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Public – Plate 7
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Public – Plate 7

I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to get from place to place in the city to minimize outdoor time and maximize productivity time. It takes a minute to walk from my apartment to the 116th and Lex 6 train, 25 minutes to Spring Street. It doesn’t make sense to deal with the hassle of changing to an express at 86th unless you’re getting off at (or one stop away from) an express stop. Buses are my new best friends. I think I’ve taken the M15 ten times so far; I once took it from 24th to 116th (this is not advisable). I’m learning it. I think I can hack it here.

I say this because on the 6 to Spring Street this morning, there were two 45+ year-old female British tourists sitting next to me, perusing their Time-Out New Yorks. I know I’ve only been here for a few weeks, but I used to live here, so I feel I know the city pretty well and I thought I could help them find something interesting, so I asked what she was looking for.

“Oh, I’m just looking.” she said, completely blowing me off.

I was confused. Don’t people like when someone wants to help them? Wouldn’t you want some insider information from a local about cool places to go? They got off the same stop as I and wandered outside, still perusing the guidebooks. It’s blustery frigid freezing frickin’ cold outside, they don’t know where they’re going, and they don’t want help? I put it out of my mind and chalked it up to stupidity and fear.

I’d just broken a pair of earmuffs (that I bought for $3 – go figure), so I’ve got a bit of a pep in my step on the way to Public. The hostess showed me to the Monday room to wait with the promise of warm apple cider. Aside: The Monday room is a super cool private room for 30-40 people. I know; I counted the seats and estimated standing room because I wanted to throw a party in that space. Seriously. I’m in there for three or four minutes and guess who walks in? The tourists.

“I could have just saved you the trouble and told you to come here.” I said.

What are you gonna do?

Here’s the breakdown of what we had at Public: quinoa hashbrowns and grilled chorizo (above), Turkish eggs (just below), coconut pancakes (second down), and a tea-smoked salmon Benedict (last picture).

I’ve been trying to find a way to prepare quinoa so I wouldn’t hate eating it. If you haven’t heard of it, quinoa is this vegetarian superfood, packed with protein; I just never liked the way it was prepared. Turns out that if you mix quinoa with some shredded potatoes and fry the crap out of it you get just about the most delectable hash brown you’ll ever have. Tina and I both ranked this #1 for the meal. It tasted like a cross between a latke and falafel (I’m sure it had something to do with the spices used).

Even though they gave me brioche with the Turkish Eggs, I used the hash browns more liberally to scoop up this yogurt, butter, and over-easy egg concoction. If you told me that I was I was having poached eggs in yogurt and spicy butter for this meal, I might have just written up a post on a McGriddle and called it a morning. I wouldn’t have ordered this except our server said it was his favorite thing, and it was the cheapest thing on the menu. If you know anything about serving and up-selling, you know my waiter earned my trust big time with that reco. I just want to take a second to applaud not only the server, but the management at Public for this move. You can’t teach that; you instill it.

Obviously the dish was money. If you are too proper to dip your bread (or hash browns) into this spicy, sour, salty creaminess, you’re missing the point of this peasant dish.

A perfect foil to that of the Turkish Eggs here’s the I-must-order-that description of the Coconut Pancakes: coconut pancakes with fresh ricotta, mango salad, and ginger-lime syrup. Sheila is going to kill me, but the Coconut Pancakes at Public were better than the coconut french toast The Neighborhood Restaurant and Bakery in Boston.

This was my just my third favorite thing this meal and it was better than one of my favorite breakfast items in all of Boston, Wow. Nice work, Public.

The Tea-Smoked Salmon was the last place seed in this tournament. We both agreed it was more of a must have dish for a restaurant like Public than something that you had to have if you went here. It was cooked well, the individual pieces all tasted great, it just wasn’t my favorite combo. The seafood benedict lost at Jane as well … maybe they just ain’t my thing.

What was my thing? Everything else on the menu.

I almost forgot they started us with a fruit salad and yogurt. The consistency was somewhere between the yogurt you get at a store and mascarpone cheese – a more dense tiramisu. It had a green-tea like flavor, maybe a hint of jasmine as well. We were happy to find that it reappeared in the Turkish Eggs.

Both Tina and I were impressed with Public. The next time you see confused brits getting off at spring street on Sunday morning, you know what to do.

Guest Writer: Tina WongHere’s her post

The IRL Arts Foundation and The Wandering Foodie thank Public for providing this meal.

210 Elizabeth St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 343-7011

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • christinefreshlocalandbest January 4, 2010, 3:53 am

    The quinoa hash brown sounds amazing. I've noticed people don't like to talk to strangers here. I wouldn't take it personally, it's their loss.

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