Butcher Block – Potted Duck Rillettes, Country Pate, Foie Gras Torchon
Poutine – French Fries, Duck Confit, Cheese Curd, Stout Gravy & Fried Egg
Buffalo Style Pork Ribs – Hot Sauce, Celery and Carrot Slaw & Blue Cheese
Pub Burger – All Natural Grass Fed Beef, Bacon Marmalade, Gruyere Cheese, Toasted Tomato, Frisee & Guiness Aioli with Herbed Fries
Chocolate Stout Layer Cake – Malted Milk Ice Cream, Caramelized Bacon Rice Crispies
Irish Coffee Cheesecake – Jameson Caramel Chantilly, Hazelnut Crumble
Apple Hand Pies – Rye Whiskey Sabayon
Brown Ale Crème Brulee – Beer Glazed Raspberries, Toasted Orange-Cardamom Poundcake
Banana Banoffee Parfait – Vanilla Pudding, Banana Compote, Pretzel Crumble, Chantilly
Baker’s Block – Raspberry Lambic Cocoa Nib Caramel Corn, Cherry Beer Marshmallow, Brown Ale Crème Brulee, Chocolate Stout Trifle, Apple Hand Pie, Nutella Cookie, Banoffee Tartlet
One of those rare restaurants in Las Vegas that has remained successful for years without constant critical praise or the name of some absentee Celebrity Chef above the door, it was with desserts in mind that a party of three sat down inside Public House at The Venetian to watch the Buckeyes beat Sparty on Saturday, a few of Chef Anthony Meidenbauer’s classics plus one that soon might be joining a full complement of desserts from Rebecca Bills, the Corporate Executive Pastry Chef for all of Block16 Hospitality.
Visited twice in as many days during a 2012 Christmas Vacation, the extensive beer list luring in a friend while Seared Foie Gras, a potted Egg dish and Bread Pudding all proved to be delicious during a long weekend of football, little has changed in the décor as suited Monkeys smile next to clever sayings, medium-volume rock music plays overhead with plenty of Television featuring games from every conference.
Every bit the Gastropub it set out to be, the menu morphing slightly from four years prior though several long-held favorites still stand out, it was with Coffee and Water plus excellent service that the meal took place over the course of nearly one hundred minutes, an Assistant General Manager named Bernard looking over things while Chef Bills took time to explain a bit of her training as well as many of the restaurant group’s seasonal dishes.
Choosing to start savory, the housemade Charcuterie a well-culled collection including rich and chunky Pork Pate next to creamy Duck Rillettes plus a block of silky Liver atop toasted Brioche, more Duck was offered by way of one of Sin City’s very best plates of Poutine, the handcut Fries crisp enough to stand up to Stout Gravy added tableside plus Confit, a fried Egg and Cheese Curds so fresh that they are still squeaky.
Intrigued by “Buffalo Style” Ribs, the tender meat slipping effortlessly from the bone with a fiery hit of acid that found it’s foil in Blue Cheese Sauce, Chef Meidenbauer’s Pub Burger succeeds on a level not unexpected for the man responsible for Holstein’s at The Cosmopolitain, the grind of the Grass Fed Beef smooth despite being well packed beneath a layer of Gruyere, cooked Tomatoes and assertive Bacon Marmalade.
Truly rolling out the red carpet for pastries, all five of Chef Bills’ current collection arriving with more Coffee plus the sharable $17 “Baker’s Board” that presents pint-size variations of each plus fragrant Caramel Popcorn, a Chocolate covered Marshmallow plus Nutella Sandwich Cookie, the toughest question would be which to omit if one is unwilling or unable to taste all of them, the Chocolate Stout Layer Cake probably the safest answer as it is every bit as rich as it sounds and best shared by all but the most ardent Chocoholic.
Happy to see the Irish Coffee Cheesecake eat lighter than average while three piping hot Hand Pies are picture-perfect with caramelized grains of Sugar overlying a flaky crust alongside airy Cream all boozed up for dipping, fans of Beer will be impressed by the way in which Rebecca’s Crème Brûlée manages to be both hoppy and sweet simultaneously with herbal notes added by toasted Poundcake, the Banoffee Parfait picking up where Carson Kitchen left off last Winter and perhaps even upping the ante by way of the Pretzel Crumble, Banana-Brown Sugar Jam and stick-a-spoon-up-straight Vanilla Pudding.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Impressed four years ago by such an adventurous Gastropub on the Strip, some notable additions to the local dining scene having caught up and perhaps surpassed Public House in terms of creativity as well as value, it is relevant to point out that Block16 Hospitality has continued to push the envelope in an era where so many others seem content to rest on old accolades, the dessert menu here in many ways as good as those at Yardbird or Delmonico while the Beer list, Burger and Poutine are remain a consistent focal point for good reason.
RECOMMENDED: Pub Burger, Poutine, Duck Rillette, Baker’s Block…plus an extra Banana Banoffee Parfait because sharing is silly.
AVOID: If space is a consideration, the Chocolate Cake is not really any better or different than many others, though it is still quite good. The Baker’s Board solves this problem as the Trifle version is far lighter with the same general flavor.
TIP: Open 11a-11p daily, those looking for a casual Thanksgiving may wish to take a look at the online Thanksgiving menu offered in addition, as opposed to ‘in place of,’ the other delicious a la carte options.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.