Once upon a time, Neil and I ate out all the time. We weren't parents then. Yes, parenthood has a tendency to curtail a lot of that spontaneous eating out. But needless to say, I'll take my baby girl over a good steak any day!
You all may remember how long time culinary citizen Garibaldi's suddenly closed up shop. I think with something like a whopping 24 hour notice to their employees. I know I was shocked when I heard. Just a few months before, Neil had taken our daughter there for a daddy-daughter date night and made a fan out of her. Then, they were gone.
If you have been paying attention, that building has been under construction lately. Lots of activity over there and then the sign went up. Publico. Hmmm! What could it be? What will it be like? What can we expect?
Neil and I decided to head over there on New Year's Eve for lunch. He had already stopped in one day last week for a beer and tried their bacon-wrapped jalapenos and was impressed. He told me about the menu, which I pulled up online and out the door we went.
|Neil is in a happy place|
Publico's menu features a large selection of specialty tacos with an emphasis on Asian flavors. Example? How about a Bahn Mi taco: crisp pork belly, jalapeno, cucumber, carrot & daikon. Or, what about a Pad Thai taco or Avocado Crunch? Wait, there's more! How does a burger made from ground chuck, brisket and short rib grab you? Of course, you may opt for a Carne Asada puffy taco (remember that episode of "Beat Bobby Flay"?) or a Korean influenced tostada?
Neil and I opted for their special, which is 5 tacos and 2 sides. Our plan was to share so we could get a good sampling of the menu.
|Isn't that beautiful?|
|Plum Chicken Taco|
|Sambal Fish Taco|
|Bahn Mi Taco|
|Classic Carnitos Taco|
|Cilantro Lime Shrimp Taco|
Ok, I know this post is long, but there's a lot to say! Publico is just cool. They took out the windows that overlook Greene Street and replaced them with roll up doors. (Anyone remember Hannah Jane's?) The walls are clad in recovered wood, food is served on flat, stainless plates, like pizza pans. If you choose to sit at the bar that separates the dining room from the actual bar, note the purse hooks, A/C and USB outlets.
Someone is quite talented at chalkboard penmanship. I always marvel at that...how does someone not only write so artistically that big and with a stick of chalk? We had the pleasure of having the owner, Mike, stop by our table and talk. He's new to Columbia and excited about being here. He shared with us his experience in the restaurant business from Houston to Nashville and now here he is in Columbia. He's interested in local sourcing and creating a quality upscale casual environment. Matt was our server and he was fantastic: answered all my goofy questions without rolling his eyes (at least not in front of me!) and he really knew the menu. He and the bartender Lilly, both came by our table to check on us and we talked about the menu, their favorites, our favorites.