In a city with tons of restaurants I've yet to eat at, I try not to repeat myself too often. I've failed miserably over the last two months. Since my early March Publico post, I've been back five times. "Please take us to Publico!" family and friends begged of me. Not one to disappoint, I obliged. Over and over.
Besides the fact I'm such a nice guy, I kept going back because the food has been consistently good (and even great at times), and the constantly changing menu tends to be wildly creative. This is a compilation of photos and dishes from those different meals. I have no guarantee any of these dishes will be on the menu whatever night you go, but rest assured that you will not go home hungry or disappointed.
The guacamole arepa with a piquant salsa and queso has become a standard for me now. Queso is one of those things that makes me weak in the knees, the kind of thing that I'd sneak into the kitchen to eat at 1 am. Any dish that has queso is a dish I will be ordering.
The grits with crunchy corn nuts and a chorizo red eye gravy were a crowd pleaser at the last dinner. Once it was all mixed up, it was a creamy, spicy mess. It would be a perfect breakfast.
Grilled Onions cooked with duck fat and tossed in a cilantro vinaigrette. Small in size, but intensely flavored.
Grilled Oysters with green chorizo, corn, bread.
Shrimp and Grits: the flavor of chargrilled spot prawns with basically anything is one of my absolute favorites. This was no different. Pinto Beans cooked with lamb drippings and topped with mint, queso fresco, and chive. Not too far off from the classic, but certainly worthy of ordering.
Two different versions of the hidago arepa, Publico's lamb liver butter dish. The first is on an arepa with fried sage and maple syrup. The second, and my favorite, is over a white chocolate and date waffle - I'm going to let that set in - with the sage and maple syrup. I'm not even a liver fan and I would have happily eaten another.
One of chef Mike Randolph's off the menu specials: snails, grits, the butter the snails were cooked in, chilies. This or some version of it needs to make it onto the menu. ASAP. The pescado blanco tacos, made with smoked white fish, jalapeno cream cheese, crispy shallots and cilantro. A favorite since my first bite.
Pork Belly Carnitas tacos: as good as you think they are.
Another off the menu special was a [symple_highlight color="blue"]smoked tuna collar[/symple_highlight] taco with a house made ranch dressing. The tuna tasted like bacon, and I love bacon.
I can't remember which is which, but one of these is beef tongue and the other is a roasted lamb leg taco. Both are worth ordering.
The [symple_highlight color="blue"]lamb belly milanese[/symple_highlight] with morels.
Whole fish stuffed with lemons, limes, jalapenos, and cilantro. [symple_highlight color="blue"]Lamb sausage[/symple_highlight] with hominy.
Berry and coconut cream popsicle served with green strawberries and a tiny amount of a cocktail for the popsicle to melt into.
As I said last time: Add this to your "need to try immediately" list.