The newly opened Public Hotel in the LES is an interesting addition to an area that hasn’t completely shaken off its gritty past. It’s essentially a lifestyle hotel for the sexy, jetsetting traveler with exquisite tastes who wants more than just a comfortable bedroom. She can shop for interesting brands at a well-curated retail store in the lobby, grab organic food at the casual eatery, network with like-minded Millennials in the lobby bar or party it up on the rooftop.
Public Kitchen, a restaurant backed by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, is the flagship culinary anchor at the hotel. It’s been designed with the globe-trotting traveler in mind, so the dining room makes for some interesting people watching. Everyone is too dressed up to be from around here, they look like they flew in from Miami or LA for a weekend, bringing their revealing clubbing gear and rose pink dresses with them.
The food reflects the sophisticated and worldly cooking that Vongerichten is famous for. It covers a lot of ground, consisting of everything from Middle Eastern, Asian, Italian and American flavors. The menu’s appeal is broad, but the execution and attention to detail paid to every single dish is very specific and impressive.
An ideal meal here must include the crispy basil pancake as an appetizer. It’s the best interpretation of a scallion pancake that I’ve ever had, surpassing even the ones made at authentic places. The tuna tartare, despite what the server tells you, can be skipped. Follow that up with a summery and mellow rigatoni that comes with a little heat, and end with a tartufo dessert, a delicious chocolate shell filled with sour cherry sorbet and pistachio ice cream. Afterwards, you can follow the rose-colored ladies up the Tron-like escalators, take a selfie at the top in good lighting, and post the rooftop finale on Instagram.
215 Chrystie St (between Stanton and E. Houston St)
New York, NY 10002