Sunday, September 21, 2014

Brunch at Public in Manhattan

I have to admit, I'm not a big brunch person.  I know, to say this is almost sacrilege, especially considering how much New Yorkers around me seem to love their brunch, but I find the meal to frequently be overpriced and uninspired.  I can make delicious pancakes at home, and honestly, charging me more than $14 for poached eggs, no matter what you serve them with, is kind of a rip off.  But when my sister up from DC to visit me, she sent me the menu for brunch at Public, and I immediately okay-ed it.
First of all, there is a great variety of creative dishes on the menu, it's not too expensive, and most important of all, I saw a brunch dish that included foie gras.  Sold.  Get your purse, we're going out to eat.
Because my sister was taking the morning bus from DC to NYC, she ended up arriving at the restaurant before I did.  She put our names down for a table, and then sat down at the bar at around 11:30am and ordered a latte while waiting for me.  I joined her a little bit before noon.  The hostess came and asked if we wanted a table since there was space, but we decided to stay at the bar, since it was brightly lit, not loud, and there was a good view of the restaurant.  Plus, it fun to watch the bartenders make everyone's morning cocktails.

After some deliberating over the menu, I ordered the Black Pudding Waffles with red wine poached pears and whipped foie gras butter.  This sounded a little risky even to me - the avid lover of all things foie gras - but the bartender assured me it is delicious.  I'm glad I decided to try it because it was excellent.  I would order this again in a heartbeat.  In fact, even as I write this, I am contemplating going back for brunch immediately so that I taste this once more.  The waffles were decadent and smooth; if I wasn't told they were made with black pudding, I wouldn't have known, but they had a delicious savoriness that was really nice.   I also loved the foie gras butter and poached pear combination. I cleaned my plate.

My sister ordered the Tea-smoked Salmon with poached eggs on multi-grain bread.  This was also a big hit.  The salmon filet is fragrant from being smoked with tea.  The poached egg had a perfectly runny yolk, and we loved how the hearty bread stood up to the flavors and the moistness of the egg yolk.  I would be happy to order this again too.

We also were given two little black sesame biscuits, drizzled with lavender honey. The biscuits were alright, but the honey was like heaven. I'd eat that stuff on its own.

For brunch drinks (which, honestly, I wouldn't have ordered, but the bartender kindly gave us two free glasses, perhaps out of pity for the two girls at the bar avidly staring at every drink he sent out to the tables), we tried the Salty Dog, which has gin and grapefruit juice.  It was light and refreshing from the grapefruit, but had a fairly strong alcohol kick.

For dessert, my sister and I split the Concord Grape Panna Cotta (not pictured, because, sadly, it wasn't that attractive).  This is served with a grape sorbet with prosecco foam and candied peanuts. The peanut and grape combination kind of reminded me of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, minus the bread.  Neither my sister nor I were fans of the foam, as it was made with egg whites and was not strongly flavored with prosecco; it tasted kind of strange.  The panna cotta was fine, as was the sorbet, but after the amazing main courses, I was expecting a little bit more wow factor from dessert.  Maybe my opinion is being swayed by the fact that I don't really like grapes.

My sister got the brunch prix fixe deal which is $24 for a coffee (they let her latte count), entree, and dessert.  My dish was $14 (a steal!). Our cocktails were a gift from the bartender and the biscuits were free (I think all tables are given them) so our lovely meal was less than $40 before tip.  Not bad for the delicious brunch.  I can't wait to go back!

210 Elizabeth St
New York, NY 10012
Tel. 212-343-7011

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