I started to read more on Public, and I was excited to finally see mention of a good brunch locale to check out over in SoHo. SoHo is my favorite as far as shopping is concerned, but restaurants? Oh no. Not too many to name, save Nolita House on Houston. We were looking for a good location to escape from the cold windy rain for a bite to eat before hitting the stores along Broadway.
Public doesn’t take reservations, so I once called to ask for a recommendation as to when we should arrive. They recommended that we get there right when they open on Sundays (11am) as there is usually a line waiting and once they seat everyone, it’s typically an hour for the table to then turn over. This made sense. We ended up there more around noon, but only found ourselves having to wait about 10 minutes to be seated. One thing I liked about the space at first glance was the set-up. Behind the hostess stand, there’s a waiting room with chairs where people can actually wait! Most places in NYC, you are just shoved against a wall, into the front awning, or the like while waiting. Usually restaurants just don’t have the space. I though it was very commendable that Public went to this extent to make the wait more comfy. Kudos for that!
I was, however, initially a little confused as to why we were waiting, as the middle section of the restaurant, draped behind a thin white curtain, was completely empty with all place settings ready. Maybe they had a wedding party coming? But that didn’t turn out to be the case. Part of the reason for being early for brunch is it looks like they keep that all set for dinner, so less space means get thee there earlier for the brunch seating!
Public does offer a brunch special. For $22, you can choose one of the main dishes, a brunch cocktail, and either coffee or tea. I was curious to try one of their I went with their ginger spiced lychee French toast, which was served with lemongrass dark palm caramel and pomegranate marscapone. The mix of flavors was really well done. There was a whole lot going on combining all of that together. I wasn’t sure if it would be overwhelming, but it definitely was not. The syrup was a darker, heavier tasting caramel although it was actually fairly light in texture, with the lychees scattered throughout the syrup. The marscapone was light and heavily whipped, just faintly tasting of pomegranate. And the ginger in the toast was just a bit of a zing to balance out the otherwise sweet dish.
My only complaint would have to be the portion size. Many times I don’t order French toast simply because it ends up being one massively carb-y dish. Quite the contrary here, as it was two dainty slices of toast which left me wanting more. I’ll admit, my sister and I ended up trying one of their muffins of the day (a delicious egg nog muffin tasting only slightly of egg nog and just more or less a very creamy take on a muffin – sort of similar to a yogurt muffin) in order to not feel like Iwas going to be hungry in an hour.
My friend tried their coconut pancakes, which were served with fresh ricotta, mango salad, and a ginger-lime syrup. The pancakes were fluffy and the dish had the same interesting variation on flavors. I think I’d go with this dish next time over the French toast as it looked to be far more filling than ours. If you’re going shopping in SoHo, I’d say this is a good spot to try, although as far as bang for buck, I don’t know that Public will be pulling me over to eat there other than on shopping weekends. To be fair though, am curious to see what they have to offer for dinner.
Public – 210 Elizabeth Street (at Prince Street) – 212.343.7011