Public made a big splash when it first opened for its interesting Aussie New Zealand fusion cuisine and for a beautifully designed space that won the admiration of many design geeks. I remember loving the brunch back in 2009, but I haven’t been back since, as it was a little bit out of the way from my former UES residence to make it a regular neighborhood spot.
A few weeks ago, near the Elizabeth Street Garden, I heard live music playing, which I assumed was coming from the garden. As I followed the sound, I learned that it was actually coming from a wedding that was being held at Public. I guess over the years they repurposed part of the main dining room into an event space, which is totally fine, although I found it odd that the wedding was being held at normal hours. Semiformal meets Sunday casual, very interesting. With that, Public reentered my consciousness, and I decided to see how brunch had changed over the years.
The brunch menu has been tweaked somewhat to accommodate recent food trends like quinoa and avocado toast, and Asian seems to be an even bigger influence than in the past. I never expected to see kimchi, togarashi and yuzu all on the same menu. The French toast that I loved seems to have been retired, which was disappointing, but I got over it. I”m more of a savory brunch eater anyways.
I do think Public has aged pretty well and the brunch is still very solid, even with all the changes that took place. The kimchi waffles, which I was very skeptical of, was a big crowd pleaser, and something I would return for. I remember liking the Turkish eggs back in the day, but this second encounter was not as favorable. The soft boiled eggs and unsweetened thick yogurt was too plain and dense, I felt like I was eating gobs of unflavored 100% Fage straight from the package. But overall the brunch was adventurous and on trend, and it’s hard to beat a table in a pretty part of Nolita that’s not impossible to get. A good meal here is truly available to the public.
210 Elizabeth St (between Prince and Spring St)
New York, NY 10012