Public House

Beer heaven. The pipes along the ceiling leading to the bar may be fake, but there’s nothing bogus about the quality of the beer and food. There’s no doubt that they take their drink menu seriously. They employ a cicerone (beer version of a sommelier) who has crafted a beer menu second to none. With a good mix of popular craft brews and lesser known ones, there’s something for everyone. The menu also includes several barrel aged beer and cask beer. If you’re as uninformed as me, take a few moments to chat with the cicerone, Russell Gardner, who will gladly drop some knowledge on you.

Make sure you look at the serving size listed in the menu for each beer. I ordered the Uinta Labrynth Black Ale without doing so and ended up with a whole bottle (750ml) all for myself. Not that I minded… it was so good that I didn’t want to share. It was a good thing that my wife was willing to drive home.

The food here is a perfect match for the beer. It isn’t just upscale bar food. The menu is full of unique and thoughtful interpretations of classic comfort food.

Appetizers and small bites that our party of four sampled included olives ($6), a selection of three cheeses ($16), and Devils on Horseback ($6), their take on stuffed dates wrapped in bacon. The best app we tried was their Bouchot mussels ($14) which consisted of a dozen or so bivalves in a rich, slightly creamy broth of wit beer and creme fraiche. There was plenty of toast with the dish to sop up every drop. It was so good there was no way we were going to let any go to waste.

For the main course the French onion soup ($9) was a hit, as was the Lamb pierogies ($26) — a creative version of “Shepherd’s Pie” with the dumplings resting atop a potato puree and finished with some lamb jus. The short rib ($29) was a hefty portion of tender beef, but I found it to be too fatty and the sauce bordering on gummy. But, the butternut squash puree and onion rings that came with it were amazing.

Along with the entrees, we tired the brussel sprouts ($8), which could have cooked a touch longer, and the heirloom beets ($11.50). Even if you hate beets, it’s a must! It’s the kind of dish that you’ll be fighting over. The goat ricotta cheese mouse gave it a sweet taste that was balanced out by the acidity and a touch of bitterness from the other ingredients.

The service made the experience even better. The server and cicerone were both charming and knowledgeable and the manager even stopped by to make sure we enjoyed everything. With the success of Holsteins and the Barrymore it’s no fluke that Block 16 Hospitality has delivered another hit with Public House. They seem to have a solid understanding of what it takes to have a flourishing restaurant.

4.5 Stars

— Updated below: April 26, 2012 —

On a return visit a few weeks ago I had more of the same — good beer and delicious food. Their beer list is long, but from now on I will always get whatever cask beer they have on tap. With no carbonation and at a slightly warmer temp than what most would be used to, it’s supposed to be the ideal conditions to enjoy a brew. I can’t argue with that. Sans carbonation makes it easier to go down and stay down — less bloating and burpingĀ  for me.

The food was excellent again. The crab salad was filled with plenty of chunks of sweet crab meat, a tempura-style avocado and some sour notes provided by pieces of grapefruit. The pork chop entree was outstanding. Incredibly tender and juicy with a flavorful charred and crusted exterior, it was one of the better pork chops I’ve had.

Two delicious meals later and Public House is one of my favorite spots on the strip for it’s tasty food, extensive beer list, and great value.

4.5 Stars

— Updated below: May 8, 2012 —

About a week ago I made my third trip to Public House. It’s quickly become my “go-to” place to bring out of town guest because of it’s amazing beer selection and eclectic menu. There’s something for everyone, really. For those that aren’t adventurous eaters they have basic salads, steaks, and a burger. For folks who like to branch out from the norm the “small” and “medium” categories on the menu are where the true gems are.

The roasted bone marrow ($15) is a single bone cut length-wise. The accompanying bacon marmalade and toast points help make this wonderfully rich, savory and sweet, jelly-like marrow an unforgettable indulgence. There may not be much marrow in those bones, but as intense as the flavor is, your taste buds will thank you for not giving them a total beat down.

The butcher block shouldn’t be missed either. We opted for two items ($18) — the potted duck rillettes and rabbit loin in porchetta. Arriving in a small jar, the duck rillettes didn’t have a smooth pate-like texture that other rillettes are known to have. It consisted of larger chunks of gamey, rich meat with a creamy layer of fat glazed over the top. It was absolutely delicious, but so fatty that you’ll fell guilty for eating it. The three slices of porchetta may not have been as rich, but they were equally tasty. The tightly wrapped mixture of herbs, rabbit loin, fat and skin had a more subtle flavor than the rillettes and looking back, we should have eaten them before the duck or even the bone marrow because of the latter’s richness.

The pappardelle pasta ($22) with barlywine sausage, broccolini, cherry tomatoes, and saffron was a letdown. The flavors just couldn’t compete with the intensity of the appetizers so the delicate nature of the dish was lost on me. It wasn’t bad by any stretch, just not something I would order again.

For drinks, I tried the cask beer they had on tap. I can’t remember what it was, but after drinking it I definitely prefer non-carbonated beer. I followed that up with an Innis & Gunn Rum Cask Barrel aged beer ($12), which had a sweet, almost cola or soda-like finish.

To finish the meal I indulged in the Irish coffee cheesecake ($9) with Jameson caramel chantilly and hazelnut crumble. I’m a lover of all thins cheesecake and this version more than delivered. The Jameson may have been subtle, but the coffee flavor shined through to give this rich and creamy cheesecake an unforgettable punch. The consistency of it wasn’t as dense as a typical cheesecake, which was welcomed after such a heavy meal.

Chef de cuisine Thomas King and Block 16 corporate pastry chef Rebecca Bills (both formerly of Switch at the Encore) should be commended for making Public House such an intriguing and enjoyable destination. It’s rare that I return to any Strip restaurant, but this is one that I will patronize again.

4.5 Stars

— Updated below: July 3, 2013 —

It’s been a while since I’ve been here but it’s still one of my favorite spots on the Strip with it’s ever-changing menu of approachable comfort food done right. There may be other gastropubs in town, but Public House is still tops in my book (or close to it). This time around we tried a delicious steak tartare, an amazing pork belly over grilled brioche and topped with a poached egg, and one of the best steaks from a non-steakhouse restaurant. The side of mushrooms we had with the steak was solid and we were surprised to find out they have a kid’s menu. With our little guy in tow, we were planning on him sharing what we ordered. But, he was able to order a grilled cheese for himself that was followed by a simple vanilla sundae with chocolate sauce and sprinkles that he laid waste to. It was another great meal with great beer as always.

4.5 Stars

Venetian
3355 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 407-5310

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