In a swarm of heavy eating over the holidays, what was one more high-calorie meal? Before we both headed to our respective family homes, Paul and I decided to finish off our 2014 brunch game with a bang at Public. I actually hadn’t heard much of Public before my morning of Google research and was looking forward to spending my afternoon in the trendy Nolita neighborhood.
I was impressed by the grand entrance as soon as I walked in the door. Public did an incredible job preserving the uniqueness of the original building, a very cool factory-style bakery. Two levels of industrial doors, floor to ceiling library card catalogues, and oil lamps are just some of the unique details that made the space special. A huge sun light lit up the oversized dinning room, which still felt intimate despite the expansive size.
We were sat immediately despite our lack of reservation and were served complimentary granola bar bites, made with coconut and cocoa nibs. They were gluten free, sweet, and a delicious little kick to our palates.
Our first order was the avocado toast with lentils, green beans, herbs, and toasted pecans in a pomegranate molasses and avocado oil vinaigrette, because I have never before seen such a combination on a menu. Covered with a generous portion of green lentils, something I didn’t know I liked before this brunch, I was unsure how my first bite would taste. It was an amazing burst of flavor, with a complexity of crunch from the candied walnut and green bean, sweet and salty all in one. If this was an indication of the rest of the brunch, I was already sold on my rating.
I noticed the English influence in the menu in dishes like the fry-up, which I decided to order as my main. Two scrambled eggs were served on sourdough toast with roasted tomatoes, beans, and buttered mushrooms. Public took the classic English breakfast and enhanced it with tweaks like the smoky chipotle baked beans, touches that made this classic memorable.
Paul ordered the tea-smoked salmon with spinach, poached eggs, and a light yuzu Hollandaise on toasted sourdough. This was Public’s spin on a salmon Benedict, and Paul loved the thick filet of salmon versus the typical conservative portion that you receive at many restaurants.
Because the space was two levels and very large, I think our waiter struggled with making his rounds as frequently as he would have liked. He was warm and full of personality, but didn’t come by as much as I’d expect from a Michelin-starred restaurant. This was the only downside of the brunch, which was otherwise incredible.
The Bitches say: A. Public was extra-memorable in atmosphere and most importantly, in each of its brunch dishes. Dishes that typically fall into a range of “classic” break the mold at this special spot in Nolita.
210 Elizabeth St.
New York, NY
Public serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.