There are countless restaurants in Las Vegas, so whatever it is that sets one apart from another is important. At Public House in The Venetian, that difference is the gourmet bar-inspired menu created with a European twist.
The menu at Public House consists of several dishes that offer a hint of familiarity served up with a high-end touch. I recently had the chance to taste a variety of dishes on the menu. Here are the highlights:
The short rib sounds simple enough … until you realize it’s served in a puff pastry with butternut squash purée. The crispy oysters, served in a half shell, come with foie gras, golden raisins and cider gastrique. For the most part, I like seafood, and I loved the oysters as well as the octopus, which was served with white bean salad.
In addition to tasting a variety of the sea-inspired dishes, I tried my taste buds on a few other things as well. The Welsh rarebit was a favorite at our table. This dish, which consisted of sliced bison on cheddar-beer sauce toast, has a great mix of flavors. There were other dishes that also perfected the right mix of sweet with savory, such as the country pate, which was served with mustard sauce and fruit compote. I also tried escargot, which was a new experience for me, and I found it to be a bit salty but quite tasty when served on a small puff pastry.
Though I didn’t have expectations for anything on the menu (how could I, when I didn’t have any clue what to expect?), there were a few things that I could have passed on. I was looking forward to trying the Devils on Horseback, which are blue cheese stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, but the blue cheese was too overwhelming. These have the potential to be good, but the version served at FIREFLY is far superior. Also, I found the pork belly, which was served with goat cheese on a polenta cake, to be a bit mushy.
For dessert, I had the chance to sample three options. The apple cobbler was my favorite—flavorful and nothing fancy, which was a nice change of pace from the dinner menu items. The chocolate stout cake, which is served with whipped cream and bacon crispies, would have been better without the bacon, in my opinion, though the other people at my table said it would have been better without the whipped cream. As for the hazelnut brown ale float, it’s probably just me, but beer doesn’t have a place at the dessert table. The standard root beer float is not a force to be reckoned with.
Prices at Public House were pretty standard for the caliber of the restaurant. Bar snacks ranged from $5.00-$6.00, and meals started at $24.00. The restaurant’s beer collection contains more than 200 selections. It’s worth noting that this is a very meat-heavy restaurant, and vegetarians won’t find much on the menu to enjoy beyond a few salads. The restaurant itself is open and large, bathed in warm lighting and a muted decor. It is a comfortable and cozy yet high-end restaurant and, in a way, I feel like men dressed in tweed jackets smoking cigars should be lounging around, actively serving as the latest intelligentsia.