Mike Randolph is at it again with a new concept in University City called Público. It has been getting rave reviews, so I had to see what all the fuss was about. After a quick glance at the menu, thoughts of the long gone MEDIAnoche came to mind. MEDIAnoche was the night-time version Mike’s other restaurant: Half and Half. Although there were similarities, the new concept featuring an oak-burning hearth in the kitchen, definitely caught my attention.
This visit was a “go big or go home” type of night. Most of the items are smaller and meant for sharing, so I would suggest ordering around three to five items for a couple. Once you order, items will come out as they are available. If you prefer, there are also entrée portioned items available as well.
First up: a cocktail to help shake off the week, and this one was a stunner.
It was called the “Have you seen my guava?” and it was light, well-balanced, and definitely effective.
Once the food started to arrive, it came out fast and furious. First, the raw oysters. On this particular night they were featuring Cranberry Creek Oysters from Washington State. They were medium on the brine and had a slight cucumber flavor on the finish. I had never eaten oysters with lime juice, but it was a nice touch. The flavors paired extremely well with the house red hot sauce.
Another guilty pleasure of mine is sweetbreads.
This was the first dish that caught my eye from their menu. It happens to be the most unique take on them that I have had and is probably my new all-time favorite. They were served with a pineapple and habanero sauce, which came with just enough of a kick on the back end so you know it’s there.
Guess what? There was a liver dish and I ordered it. I know, right?
I had their arepa with lamb liver butter, fried sage, and maple syrup. The lamb liver butter was light compared to most liver dishes. The sweetness from syrup should make it more palatable, even if you aren’t a liver lover like me.
Yes, I also love tacos. I LOVE TACOS. Público‘s tacos come as a pair which makes them great for sharing if you can resist keeping them all for yourself. Out of all the great options, I settled on the pork belly.
The first round of tacos was delicious: moist and packed with flavor. They were so good, in fact, I opted for a second round. Unfortunately, the difference in texture made this round a bit more dry. Either way, I would still recommend them.
Público is the latest restaurant adding more taco options to University City. In fact, it is safe to say that U City has the upscale and diverse taco market cornered in St. Louis. They have a menu with plenty of options in a fun setting with an upbeat vibe. I predict a long life for this restaurant and can’t wait to try some of the entrées.
Dive 2 Five Star Scale: 3. As I have already said, it has a very upbeat vibe. It is also in one of the great areas to walk around in St. Louis: the Loop. I love the open concept with the large “U” shaped bar. It was a great way to get in without a reservation before they became more busy. The decor is fun as well. I am a tree art fanatic so I loved the large trees on the wall.