We chose the Public House based from a Yelp search which yielded great reviews. After looking at their gluten-free menu on their website, they had me hooked. What they do differently, is they take their regular menu and highlight the items that were not gluten-free. I loved that they told you WHY certain menu items were not gluten-free, describing the ingredients or contamination concerns that prevent it from being safe.
See their Gluten-Free menu
Our Uber driver found it without issue. We walked to the hostess and asked to be sat outside on the patio. The patio wrapped around the corner of the building and overlooked the street. Although it’s not a river or mountain view, I enjoyed it as we got to watch all sorts of people go by. Never the same view twice. The inside was bright and simply decorated, farmhouse style. Quaint.
I started with one of their specialty cocktails, Mexican Firing Squad, and it was delicious. Made with tequila, pomegranate syrup, lime, and Angostura bitters, it was sweet and sour at the same time, but with a more complex flavor than I could ever duplicate at home. There’s a new (to me) awareness and appreciation for bitters in mixology, and now I think I understand why! We’ve seen shoppes at farmer’s markets across the country selling homemade bitters. Keep your eyes open for one near you!
We started our meal with appetizers. I ordered the Roasted Quail Breasts with Grits & Pickle Relish. I’m not a big fan of grits, but I figured since I was in ‘the real south’, they couldn’t mess them up, right?
The grits were not the star of the dish, and the quail that should have been, left me disappointed. The quail was overdone and lacking seasoning. What really saved the appetizer was the garnish. I could have eaten a cup of the red onion pickle relish, but I savored the tablespoon serving that rest upon my grits. The plate was drizzled in a balsamic glaze reduction that was unlike any I had ever had before. It wasn’t very deep or acidic in flavor like you would expect from a balsamic, but rich with a herb flavor that saved the overdone quail. I would have licked the plate clean of this sauce if I wasn’t on display on the corner of two busy streets downtown.
Since we were not in a hurry, we waited until our appetizers were done before ordering our main course. We overheard our waitress raving about the Pot Roast to the table next to us, and it was one of the gluten-free options. This caught my attention, since restaurants will often thicken their sauce with flour. Sounded like an opportunity to try something I don’t get to have very often. I’ll take it! Oh, and some red wine, too, please.
I was a little confused when my pot roast was served from the kitchen. I was expecting some chunks of meat, potato, and carrot to come out swimming in a glistening gravy. This was some thick sliced roast placed on mashed potatoes with steamed onion and carrots placed to the side. Was that half a ladle of gravy splashed across the top? 😦
Since the waitress said it was amazing, I was not going to give up hope. With fork in hand, I went to take a bite. Ok, with knife and fork in hand. This was not fork-tender. It was tough and a bit dry. I don’t think the sauce and this roast had ever met before. The gravy was thick and rich, almost like it had been sitting in a warming tray too long. The whole plate was a little disappointing in flavor, but did get better with salt and pepper. Lots of salt and pepper
For the gluten-loving husband, he enjoyed his main course, Sautéed Pickett’s Ranch Trout with Squash Casserole and Pecan Pesto. He will order seafood whenever available. His fish was perfectly cooked and summer squash is one of his favorite vegetables. He was very happy.
Overall, I would try Public House again. There were some really good elements to some of the dishes that gave me hope. I wonder if the waitress was pushing the pot roast to help get rid of it?
We ended the dinner with some chocolates we had just purchased from the Candy Shoppe in Rock City at Lookout Mountain and a stroll down the street towards the aquarium. Chattanooga was a cute town. It looked as though they had put some money into their downtown to bring some businesses back, much like other downtowns have been doing over the past decade. We will likely visit again, and will make another stop at Public House.