The Library at the Public

I’ve walked by the Public Theater numerous times on my way to and from the East Village. But it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I discovered that there was actually a restaurant inside the theater! The Boyfriend had mentioned that he read about a restaurant called, The Library at the Public Theater. A quick Yelp search helped me discover this cool venue – coincidentally right smack in the middle of NYC Restaurant Week. An OpenTable reservation later, we were set for Tuesday dinner at the Library.
We arrived very early but they were nice enough to seat us anyways (I think this is a trend for us!). The Library’s Restaurant Week menu offers three courses divided into three “Acts” – just like a play. I thought this was really cute and clever of them. Act I, the appetizers, offered five options. Act II, the entrees, had four options. And lastly, Act III, had three dessert options. I was pleased to notice that their RW menu features items that are on their regular menu.
For Act I, I opted for the Burrata with green market vegetables. The burrata was very nice – moist and stretchy. I just wished that there was more!
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The Boyfriend had the Crispy Calamari with shishito peppers and chipotle aioli. The portion size was huge and this appetizer is definitely made to be shared! The calamari was crispy and crunchy – fried perfectly. The best part was the chipotle aioli, which was super tasty.
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For Act II, I had the Flat Iron Steak Frites with bitter green salad and Maitre D’Butter. The steak was cooked perfectly to my requested medium rare. The salad wasn’t bitter at all and went really well with the steak. The best part, though, was the huge portion of fries that we were able to share. It felt like they were never ending!
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The Boyfriend chose the Steamed Branzino with Madras curry and summer vegetables. We traded bites of our dishes so we could try both and I really liked his branzino. The fish was tender and the curry flavor was very subtle. It wasn’t a kick-you-in-the-face curry, which was very complimentary to the summer vegetables.
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For Act III, I had the Vanilla and Chocolate Soft Serve with Pocky sticks. They had me at the Pocky sticks! The ice cream was such a huge portion ice that I couldn’t finish it. I’m not quite sure what kind of chocolate was used to make the ice cream but it was really good – not too sweet with just a hint of chocolate.
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The Boyfriend had the Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble with Vanilla Soft Serve. His dessert was also huge – it’s definitely shareable between 2-3 people at least. The crumble was served warm, which contrasted nicely with the vanilla ice cream. But alas, we were too full from dinner to finish it.
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Service was attentive and our waitress was super nice. I must compliment the Library for serving their regular menu at regular portion sizes for Restaurant Week. A lot of places often create items that aren’t on the menu or downsize items that are on their menu for Restaurant Week. Props to the Library – I’ll definitely be returning!

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