Friday, August 01, 2008

The Public, Apology, That Is

In the past, I've briefly referenced a contemporary, fascinating, and trend-setting restaurant in San Francisco managed by a hipster friend. I previously told you that I would write a glowing (and well-deserved) review of his restaurant shortly after I left San Francisco. Well, just to give you an idea of how "behind" I am in posting, its been almost one year since I left the Bay Area, and I am just getting around to writing the "long-promised" review.

To make matters infinitely worse, that restaurant,
The Public, has actually long since closed (not for lack of business, but so that the investors and managers move onto the next stage of their careers). Despite this, I recently decided resurrect my overexposed images of half-eaten food (it was my last week in San Francisco, and food blogging was the last thing on my mind) and outdated scribblings from the hollowed recesses of my hard drive, and slowly begin posting again to this blog, and first starting with The Public, a self-proclaimed resto-lounge. Note: All non-food pictures are taken from The Public's now out-of-commission website.

I am sure you are asking, "Why post on a non-existent restaurant?" Well, this significantly belated post will serve as a "thank you" to my generous friends who took me out to this dinner and a "congratulations" to my always admirable restaurant manager/friend. You could say that the primary purpose of this post is to pat him on the back for a job tremendously well done.

The moment that you stride through the entryway at
The Public, you will notice that everything about this resto-lounge is saturated in trendiness. Everything. The glamorous Asian-fusion inspired cocktails, the svelte metrosexual waiters, the warehouse-era walls built with staggered clay bricks, the Jackson Pollack-esque paintings strung from the walls, and the uplit lucite lettered signage. Yes, everything.

At a place with a hip, yet relaxing atmosphere like
The Public's, you will almost assuredly have high expectations for the food.

And I am happy to say, that in my experience, the food at The Public is beyond all expectation.

As for my last meal at
The Public, I recall ordering the pan-roasted Atlantic salmon. I distinctly remember that the fish was cooked immaculately, possessing a delicate and sweet resistance to the tongue. A fresh and full-bodied fish flavor permeated throughout the meat of the salmon, and the salmon itself was served with a tangy herb relish made of sweet white corn, blue lake beans, symmetric squares of roasted red beets, and a grain mustard vinaigrette. One aspect that I especially appreciated about the dish, was that the chef added another dimension of texture and temperature to the entree by including a chilled shaved fennel and frisee salad, to top the dish.

I also enjoyed
The Public's grilled Angus rib eye steak, which I recall as being as supple and as toothsome as filet mignon. The accompaniments were classic and comforting, yet exhibited a chic flair. Just the way I liked it. Particularly, the steak came with king trumpet mushrooms softened in a balsamic red wine reduction. The mushrooms tasted as if they had been painstakingly braised to perfection, and the dish also included a classic creamy potato gratin and several spears of fresh, palate-pleasing brocollini.

Finally, the desserts at
The Public deserve both mention and honor. The flamboyant desserts and ambitious Asian-fusion cocktails at The Public epitomize its resto-lounge signature. One especially mouthwatering dessert option is The Public's trembling vanilla buttermilk panna cotta, which is supple and luxurious. The milky panna cotta was decorated with a sprinkling of ripened and freshly diced mango squares and a slightly acidic and tastebud-provoking raspberry-passionfruit coulis.

Though now closed, thanks to great memories and based on its unique style, ambiance, and cuisine,
The Public will live on forever in the hearts and minds of its fans.


  1. It did look wonderful. Don't you just hate it when a good restaurant closes?

  2. I miss the Public! It was very trendy and I loved the brick walls. I still don't really know why it closed. But it sounded like you have a really memorable dinner (with photos) to always look back fondly at.

  3. Wow! I've heard of short lived restaurants...but wow! And it looked good!

  4. Hi-lo Melinda, Chef Ben, and Elmo Monster! It is disappointing, but I have you all to relive and recreate great food memories!

  5. I really miss that restaurant = (

  6. I miss the Public! It was very trendy and I loved the brick walls. I still don't really know why it closed. But it sounded like you have a really memorable dinner (with photos) to always look back fondly at.


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