Chow Down In Milwaukee

Restaurant Reviews

Public Table, One For All

Today I visited the latest restaurant to open its doors in West Allis, Public Table. The restaurant is located at 5835 w. National avenue in a building that dates back to 1926. It had served as a store front and has undergone an extensive remodel. Partners Christopher Kuranz, Randy Brashier and operating partner John Clark created a unique setting on the east side of the city. The interior is furnished with 150-year-old wood repurposed from a mash tun used for brewing. The wood was used to form the bar top, tables and trim and looks wonderful.

The name PublicTtable is named for just that, its public table which seats 14. The bar features 16 draft lines including taps for hard cider, Pilcrow Coffee Roaster’s cold-brewed coffee, CPD kombucha as well as a Nitro Manhattan. They also offer a good selection of wine and mixed cocktails.

The menu features trendy pub fair with a unique twist. Items include a cheese and cured meat board, chorizo goat cheese flat bread, both beef and curry chicken sliders. At the time of my visit the menu was limited to eight selections, but I was informed this was an opening menu that will be expanded upon in the weeks to come.

My visit began with the door being opened and a friendly greeting from a lady who pleasantly stated, “I hope you are here to dine with us this evening.” That made a great first impression. I was joined this evening by the love of my life, Margie. We had our choice of where to sit and chose a high-top table across from the bar. The interior was trendy, yet cozy and inviting. One of the most impressive things about Public table is their ability to offer seating for 45 in a small area without making it feel the least bit crowded. It was bright while avoiding the sanitary feeling you can sometimes get with too much light. There were plenty of mirrors on the wall again helping to make the place feel larger than it is.

Our server Taylor quickly brought us a glass bottle of water and filled our glasses. This man had personality to spare and was eager to share it. He was full of suggestions and information. He made it feel as though we had known him all our lives. I was eager to try the nitro Manhattan but was a little disappointed to hear it would not be available until the following day. I decided on the Burnt Orange Mojito. The sugar rimmed cocktail did not disappoint. After a slightly bitter start it blended to a perfect refreshing summer cocktail.

We were later joined by Jasmine, who provided us more information on both the establishment as well as samples of the nitro coffee and kombucha. The coffee was smooth and creamy. One of the best nitro cold-brews I have tasted. Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage. It has an effervescent  feel when it settles on the tongue.  This one was from CBD and was called Jas Milkshake. In addition to the vinegar taste kombucha has this one was complimented with wonderful slightly fruity overtones. I would recommend enjoying one of these after your meal.

Speaking of the meals, Jasmine informed us while not exactly a farm to table establishment they are working to locally obtain as many of their ingredients as possible. She also mentioned they make good use of the local West Allis farmer’s market. The freshness and local sourcing were something this restaurant wanted to focus on and it showed in the items we tried.

Margie and I ordered the Late Summer Nachos which consisted of non-GMO blue corn chips, organic black beans, house made chorizo, organic cheese sauce, cherry tomato pico and was covered with a lime crème fraiche. I enjoyed the flavor and freshness of the nachos immensely. The chorizo, had a delicious flavor but was a tad dry which was unusual for a meat that can often be greasy. The cheese sauce was delicious and the perfect texture. I am a fan of chips that hold up well with the toppings and the blue corn chips did just that.

We also enjoyed the Braised Pork Belly Tacos. Sitting on top of a non-GMO local soft corn tortilla was red cabbage slaw, cilantro line crème fraiche and sweet corn relish. They were served three to a plate in what was a beautiful presentation. They were very refreshing. My only quarrel was the vinegar from the red cabbage slaw overpowered a lot of the flavor of the rest of the ingredients. The tortilla held up well with the host of juicy toppings. Napkins are a required accompaniment with this dish.

Both of our meals had a delightful presentation that was colorful, appetizing and fresh. They were culinary works of art on a plate. Taylor had cautioned us from ordering another dish until after we had enjoyed both the nachos and tacos. Like the old friend he seemed to be, his words were quite helpful. While both dishes seemed light and refreshing, they were filling. Sadly, dessert will become available only on the expanded menu. Even with a mere eight offerings there were still more items we are both looking forward to trying.

There were a few more items of interest supplied to Margie and me by both Taylor and Jasmine. Public Table has live music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It features a plug and play system that local musicians can make use of. According to Jasmine, this creates the perfect setting to enjoy a late-night cocktail with friends and just chill. I had read that Public Table was planning on offering a Sunday brunch. Taylor confirmed that information. Adding that it will give patrons the option of enjoying brunch at a location close to home verses traveling downtown. Although an exact date Sunday brunch will begin was not available it was estimated to begin sometime in September.

Public Table offers patrons a trendy atmosphere in the suburbs. It offers a wide array of cocktails and draft offerings found in only a few select places in the city. Using local and fresh ingredients, you will enjoy food that is artfully crafted and never short on flavor. Live music and a welcoming staff make enjoying a cocktail or cold-brew coffee with friends an inviting offer that would be hard to refuse.

By: Neil  Panosian

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