Hamburg, NY

Sharing is Always Encouraged at The Public House

J.M. Lesinski
A shot of the front entrance of The Public House in Hamburg, New York.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

As everything continues to open as more and more individuals get their COVID-19 vaccinations, the time-honored tradition of sharing food is resurfacing. When it comes to finding good seafood to share in the South towns of Buffalo, The Public House in Hamburg, New York probably has the most extensive menu of shareable items one can find.

Shareables are the way to go at The Public House, with a number of creative options, like the beef on weck eggrolls – shaved roast beef, aged cheddar, horseradish mayo, and kummelweck salt wrapped up like the iconic eggroll. The Bavarian pretzels are some of the best in the South towns and come with an equally enticing beer cheese sauce and mustard dipping sauce.

The al pastor nachos are downright sinfully good in how rich and loaded they are, featuring a pineapple and poblano salsa, house pulled pork, jalapenos, pickled onion, queso, cilantro, and cotija. The flatbread follows suite, highlighting the grilled chicken, whipped goat cheese, candied shallots, asparagus, almonds, blistered tomatoes, and herb oil. The fingers and wings have some great sauce options too, like yuzu sesame, sweet chili, or for a dollar more, peach habanero.

When it comes to shared plates, seafood shareables are definitely the hardest to find anywhere, let alone as far inland as Buffalo. However, The Public House has several, and they are all unique and delicious. The crabby patty is jumbo-sized with a caper remoulade and just a little bit of lemon for a big bite, while the smoked salmon dip highlights notes of the smoked salmon, capers, red onion, cream cheese, sour cream, cucumber, and celery therein with the perfect vessel of pita to accompany.

With Buffalo seafood, there have to be oysters, and The Public House does some good ones. There are the petite crowes from Dennis, Massachusetts, served with horseradish, cocktail sauce, mignonette, and fresh lemon for a true ocean oyster experience. There are also the grilled oysters served with roasted garlic butter. Both come in sixteen dollar small sizes or twenty-nine dollar large servings.

Rounding out the seafood shared plates are the drunken clams and sesame tuna, two beautiful creations. The drunken clams, steamed littleneck clams, are easy to pop like popcorn into one’s mouth with the accompanying jalapenos, garlic, Italian sausage, parsley, and craft beer flavor. The sesame tuna is a sushi lover’s dream featuring sesame seared rare ahi tuna, wasabi, kimchi, a pineapple hoisin glaze, and an accompanying Asian noodle salad.

For those not in the sharing mood or those looking for a full-blown family sit-down dinner, the entrees at The Public House are pricey, but they will fill one up for absolute certain. Seafood again dominates the menu, but pasta and beef have their moments. The Half Chicken stands alone as the only poultry dinner entrée, featuring a marinated half chicken, mashed potatoes, pan jus, and asparagus.

The Ribeye, while the most expensive item on the menu, is the sole monster steak dish. The fourteen-ounce CAB ribeye comes in a demi glace over bleu cheese butter and is served with mashed potatoes and asparagus. The Prime Rib is up there price-wise too, but the sixteen-ounce slow roasted prime rib served with au jus, asparagus, and mashed potatoes is without a doubt one of the best prime ribs in the area.

The gnocchi primavera offers a unique take on the pasta classic with potato gnocchi, lemon thyme, ricotta, asparagus, arugula, tomato, spring peas, and grilled steak. The mac and cheese entrée comes with meatballs and features sundried tomatoes, pesto cream, cavatappi, mozzarella, and panko, while the lobster mac and cheese shares the same ingredients of cavatappi and panko, but features a three cheese blend and of course, lobster.

For the seafood entrees, all the classics are done beautifully, like the fish fry – available beer-battered or broiled, and with Cajun, lemon pepper, or plain finishes. The loaded shrimp and grits features a whole lot of flavor with Cajun seared shrimp, chorizo, sauteed peppers and onions, crispy garlic, and creole butter over cheesy grits.

The bruschetta haddock offers a unique vehicle to experience the much-loved fish. With fresh bruschetta, the baked haddock shines with the additions of basil and balsamic, and comes with French fries, macaroni salad, and coleslaw on the side. The scallops are also stellar and come dusted with a warm farro salad, romesco, toasted hazelnut, arugula, red grapes, and roasted garlic.

Anyone too indecisive to pick just one seafood delight will be pleased to learn of the seafood platter at The Public House. Offering up choice of a beer-battered or broiled fish fry, shrimp, scallops, French fries, macaroni salad, and coleslaw, the feast makes choosing easy.

Handhelds, The Public House take on the sandwich menu, is about as varied as the other sections with plenty of good options. The prime rib again stands out, comes open-faced and thick cut, and with the additional toppings of sauteed peppers and onions and mozzarella on a hoagie roll. The beef on weck is sure to please too, sticking with the true recipe of thin sliced roast beef, au jus, and horseradish on a kummelweck roll.

The PH burger is the house burger with a half-pound patty, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and onion on brioche, with a beyond burger patty option available for a buck extra. The five alarm burger is the hot one, featuring the same half-pound patty with a ghost pepper rub, pepper jack, house hot sauce, habanero jalapeno relish, and spicy bacon on a Flaming Hot Cheetoh’s brioche roll.

The Cuban features the exquisite house pulled pork and smoked ham, while the Philly gets its own unique sauce and the beef comes thin sliced like the beef on weck. The chicken avocado wrap is absolutely divine, featuring goat cheese, grilled chicken breast, fresh avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion, and sundried tomato aioli on a flour tortilla.

One of the best mahi mahi taco plates in Western New York can be found at The Public House in the blackened mahi mahi tacos with a grilled mahi filet, citrus slaw, radishes, cilantro, jalapeno aioli, and lime with flour tortillas. The lobster BLT is a must-try too, featuring thick cut bacon, lobster salad, tomato, and lettuce on brioche.

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I have worked as a professional journalist for over five years now, covering the arts, music, food, politics, and culture up and down both coasts of the United States. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY

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