The Public House features two types of deviled eggs, including these made chicken-wing style with fried chicken skin, blue cheese and a buffalo sauce. (Photos by Elizabeth Conley / The Detroit News)
A glance at the price list at Public House might have you wondering if there might be a few numbers missing.
No, the figures listed are absolutely correct. The new spot on Ferndale’s restaurant row, just a couple of weeks old in its high-ceilinged, white-tiled space, will feed you for a minimum of cash.
The upbeat spot, where cooks in the completely open kitchen churn out freshly prepared snacks such as sardines and/or green onions dipped into tempura batter and fried, housemade potato chips and deviled eggs with toppings such as celery root and tarragon, makes it entirely possible to walk away with something left in the wallet. Even the specialty cocktails, including what the house calls “boozy milkshakes,” cost about half of what chi-chi places charge. They are all an even $8.
This is not an overflowing platter sort of place. Portions, served on little aluminum trays, are small, and most diners won’t be satisfied with just one $3.75 sandwich from the list that includes pastrami and fried egg, and a take on the Vietnamese bahn mi made with pork and ham on French bread. Duck confit with apple kimchi and slaw made with daikon radishes and carrots, and a burger made with lamb and pork sparked with mint chutney, are other options.
So far, the star of the show on the brief, to-the-point menu is the sandwich made with buttermilk fried chicken, melted pimento cheese and dill pickle on brioche, just about perfect with its mix of crunchy and silky textures.
The dessert list is equally distinctive. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen cotton candy on a restaurant menu, but here it is, at $1 for the flavor of the day. Or, if you prefer, soft-serve ice cream at $2.
Still in the planning stages is a Sunday brunch menu that will debut next month.
Public House is the second venture for proprietors Jeff and Susanne King, Perry and Sharon Lavoisne and Amir Daiza, who seem to have discovered the knack of putting together fresh and appealing places.
They proved it last year when they opened the Imperial on Woodward with its street tacos and flowing tequila. Now they’ve done it again in a long, narrow room with bar and kitchen on one wall and marble-topped tables on the other. A marble counter with bar stools in front of the kitchen allows patrons to watch their food being prepared and more stools at the long bar are presided over by a Mark Dancey portrait of Keith Richards.
Less than a month into the enterprise, the proprietors already have leased the space next door (the former Elegance by Design), for another, as yet undecided restaurant concept to be unveiled next year. Based on their track record, you can bet they’ll come up with something intriguing.
241 W. Nine Mile, Ferndale
Call: (248) 850-7420
Rating: 3 stars (out of 4)
Hours: 11 a.m.-midnight Mon.-Sat.,
11 a.m.-10 p.m. Bar open later
Prices: Snacks $2-$4.50,
sandwiches $3.75, desserts $1-$3
on an all-day menu
Credit cards: All major
Liquor: Full bar, with an emphasis
on craft beers on tap
Noise level: Convivial
Parking: Metered lot or street
Wheelchair access: No barriers