Much more than just another pub
by Peggy Hyland, Contributing Writer
Got a restaurant for Peggy to review? Let us know at [email protected].
On a recent near-perfect-weather Saturday, my companion and I wound our way along rural roads to Manassas to check out the Public House Kitchen & Brewery. At the heart of the revitalized Old Town section, this charming brewpub was well worth the drive.
The dining room has both a bar and tables in a family-friendly, welcoming atmosphere suitable for all ages. There are also two window tables, perfect for people-watching. The walls were covered in retro beer signs. I always check for purse hooks and was pleased to find them at all tables as well as the bar (it’s the little things).
The menu takes pub fare to new heights, and we were blown away by every single dish. We first dove into the poutine for an appetizer; crispy fries delicately sauced with brown gravy and melted cheese. The candied bacon did not last long, as we gobbled up the sticky, gooey, crisp and thick slices. The beer cheese and pretzels had a creamy delicate cheese dip. They were all so delicious that it was hard to pick a favorite, but that one won by a narrow margin.
When a restaurant touts a dish as “the best around,” they need to live up to it, and The Best Reuben Around did not disappoint. Served open-faced, it had large chunks of house-corned beef that was perfectly seasoned along with beer-braised sauerkraut.
The salmon had a light, refreshing seasoning and was cooked perfectly. The fried chicken had a crisp and crunchy exterior with zesty seasoning surrounding juicy boneless chicken breasts. It came with a house favorite: the smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese, also available as an entrée. I do not usually go for macaroni and cheese, but this made a believer out of me.
The small but well-represented dessert menu included a delicious apple crisp. It had a nice savory warmth from the cinnamon to balance the sweetness and was served with vanilla ice cream. I could not resist the pull of the seasonal bread pudding, which was blueberry and white
chocolate. Like macaroni and cheese, bread pudding is not my go-to choice, but this would make a bread pudding lover out of the biggest skeptic.
The service was impeccable — friendly, attentive without hovering and seamlessly tag-teamed. The ample portions were appropriately priced, and the house-brewed beers were excellent. We sampled the hoppy Just the tIPA, the malty Alewerks Tavern Brown Ale, the West Coast-style Public House Stop Playin’ Smokey, and the decadent Aslin How Now Brown Cow, with peanut butter, chocolate and coffee, balanced just right.
Manassas has truly reinvigorated itself in the twenty years since I lived there. The charming and bustling Old Town area now has plenty of parking to serve the burgeoning arts and food scene. I can’t wait to go back, and the Public House will be my first stop.