When you bring in the right ingredients, it's hard to go wrong. Brian Huston and chef Paul Kahan (Blackbird
) are famous for their palate of fresh simple ingredients, garnishes and just a splash of tart sauces. The chefs rely on the simple goodness of the ingredients to bring out the taste of the season with the Publican's rotating menu.
Whether it's the winter squash soup ($7, Green Acres Farm, Judson, Ind.) or Iberico de 'bellota' ham ($12, Salamanca, Spain), you know exactly where the ingredients are coming from. You can choose from simple menu options or chef's recommendations, but a glance at the menu is enough to see that simple doesn't mean colorless. Fish plates like the Madai snapper crudo, from Japan, is prepared with pacific sun extra virgin oil, orange, radish and mint for $14.
The chic and spacious design that is a staple of Kahn's other ventures left the New York lights behind for a metropolitan tavern with a European feel. Wide windows, high loft ceilings and large open space balance with heavy tavern benches and standing room beer tables. There is something to crowd around, as the Publican bar serves more than a dozen beers on tap with a hundred more on the menu.
Located in the heart of West Town, just steps from the 'hood's many galleries, the restaurant space itself is a junction between a gallery and a Carl Andre installation.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Beatrice Smigasiewicz