Public House offers unique gastropub experience

Good news for craft beer lovers: the popular brewpub Eagle Rock Brewery has opened a brother restaurant, Eagle Rock Brewery Public House, on Colorado Boulevard. For those who have been to L.A.’s first brewery, they would know that though options are limited, Eagle Rock brews an original and diverse range of beers. Public House seems to follow a similar business model, offering a limited-but-creative fusion menu.

Located between Glendale and Pasadena, Public House is not the most convenient location for USC students. On a crowded night, street parking might be a problem. For those who own cars, and don’t mind driving 20 to 30 minutes and searching for parking, however, Public House is definitely worth a try.

As indicated on its website, Eagle Rock Brewery Public House seeks to “create an intersection” for “craft beer and progressive dining,” as well as a “casual yet purposeful atmosphere.” Given this premise, it should be no surprise that Public House does not serve your typical pub and bar food. Instead of gourmet burgers and nachos, Public House takes gastropub to another level, adding French, Asian and other exotic flavors. Beer lovers looking for a more traditional pub food experience might therefore be disappointed by the experimental fusion.

The cheese plate comes with three kinds of cow cheese samples. The first type is a soft-ripened cheese that resembles the creamy texture of brie. The ripened cheese goes perfectly with the fruit and nut bread, which is perfectly chewy and sweet. The bread, caramelized almonds and walnuts on the side are also amazing complementarities to the soft and slightly bitter cheese. The other two cheeses were more mild. One of them was similar to gouda and the other to American white cheddar. The gouda-like one is too mild for the bread, but delicious on its own. The cheddar-like one is very milky and chewy. It goes well with the nuts but when eaten with the bread, the taste is overshadowed with fruitiness. Overall, the cheese plate is delicate and tasty, and it’s a good choice for less daring customers. But the small portion for the high price can easily steer away budget-conscious customers.

The smoked beef rib might seem like typical bar food, but Public House incorporates Korean and Southern flavors. The rib resembles galbi, a Korean dish made with Korean sauce marinated short beef ribs. The fall-off-the-bone rib was seared nicely; it was perfectly crispy on the surface and moist and tender in the middle. Though the meat was not devoid of fat, the dish as a whole was not greasy. The kimchi puree on the side added a distinct, stimulating taste to the rib. If you like spicy foods, I recommend dipping the meat into the sauce for a Korean barbeque-like flavor. The creamy rice grits on the side add an interesting Southern element to the dish. The rice grits go surprisingly very well with the kimchi, making the sauce milder for those who do not prefer spicy flavor. The fresh Californian greens on the side are also refreshing and tasty. The dish is good for around two people to share, and is not pricey for its quantity. To improve, however, Public House could offer traditional barbeque sauce for customers who prefer American-style ribs, and the portion of the side greens could be larger to set off the heavy ribs.

As for drinks, Public House offers all the Eagle Rock Brewery craft beers. The most popular one from the brewery is Solidarity Black Mild, inspired by the British mild. The beer is easy to drink, and contrary to its dark color, the taste is slightly roasted and sweet with a bit of a coffee aftertaste. For first-timers trying Eagle Rock’s craft beers, Solidarity is a good start to appreciate their beers. The restaurant also offers a small selection of wine and ciders. In addition, it offers some creative non-alcoholic drinks. The Lemmy lemonade soda, for one, goes well with the food for it is not too sweet and is refreshingly fizzy.

The general ambiance is relaxing, as promised in Public House’s premise. The wooden furniture and dangling lights indicate to customers that they can enjoy quality food and relax at the same time. The service is not extraordinary, but is standard; most waiters aren’t talkative, but are friendly. The limited seating might prolong waittime, but the cozy and warm atmosphere is worth the overall experience.

In the future, the restaurant might want to broaden its menu and either lower the prices or offer bigger portions. For a recently opened restaurant though, Public House has done a great job with breaking from the conventional and offering a unique dining experience.