Add: Sinan Mansions, Block 2, 4/F, Lane 507 Fuxing Zhong Lu, near Chongqing Lu / 复兴中路507弄2号楼4楼, 近重庆路
Tel: 3368 9419
Hours: [Wed-Sun] 6pm~late
Price: [food] 100~200 RMB/person [drinks] 65~80 RMB/cocktail
Visited: Jun 2012
I was so curious about The Public’s Sunday Fried Chicken that I came back within a week of my last visit. The fried chickens here have been garnering great reviews since their Apothecary days, and many diners – despite bashing the place for its strict rules and unsatisfactory service (both have been effectively remedied since the restaurant’s rebranding) – reluctantly admitted that the chickens are a hit.
Here it is, a glorious plate of Whey-Poached Fried Chicken with Buttermilk Biscuits & Coleslaw (half chix w/ 2 biscuits 125 RMB, whole chix w/ 4 biscuits 240 RMB). Free-range, organic chickens that grew up on honey-fermented grains are seasoned (they say it takes 24 hours), battered, then deep fried to a satisfying golden brown. Under the crackling crunch is fragrant, juicy, and tender meat filled with flavor.
On a separate plate came the coleslaw…
…and buttermilk biscuits, which weren’t too shabby, but the restaurant staff still assured us that they are working on the recipe and will soon come out with a leveled up version of these buttery goodness.
With the order of a whole chicken came a complimentary bottle of white wine (or 2 bottles of beer). I’m not sure if this is a regular thing or we just happened to be lucky that particular evening – check with the waiter when you visit.
Sweet Potato Casserole (50 RMB), a deep dish of seasoned sweet potatoes baked with pecans – purely hearty and down-home.
Equally satisfying was the Soft-Shell Crab with Ambrosia Salad (100 RMB), a mound of seasoned and deep-fried soft-shell crabs tossed with organic lettuce greens, toasted coconut flakes and tangerine wedges. FYI, this is on the main course page, so don’t go looking for it in the salad section.
Blackened Chicken Leg and Giblet Rice (90 RMB) – tender chicken thighs rubbed with spices and seared against hot metal, over a bed of giblet rice (not an expert on this, but it was quite tasty as far as I could tell).
I was too full by the time I got to the Australian Wagyu Beef “Juicy Lucy” Sliders on Sweet Potato Buns (60 RMB)…only had a bite and honestly can’t remember too much about it.
But there’s always room for dessert, especially when Dark Rum Beignets (45 RMB) is on the menu. Dusted with powdered sugar (we actually sent the dish back for more powdered sugar…why yes we do love powdered sugar) and served with whipped cream, these southern doughnuts employ Gosling’s Black Seal rum, lime, and nutmeg in its batter, resulting in crispy nuggets with a cakey center.
We also tried a Sour Cream Cheesecake (50 RMB), a New York style cheesecake topped with a layer of sour cream to balance out the richness. Not bad, but nothing special.
No one leaves The Public without a cocktail or two. My favorite from last time was “The Kind”, but I decided to try something else from the list of “Auspicious Eight”. Secret Earl Grey Cocktail (70 RMB), a variation of Audrey Aunders’ Earl Grey MarTEAni served as The Pegu Club, NYC, is made with Eary Grey tea-infused Beefeater gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg whites, grapefruit lavender bitters…Now my favorite cocktail here.
Here’s Dark and Stormy (65 RMB) with Gosling’s Black Seal rum, house-made ginger beer, lime syrup, lime wedge. “From Bermuda, the spicy ginger beer and caramely dark rum makes this rich, spicy and dry cooler enjoyable all year round.”
And Islay Whisky Sour (80 RMB) made from Famous Grouse Scotch whisky, lemon juice, Lapsong Souchong syrup, a lemon twist, and a “collar” of Laphroaig 10 years. “Like sitting in a peat bog being pelted with smoldering pine cones.”
The Public’s Sunday Fried Chicken and other Southern U.S. Creole dishes are well-worth the trip. There are a few other enticing items on the menu that I have yet to try: maple-smoked bacon-wrapped pickled quail eggs, fried shrimp and mentaiko sauce po’ boy, and house-made charcuterie cobb salad, oh my. I also heard they are starting brunch service soon…fried chicken with buttermilk waffles? Bring it.