I have wanted to go to Republic since it opened. It’s been critically acclaimed with a nose to tail and farm to table philosophy that is so popular with restaurants these days. The menu seemed a bit different, but I was up for an adventure, as I so often am with restaurants these days.
It was a steamy (the car said it was 100 degrees), sunny day that I was so happy to be enjoying. Republic is a very beautiful restaurant with the most comfortable chairs ever. This is important since so many restaurants these days have hard metal chairs that leave us uncomfortable.
We were greeted by our friendly waiter and began the adventure. I began with a Lady Hemingway cocktail (very appropriate, I thought) and it was gorgeous with a slice of grapefruit peel on top. The scent was intoxicating and the flavor very balanced with rum, rhubarb liqueur, and grapefruit. I loved it!
Then Mom, Dad, our two guests, Art and Jessica, and I ordered our appetizers and entrees. Republic places emphasis on family style eating and we were warned that food may not come out together, even though we each ordered our own food with the intention to share a bit but not have a family style meal.
The appetizers were outstanding. I was dying to try the roasted carrots and they did not disappoint one bit. The carrots were still a bit crunchy but charred and very vinegary, which was great because I love vinegar. They were served with pistachio pesto and cashew cream. I would order this dish again and again.
The housemade challah bread with molasses butter was good, but not worth the $6 price tag. This should be complementary on request.
The broccoli gratin was a hit as was the potato and cabbage pancake with housemade speck, a delicate salad, and even fresh currants. The cherry and tomato salad with burrata was a hit as well, particularly the uber creamy cheese. The hot dishes came out literally steaming too, something I always appreciate.
It wasn’t a big deal that the appetizers came out slightly apart from each other because we all had sharing plates and did enjoy tasting the dishes; plus the lag time was minimal.
When it came to the entrees, this was a different story entirely. Jessica’s jambalaya arrived first. She loved it, but no one else at the table would know because this time we did not have sharing plates. Mom and Dad’s strip steaks came out next. They were a bit undercooked, but once refired a bit, delicious. Art and I each ate some of their dishes with our fingers, cave man style! The meat was ridiculously tender and the vibrant, almost spicy chimichurri totally hit the spot. Housemade kimchi, sautéed rapini, and polenta with mushrooms made this a must order dish.
Art’s pork chop arrived next. Despite the waiter’s warning it would arrive medium rare (yikes!) it was cooked through and dry.
So that left me. Where was my entrée? Jessica was done eating and it had been twenty or thirty minutes since her food arrived. My duck breast finally came. Though it was a bit salty for me, the meat melted in my mouth. I love the beets and turnips that came with it as well as both the beet and fig puree.
Dessert also arrived in a less that timely fashion with the s’mores (sans chocolate) coming first. It looked a bit unassuming, but one taste made me melt. Vanilla sang through in the ridiculously creamy dish. I saved some for the carrot cake doughnuts that arrived next. They were hot and crispy, coated in cinnamon sugar and even better with some of the s’mores melting on it.
Jessica’s housemade Superman ice cream came last, which makes no sense. She loved it though we all noticed it was a bit icy.
Mom called the manager the next day to chat about the wait for dishes. He was very nice and said it shouldn’t have happened. He also said the pork chop had not been a hit. All of the food was rather good, but I couldn’t put my finger quite on why I didn’t particularly enjoy my time at Republic. I think it was all the waiting. The manager said we should come back, let him know, and he would show us how awesome Republic can be.
And you know what, I am excited to take him up on that offer. I also hope you will check out Republic because it has amazing food and is still figuring out how to work together as a kitchen. None of us can be perfect, I suppose.