I told you about my love for Public House in Ferndale a couple years ago. It’s my favorite summer hang out with cool vibes, great food, a covered patio, and soft serve ice cream.
Helmed by Brandon Zarb, who is also the chef at nearby Imperial (which is on my list of places to check out), the food is consistently good and ever changing with monthly specials.
But Zarb likes to stretch his culinary chops even further with monthly menu takeovers. These menu takeovers are one night affairs where the typical Public House menu of sliders, apps, and the best fish entrée in the area is gone and replaced with dishes fitting a theme.
I have wanted to attend one of these takeovers for quite some time but it never worked out for one reason or another but when I saw the menu for the steakhouse takeover and it turned out to be a gorgeous day where I had the time to check it out, I knew I couldn’t miss it.
Even I can’t fully comprehend what it takes to open your restaurant but with a completely different menu for one day only. It’s not a set menu but a list of this time sixteen dishes to order from, some big, some small, all no doubt delicious. To do this successfully, Zarb has to rely on his culinary abilities and his team at Public House.
It’s clear it is worth the risk after only a few bites.
We sat on the covered patio because like I said it was a gorgeous day! Our waitress Chrissy was not only knowledgeable about the dishes but had tried them all and was able to speak confidently about them and recommend her favorites.
I ordered the Wanda drink, a tequila concoction with watermelon. When I asked for a second round with spice, Chrissy said they didn’t have jalapenos but recommended I try it with mezcal for a different twist. I ended up liking the second drink even better than the first.
On to the food. We began with the simple mason jar of pickled vegetables. It was vibrant and vinegary, the perfect way to open up your palate at the beginning of a meal. The shrimp cocktail was next. I used to LOVE shrimp cocktail but it doesn’t suit my tastes much anymore. This shrimp cocktail totally brought me back to the classic appetizer. The shrimp were tender and plump, perfectly cooked. And the mustard dipping sauce wasn’t too shabby either.
The simple endive and radicchio salad with apricots and apricot kernels blew me away. Can we please sell bags of toasted apricot kernels??? Also the creamy dressing was to die for.
It would have been nice if the potatoes, fried and wonderfully crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, arrived with the main entrees, but like so many restaurants these days we were told everything would come out as it was prepared. This is an ongoing issue I have with restaurants.
The only other issue was with the New York strip steak. We were at first told it could only be prepared medium rare, however Mom doesn’t like her meat prepared that way. Chrissy chatted with the chef who was able to cook it to Mom’s liking, but this shouldn’t have been an issue. Steaks should always be prepared how the customer wants them.
The steak itself was good, though perhaps a little tough. The roasted garlic and béarnaise were nice accompaniments.
The prime rib exceeded my expectations. Though having crispy fat on the exterior would have been nice, the meat practically melted in my mouth. I could live off that prime rib with the perfectly seasoned au jus.
Dad ordered the fried chicken with hush puppies, Cole slaw, and maple butter. It was a hit and a very generous portion.
We just had to try dessert so we went with the strawberry jam with almond cake and vanilla ice cream. While I honestly would have preferred just a giant bowl of their vanilla ice cream because it is EVERYTHING, the dessert was delightful with large pieces of strawberries and a wonderfully textured and flavored cake.
Here’s the bad news: you can’t have this particular menu because it was for one day and one day only and it is gone. But here’s the good news: there will be more unique, no less delicious menu takeovers in the future and I encourage you to seek them out.