Photos by Clay Williams
New York’s hotel dining scene got slightly buzzier this month with the debut of the Public Hotel NYC by hotelier and nightlife icon, Ian Schrager. It’s the first opening for the brand in several years, and inside the dining concepts by celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten (ABC Kitchen, JoJo, Jean-Georges) are getting plenty of attention. Here’s what to know before you go.
This is not Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s first collaboration with Schrager
Vongerichten collaborated with Schrager on the very first Public opening in Chicago back in 2011 inside the former Ambassador East hotel (Schrager sold the hotel last year). Vongerichten’s reinvention of the iconic Pump Room (the one-time hangout to celebs like Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland) won him big accolades then, and it has since become a staple in the cocktail and dining scene in the Windy City. He also more recently teamed up with Schrager for the opening of the EDITION Miami back in 2014 with the opening of Matador Room and Market at EDITION.
The Public Kitchen menu is as diverse as NYC's restaurant scene
Diverse cultures around NYC mean diverse cuisines, and Vongerichten and executive chef Thomas McKenna (a Zagat 30 Under 30 alum) seemed to have a field day playing with flavor combinations on the menu. There’s a selection of pizzas (which he became known for at ABC Kitchen), including the zesty tomato and mozzarella dusted with chipotle chile powder. There are pastas like zucca with bacon, tomato, arugula and jalapeño (pictured below), and a red curry vegetable dish.
Featured snacks include a corn and basil potstickers, potato latkes and smoked salmon, and fried calamari that comes with a ginger scallion sauce (pictured below).
The all-American cheeseburger arrives with housemade pickles and frizzled onions, while steak comes marinated in a soy-garlic sauce and fermented black bean dressing. There are lamb chops with goat cheese, mint, cucumber and black olive (pictured below).
Breakfast too is its own affair, with classics like eggs Benedict, the ubiquitous avocado toast and smoked salmon and a bagel. For sweeter breakfast fans, there’s also gluten-free almond pancakes and crispy French toast with peaches and maple-bacon syrup. Brunch starts on July 1. Lunch is expected to launch at Public Kitchen in the next few weeks.
Inside Louis, the casual grab-and-go concept in Public Hotel
There are five different dining and drinking concepts inside the hotel
Public Kitchen may be the headliner, but there are plenty of other ways to eat and drink your way through the new hotel. There’s Louis, an easygoing counter-serve spot open early morning to late at night for the on-the-go crowd. The menu has a similar feel as freshly opened abcV with an assortment of light breakfast fare like chia pudding and organic fruit bowls. There’s a DIY salad bar with fresh, organic ingredients and gourmet sandwiches running the gamut from a Schaller & Weber hot dog to a portobello mushroom sub. There’s fried chicken and abcV green chickpea hummus too.
Also, check out Diego, The Roof and Lobby Bar for cocktails and a buzzy nightlife scene.
Cocktails are front and center
Public Kitchen’s cocktail menu is short and sweet, but filled with plenty of interesting things to drink. For summer, the menu’s fruit forward — think a pineapple and rosé spritzer, a passion fruit and chile sour, a spiked thyme-infused lemonade and the “stroke of luck” that blends Monkey Shoulder scotch, pineapple and macadamia nut. There’s also a solid wine list and concise beer menu.
The cocktail crowd should also look to the other bars in the hotel too, which each have their own cocktail menu. Where Public Kitchen is sleek and modern, Diego is sultry and a little darker, with rich colors and plenty of lounge seating. Look for separate, rotating cocktails and imaginative bar bites. The rooftop bar has views of the city and the lobby bar is the perfect after-work venue to meet quickly for a coffee or pre-dinner drink. Matthew Charles helped curate the menus.
Save room for dessert
The dessert menu at the Kitchen has plenty of artful options, many of which are elevated takes on old-time favorites. Italian tartufo comes with sour cherry compote and pistachio ice cream and chocolate glaze. There’s a peach and blackberry cobbler too with a caramelized puff pastry and a strawberry linzer bar with both strawberry ice cream and sorbet. Louis keeps it playful with a matcha opera cake, gourmet soft serve and butterscotch pudding with crème fraîche and brown butter caramel.
Public Kitchen: 215 Chrystie Street; 646-609-9040