1126 Fremont St. at South Maryland Parkway, 702-331-5500
The downtown dining resurgence spreads ever farther east with the opening of PublicUs. The self-described canteen-style neighborhood restaurant and coffeebar recently opened in the Fremont East District within walking distance of The Writer’s Block book store and Bunkhouse Saloon. The vibe here is urban hip, but the menu is pure foodie (and subject to change from week to week), with sandwiches such as coffee-rubbed roast beef served with Brie, pear-horseradish slaw, hazelnut and truffle aioli ($12) and crispy pork belly with sweet potato, red onion salsa and aji amarillo chili on ciabatta ($13). Specials include such exotic fare as truffled ginger flank steak ($15), served with wasabi potato puree and crispy carrot, and fennel-dusted ahi tuna with baby bok choy, wild mushroom and Thai coconut broth ($18). Not impressed yet? Just savor some purple yam cake with kabocha squash puree, plum relish and arugula ($16), or perhaps tickle your taste buds with some of the Forbidden Fried Rice (pork belly, fried egg and yakitori sauce, $13). If you feel adventurous, you can create your own dream dinner plate by selecting a protein (lightly seared ahi tuna, $8; pan-seared chicken breast with thyme marinade or grilled flank steak with gingered soy reduction, $6 each) and pairing it with some sides from The Kitchen Table menu: sweet potato salad with wild mushroom, parsnip, artichoke and hazelnut; cauliflower Romesco with rosemary oil; braised oxtail soup; or arugula salad with pomegranate, prosciutto, shaved Grana Padano cheese and white balsamic vinaigrette. There’s also Japanese cucumber or red quinoa salad, cauliflower slaw, roasted butternut squash wedges and shishito peppers, and at $4.50 each, it’s worth it to try more than one. Don’t be ashamed to pull out your camera phone to “insta” or tweet your dining experience, because the food here truly is art. If you’ve saved room for dessert (a wise choice), try the warm bread pudding with burnt orange and anglaise or the Black Forest with dark chocolate mousse, blackout sponge and creme fraiche (each $6). There’s also an impressive coffeebar, including the sinful Affogato (vanilla ice cream doused in espresso) and the unique Schomer’s Macchiato with a hint of orange. Seating options are ample, with plenty of community tables as well as bar-style seating for the laptop/book reading set. The restaurant is also family-friendly. PublicUs is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until midnight Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit facebook.com/publicuslv or publicuslv.com.