2015-09-09 / Restaurant of the Week

Austin Public

Austin Public is Forest Hills’ neighborhood ‘pub’ which originally meant “publick house” where locals would gather, imbibe, eat, and catch up on the day’s events. Thankfully that tradition continues at Austin Public and is made even better with nightly events that attract a friendly, diverse, unpretentious crowd. The recently renovated restaurant features big, comfortable booths, tables, and an ample bar where the respectable clientele enjoys Happy Hour from 11am to 8pm with lower priced beers, well drinks, and house wine. The weekly events start on Lobster Mondays with $19.95 lobster, fries and slaw, Tuesday Happy Hour all day and night, Trivia Wednesday, which draws a crowd of geniuses, Thursday Ladies’ Night, DJ Fridays, Live Music Saturday, and Sunday Karaoke. There’s also a lovely brunch served Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 3pm for just $16.95 with two drinks.

Owners Mark Whelan and John Malone run a tight ship and ensure a pleasant experience with great drinks, food, and friendly, attentive service. There are dozens of beers and ciders from all over the world, even Brooklyn! The list of cocktails is impressive, with the ‘Daisy Mae’ made with gin and citrus, mango coconut martini, ‘Skinny Dipper’ with vodka, St. Germaine and grapefruit, “Peachy Tea,” and classic ‘Mojitos’ or fruit infused Mojitos.

What sets Austin Public apart from the basic pub is the exceptionally high quality, fresh food, or shall I say cuisine. Chef Sinead Keogh works her magic in the kitchen truly earning the right to call Austin Public a gastropub. Chef Sinead uses only the best ingredients and makes everything from scratch, including warm Irish soda bread served with brunch and hand cut fries which are served with their juicy burgers and steak frites. Just order the charcuterie board and you’ll see what I mean. A trio of perfectly grilled sausages; rabbit, Merguez, and duck, have a crisp skin that holds in the savory juices that go well with the crunchy baguette toasts, fruit and cheeses of your choice. This starter would also make a great snack at the bar with a beer or cocktail. ‘Cannonballs’ are unique morsels of house smoked corned beef and two cheeses served with grainy mustard. Steamed mussels swim in a heavenly broth of Thai green curry ($12). The roasted vegetable quesadilla is perfect for sharing as is the AP Sampler Platter with AP mac and cheese, chicken tenders, chicken wings, crispy calamari, cannonballs and sweet potato fries. Indeed with football season just moments away, Austin Public has all the games, screens, beers and snacks you could ever want.

Keep it green with a healthy Cobb salad, spinach and beet salad or the kale Caesar salad, all tossed fresh and served with house made dressing. The Chef makes fresh soup every day too.

Austin Public elevates sandwiches and burgers to an art form, serving the burgers on a flaky brioche bun and topped with your favorite cheese, bacon, sautéed onions, mushrooms or avocado if you like. My lamb burger was extraordinarily flavorful and juicy, topped with sliced avocado, lettuce, tomato, argula and pesto mint sauce ($15). There’s a garden burger too and a few excellent sandwiches such as the skirt steak sandwich piled high with juicy skirt steak, pepper jack cheese, and sautéed onions on a ciabatta roll, served with fries ($15). The California chicken sandwich with arugula, avocado, goat cheese, and chipotle mayo makes a great lunch and is hearty enough for dinner. Same goes for the corned beef sandwich with cole slaw and Swiss cheese on a ciabatta roll.

You can enjoy a proper entrée at Austin Public as well, with pan seared salmon among the most popular items, noted for its juiciness and flavor, tomato confit, served with grilled asparagus and baby potatoes with lemon butter sauce ($22). You’ll get 12 ounces of juicy steak when you order steak frites, along with peppercorn sauce, mixed greens and house fries. Shepherd’s pie and fish and chips are classic pub dishes, just done much better here.

Please save room for dessert where you can sample homemade sticky toffee pudding, creamy cheese cake, apple cobbler, warm brownie or ice cream. Saturday and Sunday brunch is served from 11am to 3pm and offers eggs, omelets, Nutella waffles, burgers and sandwiches for just $16.95 including two drinks. An economical $9.95 lunch menu is served as well as a children’s’ menu for $8.95.

Austin Public in Forest Hills is a great place for everyone to go and enjoy great food, beer, cocktails and FUN, FUN, FUN!! We played a bit of trivia and heard about the big finalist competition in late September. Visit their website, Face book page, or Instagram for more info, photos and good times at Austin Public. Slainte!

70-28 Austin Street, Forest Hills

www.austinpublicforesthills.com.com Facebook. Instagram, Twitter @austinpublic

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