As I mentioned before, I had dinner at a restaurant called Public with Mike on my last night in New York. It hosts a lovely bar and a beautiful restaurant inside though you need to book ahead if you want a place (it seems like most places in Manhattan). Surprisingly, with a common name like Public I would have expected to have trouble finding their website except it was pretty easy by searching for the terms “public restaurant new york”. The reason I mention their website is that I have to really laugh at the way they call their food “free-spirited fusion” on their FAQ page.
The interior of this restaurant is beautiful – much of it is renovated to look like a modern public library (I guess, hence the name). To your right as you walk in, is a lavishly polished cabinet of what looks like an index card catalogue. You know, those little index cards you used to have to look up to find a book, now replaced by computers these days. If not, I must be getting too old :-). The chairs are sleek and dark that almost blend into the floor to highlight the white tablecloth and the hanging lightbox filled with old fashioned-looking lightbulbs. Like most restaurants these days, the lighting is pretty dim (certainly not great for taking photos of food!) although I guess accentuates the mood of the place.
For the evening, I drank the Guava and Red Chili Margarita (composed of Sauza Tequila, crushed red chilli with lime juice, lemon juice, sugar, orange liqueur and guava puree). It was divine since it wasn’t as sweet as your typical cocktail and the chilli had enough kick to give your mouth some heat without burning it. Of course, the sweetness of the guava and orange liqueur cuts through the bite of the rim of salt and tequila liquor.
I started with my appetiser (shown above) of Marinated white anchovies on quinoa croquettes with spicy saffron aioli. The anchovies didn’t overpower the dish excessively like I though it would though I think it lost the flavour of the soft saffron in the ailoi that also failed to be noticeably spicy. The crunch of the quinoa (a grain) croquette) went well with the soft flesh of the anchovies.
For the main (or the entree as they call it in the US) I had difficulty deciding between the Tasmanian sea trout or the New Zealand Snapper. After asking the waitress, I decided for the snapper dish, on the menu marked as Pan-seared New Zealand snapper on wasabi-boniato mash with poached conch, pickled ginger, and yao choy. The fish was delicately cooked – so soft that poking it with a fork would unfold its white gems of flesh. I’m not sure where the conch was and the subtle wasabi-boniato mash was creamy and slightly sweet that went perfectly with the fish on top of it.
Found at: 210 Elizabeth Street, New York, 10012
Contactable on: +1 212 343 7011
Highlights: Strong classical menu involving lots of Australian and New Zealand seafood and meat with a modern twist.
Room for improvement: Not that I’m vegetarian, but I noticed on their menu they only had one choice for vegetarians from their main dishes.
The Kua Rating: 8 out of 10