmerie, is a whirlwind tour through half of Europe, East Asia, Southeast Asia and Australia and New Zealand. There is Australian kangaroo on a coriander falafel, grilled New Zealand venison loin with cabrales dumplings and salsa verde, Szechuan crusted tenderloin and roasted pork belly with braised daikon in a truffle dashi broth, ricotta cavatelli with Thai basil, anchovies on quinoa, scallops with plantain crisps, pan-roasted duck breast with sesame soy dressing and wokked bok choy and a mushroom ceviche with miso aubergines and a ginger ponzu sauce. Fusion cuisine has been done many times before, but we have never seen quite so panoramic an effort as this.
It is all the more impressive, then, that the dishes succeed so well. One might expect such odd couple pairings to sound some dissonant notes but, under Farmerie’s hands, the contrasting cuisines simply run as a counterpoint or grace note. The ambition of the kitchen can sometimes be veiled by PUBLIC’s casual, chic atmosphere, but this range and creativity explain why it has received a Michelin star for the past several years. Regrettably, the flip side of casual and trendy is relatively poor service. The mostly New World wine list has been thoughtfully compiled to complement the menu’s Antipodean influence. This eclectic and winsome restaurant isn’t quite like anything else in NYC, and that’s a compliment in and of itself.
210 Elizabeth St.
New York (nr. Prince St.)
(212) 343-7011 Mon-Thurs, 6pm-11pm; Fri, 6pm-midnight; Sat, 10:30am-3:30pm, 6pm-midnight; Sun, 10:30am-3:30pm, 6pm-10:30pm
RECOMMENDED DISHES See All
- Mushroom ceviche with miso aubergines and ginger ponzu sauce
- Grilled scallops with sweet chili sauce, crème fraiche and green plantain crisps
- Pan-seared Tasmanian sea trout with carrot-cardamom puree, hibiscus braised fennel, chick peas and edamame
- Grilled New Zealand venison loin, Cabrales dumplings, oyster mushrooms and salsa verde