After months of watching the progress on their facebook page, I was thrilled when Original Public House was finally set to open. And even more excited to be invited to their soft opening. It would hardly have been fair to review an evening designed to help work out the kinks, so the hubby and I gave them about a month to settle in and then headed back for a late dinner one Saturday night.
The restaurant was busy, but we were seated quickly. Our server took our drink orders (one soft drink, one water) promptly, but when we asked for a minute to study the menu, it stretched into a long pause. At first I thought he may have misundetstood how long of a pause we meant, but in observing the hum around us, I think he may simply have been caught up elsewhere. Once he returned, I asked his opinion–the fish and chips or the bangers and mash? He voted for the fish and chips, so I went with his recommendation. My husband ordered the pretzel crusted chicken sandwich with chips.
As we sipped our drinks and waited for our food to come up, I soaked up the decor. As a restaurant built around a bar, there were additional long high tops to give more “bar like” seating. The far ends of the restaurant were populated with laminated tables set for dining. The floors were a gorgeous, glowing wood, echoing the warm and intimate decor. The abundance of wood surfaces and the groups at the bar meant the restaurant was on the loud side, however it quieted down as we ate. I suspect an earlier dinner time would have provided a quieter atmosphere simply because the crowd would have skewed more heavily to diners vs drinkers. As it was, it was probably a 50/50 split.
TVs were hung around the restaurant, though I noticed they were placed so as to be more visible from the bar and less so from the tables–an ingenious way of catering to two slightly different demographics. This same attention to detail was evident throughout the restaurant, from the weighty silverware to the cloth napkins to the the purse/coat hooks unobtrusively located by each table. (The dining areas had hooks installed in the chair rails. The long high tops had them on the tall legs. In all cases, items could be kept close at hand and off the floor.) Servers carried what looked like small cross body purses containing tablets which they used to take orders or consult the menu. Even the hostess station was equipped with a tablet for assigning tables.
Despite the delay in placing our order, our food came out promptly. My fish (shown at the top of the post) was flaky, golden, and free of any “fishy” taste. The light breading added a barely-there crunch and was well complimented by the housemade tartar sauce. Thinner than your average tartar sauce but still creamy, it popped with fresh dill and lemon juice. The french fries were perfect. Baby potatoes, piled high on trucks leaving Idaho, dream of growing up to be french fries such as these. Slight strips of skin remained visible, and each fry was ever so slightly crispy, seasoned with salt and pepper. Due to my inattentive menu reading the coleslaw was an unexpected addition, but a welcome one. Large strips of crunchy cabbage were coated in a thin, creamy, peppery sauce. Simple, and delicious.
My husband enjoyed his sandwich, saying that the chicken was juicy with a nice flavor in the breading. The house made chips were “great” and the bread was fresh.
The Original Public House fills a niche I’ve been waiting for–the kind of place you can meet friends for a delicious dinner, linger over drinks, and enjoy a relaxed but polished atmosphere. The appetizers are meant for sharing–although the housemade chips with beer cheese sauce are so good you may not want to. The portions are well balanced, you can finish an entree and still legitimately contemplate dessert. They exist in that wonderful middle ground, a step below “fine dining”, but several notches above “family eateries”. Which is not meant to imply that you can’t bring the kids. With a dedicated kids menu (which includes fried fish and bangers!), they welcome wee diners. On Sundays they offer brunch until 8pm with a menu which includes a full Irish breakfast. And, because the nature of Irish food is to be more potato than bread based, many of their dishes are gluten free. Not only will we be back, but we’ll be bringing along anyone we can talk into going.
Total for the meal: $28.34 (Includes one soft drink, one sandwich, and one entree)