Public is one place that definitely deserves the "better than it has to be" award. The room is the very essence of the retro style pioneered by the influential design firm AvRoKo -- no surprise, since its founder, Adam Farmerie, is the brother of Public's chef-owner, Brad Farmerie. The latter does adventurous modernist food made with far greater care and imagination that one would expect from a restaurant this pretty on such a chic block of Nolita. The cocktails are also very high-concept. Some nights you'd rather have a steak and a Rob Roy -- and if that's the case, go someplace else. Public doesn't take the easy way.
Public = Horrible Service and Sub-par Food.
The food wasn't anything special. I expected much better based on their prices.
But the service was horrible.
We made a reservation, and when we arrived (on time), we still had to wait 20 minutes, even though half the place was empty.
The hostess first ignored us when we arrived, then after getting her to talk to us, she told us to wait in the bar.
After 5 minutes, we asked them again whether we could be seated, since there were so many tables available.
They told us no, and that they'll call us when our table was ready.
After 15 minutes had passed, we asked again, and this time we pointed out at least 8 or 9 separate tables were empty since we came in, and they said "Oh, um, those are reserved".
I replied that I had made a reservation also.
They ignored me and just kept chatting with each other... How Rude!!!
After debating with my friends for a few minutes about which restaurant to change to, they finally came over and seated us.
After all that, we had to subject ourselves to rude waiters also.
It just seems like they don't want any business, and that they're tired of their jobs.
I don't know how this place remains in business.
Terrible service, mediocre food. I waited with a date 40 minutes despite having a reservation and no concession was made except a very glib "too bad you had to wait." The food did not impress and was overpriced for the quality. I will not be returning.
What a treasure! I became familiar with Chef Farmarie after seeing him on the Food Network and was anxious to try this restaurant. On a recent NY Jaunt, I met with up with 5 friends for dinner at this chic establishment on Elizabeth St. in Soho. We were running uber late but the staff was so friendly and did their best to have us seated in a timely fashion once we did finally arrive. Boy was it worth the wait. I had the scallops to start, simply delishious and then the venisson as a plat principal and again, perfection: Perfectly cooked with just the right gameyness. I tasted a bit of my friend's lamb and it was great. Everything I tasted at the table was a little piece of heaven.
For dessert I had the coconut pudding cake with passion fruit sorbet and it was perfectly light and refreshing.
Our waitor was friendly, knowledgeable but not annoyingly so.
It was a lovely evening! I 100% recommend!
Not worth it!. We had no reservations, but the lovely (not) hostesses, were awful. They said we could wait in their main bar or front bar. When we asked where the front bar was, she did not know left from right. She kept pointing to an empty space behind her with no entrance. Brilliant. Then one of them came to let us know our table was ready. We followed the hostess, she sat us and then said that table was for another party. Then they went to sit us at a dirty table, finally we were sat in the bar area. Extremely noisy. Our waiter was very good and thank goodness for that. The fois gras was good not the best but it was good. The Tasmanian Trout was good, but the 2 scallop appetizer was gritty with sand. The edamame was perfection. Ha... With the great places in NY, I probably won't be going back for dinner there, but it is a good place to meet friends and get a drink.
cozyy. This is probably the most expensive meal we've ever had and worth every penny! The service, ambiance, food, etc. were all amazing. We had several wait staffs serving us and explaining to us the details of the dish. Just knowing how it was prepared and the chef's inspiration for the dish made it that more tasty. Can't say this place will become a regular occurance (unless I win the lotto) but the next time I get a huge bonus or something we'll be back.
wonderful restaurant. Went here on a friday night recently with a party of 6 and we had an amazing dinner. Service was great and food was even better. Atmosphere was lively but we could still hear each other talk. Sticky toffee pudding dessert was the best!!!! Highly recommended!!!!
Great food, a little expensive. I had a great time here. I came for brunch with a friend on a Saturday around 11:45, and we were immediately given a table. Around 12:30-1pm there was a line of people waiting for tables. I ordered the coconut pancakes ($11) which while good, weren't great. My friend, however, ordered the Banana Stuff French Toast ($11) and it was amazing. They also had a good selection of scones or muffins to choose from, but I didn't pay the extra money to try it. But they did look tasty (they have it sitting out buffet style). Our waiter was really nice, and not pushy considering it started to rain and my friend and I lingered over our coffees so we wouldn't have to get drenched! A nice brunch spot that serves more than the usual fare with friendly service - something that can be hard to find in Soho!
Really fabulous sceney place...great food. We love Public! Fab wine list, really wonderful unusual flavors and menu, informative staff....when you go be sure to book and ask for a table outside - the two-top at the front is FAB but good luck if you can snag it.
AVOID FOR BRUNCH - Decent decor, loud music, unattentive wait staff, DON'T GET THE VENISON BURGER!!!.
I had brunch there today with my fiance. The food was OK, but Public does not deserve the good reputation it has. I would DEFINITELY avoid this place for brunch. The service was very unattentive. I expected much better. For example, our waitress visited our table maybe 4 times over the course of the entire meal. I find this unacceptable, because I had to flag her down for more water and coffee.
As for the food, my fiance's dish, the french toast, was good, not great. I wish they had not put the syrup on before serving. You can find equal or better for less. The coffee is $4. Really? Most dishes are between $10-$15, which is fine, but $4 for coffee? And they don't explicitly put that on the brunch menu, they "hide" it in the drinks menu. So, if you are having brunch, no coffee, I think the prices are fine, but if you are having coffee, the place is overpriced. Serving sizes are also on the small side. Brunch is the only meal I really appreciate larger serving sizes, so maybe I'm being too picky, but don't expect a lot of food.
BTW - My VENISON HAMBURGER was TERRIBLE. I am not that picky of an eater, but I did not finish even a 1/3 of the meal. On top of that, the waitress, when she cleared our table, didn't ask why I didn't finish the meal. Is this supposed to be a good brunch place? Seriously? The decor is nice, but the music is a bit too loud. I felt like I had to semi-shout to be heard and I was often straining to hear what my fiance was saying.
It reminds me of a place people might take a date or out-of-towners. Avoid it for brunch if you can.
Loved it. Will be back.. Had dinner at Public on Thursday, and I have to say it's the best restaurant experience I've had in a while. I'd been there for brunch before, and I always liked the space (very unique and industrial) but I'm not one to go gaga over brunch so it didn't leave much of an impression. Finally took a friend for dinner, and I fell for it. Started at the bar for a drink. My friend had a hot toddy that was made with port (thumbs up) and I ordered an unfiltered sake on the bartender's recommendation (very good, interesting). The hostess came over to seat us, but we were having a good time and decided to eat at the bar (great bar for dining, very comfortable with a good view of the cool space). Started with incredible fried oysters and kangaroo (try it!), both of which I'd go back for. Had the cod and venison for the main course, both very good. Chocolate plate for dessert had some very unusual chocolates (one with curry was my favorite). Shared a bottle of shiraz for $50 that was delicious and a pretty good value I thought. Tab wasn't cheap, but this isn't exactly a hole in the wall, you expect to pay more for the cool digs. Also it's really loud (high ceilings, hard surfaces) but that's really all I can say that's negative. Loved it, loved it, loved it.
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