A Public Dinner

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.

Dining Area

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.

White Anchovy Appetiser

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.

Snapper Entree

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.

Details: Public
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

Highly Recommended Tour

After spending what time I could with the family, I thought I’d do some more of the off-the-beaten track type things and joined one of the tours from Foods of New York Tours (at USD40). This one centred around one of the foodie-streets in Greenwich Village where we did effectively a progressive sampling from many of the different places in this area.

In total we had thirteen people including a mix of several dutch visitors, an Englishman, and a number of other Americans visiting from different parts of the country. Our tour guide, Cindy who’d been working as a guide for many many years grew up in the area and is extremely passionate about her history and sharing it with the group. It was a very friendly atmosphere and the combination of the questions the group asked and the passion of the tour guide meant the three hours allocated for the tour extended to almost four as we combed the several blocks in the area.

O And Co

Here’s the places that we ended up visiting:

  • Joe’s Pizza (7 Carmine St) – One of the “best” pizza places (there’s many in Manhattan) and also the location of the first scene in the Spiderman 2 film where Peter Parker loses his job. We had half a slice of pizza, freshly baked and crisp from the oven. The small counter means the pizzas are continually fresh and crisp.
  • O&Co (249 Bleecker Street) – A store where the store manager is a self confessed “olive oil nerd” and shared with us a number of the shocking facts about olive oil (did you know that many olive oils you buy tend to be blends including many nut oils that trigger allergies in people unknowingly?). Here we had a tasting of olive oil and balsamic vinegar over a fresh baked loaf of bread.
  • The Cornelia Street Cafe (29 Cornelia Street) – We took a break from all the eating and sat in the basement of this little cafe where they host live music and, often, many popular artists.
  • Faicco’s Pork Store (also known as Faicco’s Italian Specialities found on 260 Bleecker St, New York) – This Italian speciality store sells all kind of pork products and is a heaving deli, especially at lunch time when everyone’s ducking in to grab some of their sandwiches, or other freshly made foods. We had a lovely rice ball (cheap at only 75c) here.
  • Aphrodisia Herb Shoppe (264 Bleecker Street) – We stopped in here just because our guide pointed out the huge variety of herbs and different spices you can find here. Thankfully we took a break from the eating here too.
  • Lime (29 7th Ave S) – A funky Thai restaurant offering a twist on your classic Thai creations. We had two fresh chicken dumplings, sitting in a home made sauce with some fried garlic and a slice of fresh chilli.
  • Milk and Cookies (19 Commerce St) – We had our first dessert of the day – an obligatory American chocolate chip cookie that we just sweet enough.
  • Bleeker Street Pizza (69 Seventh Avenue South) – We had a slice of square pizza here with a much thicker dough than your classic American. Nice and crunchy with a delicious tomato sauce.
  • Murray’s Cheese Shop (254 Bleecker St) – An amazing Cheese store even with its own Cheese cellar and tasting room. We had a fantastic platter of three cheeses (sheep, goat and cow) as well as a pork product from next door and bread from Amy’s down the street.
  • Rocco’s Pastry Shop & Espresso Cafe (243 Bleecker St.) – Our guide brought our final item from across the road to Murray’s where we were sitting upstairs in the tasting room. Our final dessert and food item for the day was a light and airy Cannoli. They only fill these when you order them so they stay as crisp as possible without deteriorating into a soggy mess.

Dinner With Mike

One of the other people I managed to catch up with during my whirlwind visit to New York was an alumni from Thoughtworks, Mike. Since he didn’t have the luxury of being on holidays, I ended up catching up with him for dinner at a very fancy restaurant called Public (review to come).


As usual, when catching up with people, it was great to see how life was treating him and to see that this year was looking up for him. We chatted about lots of different stuff and had an awesome evening. Thanks for picking the great place for dinner!

WD-50, The Restaurant

Although the name sounds like some sort of variant of the lubricant, cleaner and anti-corrosive WD-40, this restaurant bears no other resemblance and is actually a combination between the restauranteur’s name and the address. I wanted to try this place out as the chef was well known for matching bizarre and strange ingredients, much along the lines of The Fat Duck. Karl and I had dinner here, first trying an appetizer and entree (main course) the followed by the three course dessert tasting menu. What followed was an extravaganza of a meal.

Our waitress provided fantastic service throughout the night and we joked with her about a number of things (like the endless cutlery that accompanied everything). She also gave us two glasses of free dessert wine (a light rose, and followed with the muscat) that went smashingly with the multi-course desserts we had.

Read on to find more about our culinary journey. Read more “WD-50, The Restaurant”

Dinner with Karl

Whilst in new York, one of the people I managed to catch up with was Karl. Though I knew him from back home in Australia, I guess I saw him much more frequently when he lived and worked here in London. Now working at the UN (yes, that one) I think the last time I’d seen him was when he had first got to states last year. I’m really glad to hear how he’s living his dream of living and working in Manhattan.


We had a fantastic time dining at WD-50 (that I’ll write up separately) and some bar that turned out to be slightly Australian-themed called Barramundi. Cheers for the good time mate!

Chelsea Market

Walking around the West side of New York, I stumbled across the Chelsea Market. I’d never been through this place in all my visits to New York and I was mightily impressed by what’s inside. At the entrance, they have the New York version of the Westbourne Grove cafe/store, 202 (who, I might add, serve one of the tastiest french toast/bacon dishes for brunch) and the glitzy though expensive Buddakan. Inside is dotted with a huge variety of bakeries, produce places and restaurants. I find out later that this place is the shooting location for many of the shows off the Food Network, and its neatly refurbished interior is definitely an ideal backdrop for many of these shows.

Chelsea Market

One of the best things about this place that I liked quite a lot is the open kitchens of all the places – you can see master bakeries preparing the dough for the rows and rows of ovens, or watch as they whip up a fresh milkshake at Ronnybrook’s Milk Bar. There’s a couple of places to have coffee, a number of small boutique stores and is just great meandering around.

Ferrying Around New York

One of my most favourite things to do as a tourist in New York is to catch the Staten Island Ferry. It’s a half hour trip in one direction and getting a harbour view of the city for a boat trip you don’t have to pay for is completely worth the time. Better yet, you pass the Statue of Liberty on the way to and from Staten Island.

My parents hadn’t done the trip yet, so we thought we’d do it yesterday and other than the especially windy cold breeze outside, they enjoyed the experience.

Staten Island Ferry Ride With Family

A Night at Nobu

My family tends to avoid famous restaurants and by habit, we prefer closer to home-cooked meals, at reasonable prices and with an atmosphere that doesn’t have to resemble a club to be enjoyable. Even then, if we end up going to an upscale place, it has to be for a pretty special occasion and what we call special occasions are far and few between. Getting everyone in my immediate family together in New York is one of those special occasions that we thought we’d splash out and celebrate as a family. The result? Dinner for twelve at the famous Japanese restaurant, Nobu.


Although I ate at the Las Vegas version of this restaurant, dining at the flagship restaurant with the family and some other relatives ended up with as a much more enjoyable meal lasting over ten courses and stretching over at least three hours. I’m glad to say that our waiter worked extremely well for his service charge, telling us about the menu in great detail, talking about his own recommendations, topping up everyone’s water frequently and bringing the food at a reasonable pace. He didn’t try to up sell certain types of food or try to push things that we didn’t want to eat or drink, and he didn’t interrupt during our meal at awkward times, breaking the flow of whatever conversations we might have been in.

Read on to see the list of dishes we ate and photos of the food (at least those that turned out). Read more “A Night at Nobu”